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Think global, act local - digital advertising for beauty businesses

Before the internet was ubiquitous across the globe – discovering a new business to provide a specific product or service at a specific time was limited to phone book directories and a few other channels.

If your washing machine broke and there was water flowing across your floor – you had an emergency – and you would consult your phone directory to discover a plumber or Maytag repair man…

…you would be less likely to wait until you discovered a plumber by happenstance while reading your newspaper or driving your car and noticing a bus stop advertisement.

Not to say that newspapers or bus stop advertising doesn’t work –but, when a potential client has ‘intent’ and is actively searching for a beauty product or service, they use a search directory.

Today the biggest in the world is Google, followed by Bing and Yahoo (Google had a global search market share of 92.16% as of December 2020 handling more than 5.4 billion searches each day). There are also any marketplace directories where products and services both new and used are advertised such as Kijiji, Craigslist, Angie’s List and Facebook’s own Marketplace.

Before you begin advertising, be sure to claim your free Google My Business listing ( This is a critical tool for local business owners to get their beauty business, medi-spa or salon in front of potential local customers through Google Maps, Search and other Google properties.

This example of a simple Google search for 'beauty salon Vancouver' shows the resulting business listings that have registered their business with Google.

Types of digital advertising.

Display ads

Display advertising is the type of advertising traditionally thought of when you think of a newspaper ad. It is an image and text placed as panniers, popup ads, or flash ads on websites. Display ads do not show up in search which can make them affordable – however, to most website visitors these ads are irrelevant because they were not targeted to the viewer. The exception is to place a beauty ad on a beauty website. Although not specifically targeted, it is somewhat targeted by the interest of the typical visitor to that website.

Example: Byrdie is a popular beauty website and in the story example below regarding Melasma and Hyperpigmentation we can see a display banner for Honda at the top and on the right side a display ad for Quaker Oats – both of which are unlikely to be of interest to the website visitor who came looking for beauty tips and news.

Native Advertising

Similar to display ads, native are sponsored listings that are strategic in placement and targeting. Native advertising uses the online habits and history of a potential customer to show targeted advertising that they may be relevant to them. They also match and seamlessly blend into the content surround it.

Example: The website Global Cosmetic Industry writes their own content but also hosts content written by advertisers that sound and looks like their own content as shown on the bottom right. It can only be distinguished from the other content by the ‘sponsored’ tag.

When a potential customer is using Google search, there may be some sponsored ads also shown if Google believes it is relevant to the search or customer.

Social Media

Worldwide, the number of people using the internet as gown to 4.54 billion people in January 2020 and worldwide there are 3.8 billion social media users, which is a user penetration of 49%.

It is common to see display, native and video ads on social media. There are two subtypes of ads specific to social media; Paid Social Media ads are like native ads that can be targeted to specific people, however they will be labelled as sponsored or advertisement on the platform.

The other is ‘organic’ ads that are in the form of referrals, testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. This is when an influencer will share and promote a product or service. Only the influencer is responsible for labelling their promotion as an ad.

This organic advertising seems more authentic and can be a great way to build a loyal brand following.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing has been the most dependable type of digital advertising because it is based on keywords that your potential customers are looking for.

Two subtypes of search engine marketing are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO).

Pay-Per-Click will show thousands of results, however 90% of users will end their search on the first page of results. Pay-Per-Click digital advertising works, however it continues to get more expensive as more competitors are entering the digital space and competing for the same keywords – and that first page placement.

Search-Engine-Optimization requires time and strategy to get onto the first page of a search. Based on your websites optimization, content and keyword relevance, search engines will rank your site in the search result.

In the example below the search for nubody equipment shows a Pay-Per-Click ad at the top of the first page as well as Search-Engine-Optimization videos and content results below. Notice also the Google My Business result on the left hand side of the page.

Video Ads

Video content has a very high user engagement and can be placed as an integrated native or display ad as well as a commercial prior to another video that you might see on YouTube, Hulu or Facebook, etc.

The challenging part of videos is the effort needed to create one that is intriguing, shares your message, builds your brand and emotionally enticing. A video only has a few seconds to capture the views attention, but if the viewer is watching they can absorb a lot of content.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still an effective way to reach your target audience at an affordable cost. Because your audience is interested in your business to a certain degree, you can send email campaigns for promotions, discounts, relevant topics, etc.


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