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12th February 2018

A Restaurant Owner's Guide to Understanding Online Ad Types

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The world of online advertising can feel like a minefield if you’ve had little experience using it or if you’ve got a limited knowledge of how it all works.

But with almost 50% of restaurant reservations originating on a mobile phone (Big Hospitality), it’s crucial your business uses online advertising to get in front of customers searching for a restaurant like yours.

Understanding the different types of online advertising available and how they can benefit your business is the first step to take, so we’ve created a quick restaurant owner’s guide below…

1. Banner adverts

These are banner-style adverts displayed on other websites and are a great way to target your ideal customers more effectively. Consider the types of people who are likely to be interested in your restaurant and set relevant targeting criteria so that your banner adverts solely get seen by these type of people. For example, you could target 16-30 year olds in Yorkshire who have an interest in Italian cuisine.

This is a relatively low-cost form of online advertising which helps you to get your business in front of people who are more likely to visit your restaurant, so make sure you understand who your ideal customers are to get the most out of these types of adverts.

Plus, it’s important to get the creative right too. Banner adverts are a great way to capture people’s attention online with clever design and strong visuals. Use them to reflect the tone of your restaurant so that people get a sense of your personality and make it more inviting for them to visit.

2. Web page takeover

A web page takeover does exactly what it says in the title; you’re able to dominate a website page by taking over the design of it completely and use it solely to promote your restaurant.

This is a more powerful and exclusive way of getting noticed online and, again, a strong creative and visuals will serve you well in driving people to take action and click through to your website. A web page takeover might be a good idea if you have a time limited offer you want to promote such as a free dessert for kids when buying a main during Easter half-term. So think about which offers would suit this type of advert to make the most of driving people to a particular promotion.

3. Sponsored content, also known as native advertising

Native adverts, or sponsored content, are usually found on other websites in the form of an article. They’re designed to look like regular content on the site however there will be clear signposting such as ‘promoted’ or ‘sponsored by’ to state that it is a paid-for post.

The main aim of this type of advertising is to drive engagement and inform or educate readers around a topic of interest to them. For example, a gastropub could recommend their top tips for cooking the perfect roast or their top 10 drinks that complement different meals. Check out our article for tips on how to create unmissable content for your restaurant.

Using sponsored content is an effective way to showcase your expertise and attract visitors to your business through your reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy restaurant in the local community.

4. Google AdWords

'Near me' restaurant searches saw an uplift of more than 1000% over six months in 2016 (Periscopix) so it’s crucial your eatery is getting found in these search results, which is where Google AdWords can help.

This is a key type of online advertising for any local restaurant as people searching for restaurants usually have an immediate or near-future need; therefore, these people are your best chance of converting into customers quickly. Use search terms that your customers are likely to use such as ‘local Thai restaurant’ or ‘pubs serving Sunday lunch’ to help get your restaurant found more prominently in search results.

Also, it’s really important to have a ‘click-to-call’ or ‘book now’ button as people searching for restaurants are very likely to use this to make a reservation immediately. Over 50% of people who connect with a business after a mobile search will do it over the phone (Windsor Telecom) so make it easy for them to get in touch when their need is greatest by having a click-to-call function.

5. Facebook adverts

Facebook advertising works in a similar way to banner adverts on other sites, however the sheer number of people using this social media network is the appeal for this type of online advertising. It allows you to engage with a much wider audience and provides targeting options, again, based on people’s age, location, interests and more.

Go back to thinking about your ideal customer and ensure you set criteria so that your message is reaching people with a food and drink interest, local to you and who are, therefore, more likely to be engaged with what you can offer.

To learn more about Facebook including how to increase your fans on the social media platform, check out our dedicated guide.

It’s clear that online advertising offers a variety of options when it comes to different types of adverts, but it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong method. Test some of the advert types discussed in this guide (or all of them!) and monitor which campaigns deliver the best results for your restaurant. By doing this, you’ll soon see which types of online ads drive less engagement and which you should be investing more of your budget on.

If you’re still unsure about how to take the plunge with online advertising though, there are service providers who can help, including our own online advertising service.

For more information on how online advertising can benefit your business, take a look at the following articles:

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