Ad types

A search ad appears after someone types a keyword into the search box of an internet search engine like Google. For instance, if you type “flowers” into the search box, ads for local flower shops and national services that deliver flowers might appear. These results would be labeled with a tag that says “Ad.”

Ads appear at the top of page, and the more you pay for your ad, the higher it will appear in search results. When you create a search ad in our system, you can indicate the key words that will trigger your ad. Search ads are useful if people are already aware of your product or service and can search for it.

What's a display ad?

A display ad—also known as a visual ad or banner ad—is an image or picture. When you create a display ad in our system, you can select keywords that describe your product or service and categories that describe your intended audience, such as who they are and what they like. Display ads appear on websites, apps, and blogs that are relevant to your product or service and the categories and keywords you choose.

Which is better: search or display?

Both have advantages! If your product or service is easily searched for (e.g., “physical therapy” or “coffee shop near me”), then a search ad is a good place to start. Display ads are more eye-catching, and are useful for cultivating awareness of a brand or new product. We recommend trying both to compare the results you get.


How much should I spend on my first campaign?

We recommend budgeting $10 per day on each ad you run. For instance, you will want to spend a minimum of $70 for a 7-day campaign. A higher daily budget means your ads will be seen more frequently or targeted more specifically. Some keywords are expensive, and an effective campaign with those keywords will demand a larger budget. Within reason, more is better, but often it does not take a big budget to make a big impact.

What do you recommend for an ongoing monthly budget?

How much you spend each month depends on your business, your audience, and your advertising goals. For small businesses targeting local customers, we’ve found that a monthly budget of $200 to $300 is sufficient to increase the number of people who visit your website or store. If you are seeking customers at the regional or national level, you’ll want to spend more.

What am I actually spending money on?

Charges come from two sources: impressions and clicks. An impression is when your ad pops up or is shown on a website. A click is when someone clicks or taps on your ad and visits your website. Search ads are charged by click. Display ads are charged with different strategies. They can be charged by impressions, which are sold in bundles of one thousand. They can also be charged per-click, and a combo of the two. If you want to use proprietary targeting groups assembled by the platforms that help deliver your ads (DSPs & SSPs, defined below), you will pay additional fees for keywords used within those targeting groups.

Pro tip: There is no additional fee for adding a conversion tag to your ad. A conversion tag is something you can add to your site whenever you want to track a specific customer action, such as making a purchase, booking an appointment, or signing up for an event. The tag in the ad is linked to a tag on your web page, so you can more easily understand the return on your investment. Our ad optimization team can talk to you about how to put conversion tags in place.

Humming uses internal strategies, such as advanced market segment targeting and ad content suggestion to maximize impressions, audience reach, and click optimizations. We’ll talk with you about your goals in order to tailor our approach.

Location & targeting

Where will my ad appear? Which websites and blogs will my ad show up on?

During the ad creation process, you can define the locations you want to target specific cities, states, zip codes, or even map coordinates. You can also identify the types of audiences you want to target by age and interests, or choose specific words that people might type into a search engine. Humming will automatically match your ad to sites that also fit those categories.

If I want my ads to appear on a specific website or app, can Humming make that happen?

Yes! Tell us where you want it to go, and we’ll work with you to make it happen.

If I’m interested in targeting local customers, how do I do that?

You can list specific zip codes or cities, or give us coordinates for a “geo-location fence” that defines a certain area. Ads will be shown to IP addresses and mobile devices within those zones. Through specialized targeting, we can also set time frames to identify users who have traveled through a certain area within a given time frame, such as people who visited a specific neighborhood within the last 2 weeks.

Can I choose between websites, apps and blogs?

In most cases, yes. For instance, if you don’t want your ad to appear in an app, we can ensure it won’t. If you want your ad to show up on a specific site, we can usually make that happen as well.

Does Humming serve ads to social media sites?

Not at the present time. We deliver to the rest of the Internet.

What if I don’t know where to show my ads?

If you are new to digital advertising and not sure where to start, we recommend you start by testing some different locations and audiences. Then, we’ll give you the data to see how your ads perform so you can make adjustments if needed. Frankly, that is exactly how industry experts do it, too.

What types of targeting are available besides location?

