News & Views

Advertising on the Right Channels

Building an economic development marketing strategy for digital advertising can be overwhelming, with a wide range of advertising channels and platforms available to showcase your brand. So where do you begin? First, check out our Q Report titled, “Working Hard, or Hardly Working: The State of Digital Advertising in Economic Development.” It’ll have insights about what others in the industry are doing.

Next, determine your campaign goals and objectives, then pinpoint which advertising channels best fit your target audience. Here are DCI’s top options for getting started:


This social platform is arguably the most powerful B2B advertising channel, given the highly granular targeting options available.

Best for: Promoting awareness and lead generation.

Targeting Capabilities: LinkedIn allows marketers to target users based on demographics such as job title or job function, industry, company, skills, geographic location, groups and more.

Types of Ads: The three most effective types of advertising on this platform are:

  • Sponsored Content – appears as a post in the organic news feed

linkedin ad example

  • InMail – sends messages directly to the user’s LinkedIn inbox
  • Lead Gen Forms – an in-app lead form, typically offering a relevant piece of content or method of contacting the company

Things to Consider: Given the precise targeting capabilities of this platform, the cost-per-click tend to be significantly higher than other platforms.

User Tip: Remember that business attraction is a niche subject matter, so larger audience sizes do not always result in higher performance. You may consider keeping your audience sizes narrow, focusing on quality & relevance over quantity.

(Wondering who to target? Check out our report titled, “Know Your C-Suite“, which has insights about which executives are involved in the decision-making process.)


Search Ads

Like most of us searching for something we need or want, company executives and decision makers looking for information on where to expand their business most likely begin their research on Google. Google Search Ads target individuals who are searching for a specific keyword or phrase. When triggered, these ads will populate on the search engine results page (SERP), which will drive users to a relevant landing page on your site. Search ads tend to be the highest-converting as they are attracting intent-driven users actively searching for information related to key industries or your region.

econdev paid search ad

Best for: Capturing users during the research phase as they are searching on Google.

Targeting Capabilities: In addition to targeting keywords, users can be targeted based on location, interests and demographics.

Extensions: In addition to the ad headline and title, adding ad extensions can improve how users interact with ads. Extensions include:

  • Sitelink Extensions: Link to specific pages of your website to help users find the best page for what they are looking for
  • Call Extensions: Add a clickable phone number for users to call your business directly
  • Callout Extensions: Incorporate additional text highlighting unique benefits like “#1 State for Business”

Things to Consider: Cost-per-click varies depending on the competition of the keywords being bid on. The more long-tail the keywords, the more relevant, and likely less competitive, they will be.

User Tip: Use keyword tools to gather insight about keyword data like search volume, competition and forecasts. Some tools, like Google Keyword Planner and UberSuggest, are free to use, while others like Moz, SEMRush and SpyFu require a paid subscription.


Facebook and Instagram

Facebook and Instagram are managed under the same platform, offering targeting options like demographic and interest targeting. These channels aren’t as strong in the professional-focused segments like job title, so they are often better used for talent attraction campaigns rather than ones targeting specific business executives. Facebook and Instagram have a variety of ad formatting options – including video, carousel, boosted post and static ads – to test what is most engaging to your audience.

facebook ad example talent attraction

Best for: Reaching a broader audience for a lower coast. Works well for talent attraction campaigns, but don’t underestimate Facebook for business attraction as well.

Targeting Capabilities: Target by interests, demographics and behavior (i.e. “job hunting”)

Things to Consider:  While Facebook and Instagram don’t have the same targeting power as LinkedIn, the cost-per-click is considerably lower, usually hovering around $1.50 or $2.00 per link click. There is also the option to target by impressions if the primary goal of the campaign is reach.

User Tip: Make sure all ads are optimized for mobile. This includes meeting character counts to avoid part of your message being truncated on mobile devices, and ensuring that your landing pages are designed mobile-first. Most ad traffic on this social platform comes from users on mobile devices, so if you are designing ads with desktop users in mind, you may be missing out on a huge segment of potential traffic.


Display Ads

Display ads are graphic-based ads that are served across publisher advertising networks. Without strategic targeting and messaging, this type of ad can potentially result in very low ROI due to the sheer size of the audience.

Best For: Reaching new users on a large scale to promote awareness. However, if you’re looking for an efficient campaign on a small budget, the best way to utilize this type of ad is through a retargeting campaign. With retargeting, your advertising dollars are going towards users who have previously interacted with your website or ad campaigns, inferring that they have already shown interest in your brand.

Targeting Capabilities: Language, Interests & Habits (Affinity & Custom Affinity), What Users are Actively Searching and Planning (In-Market & Custom Intent) and How They Have Interacted with Your Business (Retargeting & Similar Audiences)

Things to Consider: Be sure to exclude irrelevant or unsafe content placements in the campaign’s settings. Monitoring exactly where the ads are being shown ensures brand safety and the quality of your ad’s delivery.

User Tip: Geo-targeted display ads can be an effective channel for large trade show events. To engage with the tradeshow audience, build visually-engaging ads with targeted messaging. Geo-target around the location of the trade show and add a retargeting component so you can reach these users at a later time.

With the proper audience & campaign goals defined, advertising your company on these major digital channels will propel your brand past the competition. Oh, and another great thing about advertising on digital? Robust tracking, reporting and analytics data. Be sure to check our blog regularly for tips on implementing and analyzing reporting data.

Written By

Brianna Vetrano

Brianna is DCI’s digital specialist for SEO, digital advertising and analytics. Since joining DCI, she has worked with more than 50 cities, states and countries to execute paid campaigns, improve search engine rankings and enhance digital data analysis.

More Articles by Brianna Vetrano

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