There are a number of ways to refine who sees your ads. Age, gender, income, and interests are just a few options. The more specific your targeting gets, the more it will cost you when people click on your ad. We recommend that you keep your categories general unless you have a very particular need for a specific audience. Because someone seeing a search ad is already looking for a product or service similar to what you provide, it also makes sense to reserve this type of refined targeting for display ads. We are happy to make recommendations to give you the best bang for your buck.

Strategy & ad performance

How will I know how my campaign is performing?

We send weekly summaries by email with data to help you evaluate ad performance. You will also have access to a dashboard of data that you can check at any time. We can help you understand the data and provide suggestions to improve ad performance.

What’s more important, impressions or clicks?

This depends on your business goals. If your goal is to increase awareness of your business, specific products, or events, then you want viewers to see your ad multiple times. This means you should use strategies that maximize impressions. If you want people to interact with your ad and visit your website, then you should use strategies that increase your clickthrough rate, or the percentage of people who click on your ad when they see it.

What is a conversion and how can you track it?

When someone clicks on your ad and gets transported to your website, you may be interested in knowing what they do once they are there. Do they make a purchase, or sign up to receive more information? This is called a conversion because they were converted from an ad viewer to a customer. We can track conversions using a conversion tag, which allows us to see how many people took a specific action on your site. This is helpful for knowing whether your advertising is effective.

Do your ads track specific people?

No. We track numbers of people and demographics about those people, but we don’t track specific people or IP addresses. We think that’s creepy.

What if I want to test different types of ads?

Testing different types of ads is easy—you simply run separate campaigns at the same time. An upcoming version of our dashboard will allow you to compare campaigns side-by-side.

What is typical for ad performance?

The ad performance differs by industry, but here are cross-industry averages for clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rates:

Search ad average CTR: 2% – average conversion: 3.75%

Display ad average CTR: 0.35% – average conversion: 0.77%

Keywords & ad content

What keywords should I use?

If you were a customer looking for your product or service, what would you type into a search box to find you? You want your keywords to reflect your product or service and overlap with content on your website. DSPs assign search ads a quality score, and this metric affects how highly the ad is placed on the page in search results.

Two things that improve an ad’s quality score are: 1) when words or phrases used in the ad match those used on your website, and 2) when words or phrases used in the ad match the keywords used to place the ad. A high quality score helps your ad appear near the top of the list. If ad’s quality score is low, then you’ll usually need to spend more money to place the ad higher in search results.

What makes for a good display ad?

Generally, we find that less is more when it comes to display ads. Eye-catching images with limited text are typically the most successful. Ads should also reflect the product or service. A dynamic ad might increase curiosity and entice people to click, but if they visit your website and it isn’t what they were looking for, you will end up paying for clicks that don’t bring you business.

The ad ecosystem

How does it work?

The ad ecosystem is complex. Here’s what happens: Advertisers place their ads on demand-side platforms (DSPs), such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo, who then sell the ads to publishers represented by supply-side platforms (SSPs). DSPs and SSPs buy and sell though ad exchanges, who broker these transactions using real-time bidding.

Buying and selling happens within the microseconds it takes for a webpage to load. The targeting data that is exchanged between DSPs and SSPs determines who sees your ad. In other words, you give your ad to a DSP and they sell it to an SSP that represents a publisher, using ad exchanges as the broker.

What’s this DSP thing?

Demand Side Platforms or DSPs represent advertisers who are looking for ad space. Google serves as a DSP, with a software platform that allows advertisers to upload their ads, and then Google helps find a buyer for those ads. There are about 200 DSPs out there and most are not accessible by the general public.

How does Humming fit in the ecosystem?

Humming aggregates DSPs, so you can have access to multiple DSPs and multiple options for targeting, all in the same place. This allows you to run your ad on multiple platforms at the same time instead of creating separate ads on each DSP platform. We also give you access to DSP partners you normally wouldn’t.

Many companies pay ad agencies big money to do this, but at Humming, we don’t think you should. Working with multiple DSP partners also allows us to spend your money most efficiently. We can shop around for the best media rates and if necessary, shift campaigns mid-stream to optimize performance.

That’s why Humming brings the most powerful DSPs together in one integrated platform. We work seamlessly across DSPs to give you the results you need at the best price. Even better, we do it so you don’t have to.

You’re awesome! Thanks for reading.

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