Finishing Touches, Operations, Sales & Marketing, V7I1

Introduction to Digital Advertising for Shed Builders (Part 1)

(Photo courtesy of Lilly Rum on Unsplash)

The near-universal adoption of the Internet has prompted businesses to at least consider moving some of their advertising budgets from traditional advertising (billboards, mailers, and newspaper ads) into digital advertising channels.  

If you haven’t done much advertising online, it can seem overwhelming to choose the right platform or ad type. You may hear conflicting messages about being on Google, Facebook, or the latest social media platform. 

In this four-part series, you’ll learn the basics of advertising online, including the different ad types and channels. You’ll also gain tips and strategies for crafting an advertising campaign that fits within your budget and generates real results. 

For Part 1, we will look at the different types of digital ads available for shed builders and dealers. 


The most basic type of digital advertising, a display ad is a visual ad that shows up on a website or social platform. While they are similar in intent to traditional ads placed in magazines, newspapers, or placemats, display ads usually don’t have as much text or contact information. Instead, the goal of a display ad is to have a person click on the ad and go to a landing page or website. 

Display ads are usually visually appealing and, since they are digital, can be animated to cause movement on the screen and catch someone’s attention. Display ads can vary in size and are often designed so they can be read and seen clearly on a smaller screen like a phone. 

This type of digital ad is found frequently on mobile applications and websites, including newspapers, magazines, and popular blogs. Social media ads on Facebook or Instagram are also a type of display ad.  

Display ads are priced by the number of people who see them (a metric called impressions). They are usually very affordable, which means you can place your ad and brand in front of thousands or even millions of people at a time. While you can do some geographic and demographic targeting, you will not get to the level of granular targeting with display ads as you will with search or remarketing ads. 


One of the greatest challenges of advertising is getting your ads in front of the right people. Digital search ads are a great way to overcome this challenge. 

Search ads are only shown when someone conducts a search that you are targeting. Since other companies are likely targeting these same searches, most advertising platforms are set up for bidding, so your ad only shows if you are the highest bidder for that term. You only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is why this is commonly called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. 

Since you can target highly relevant searches, search ads are often a great option for digital advertising. However, it is because of this high relevance that search ads can also be more expensive than other types of ads. 

Google is the most popular search engine and is the primary ad platform for search ads. Bing is a distant second in the search-engine race, but its Microsoft Ads platform can work well, depending on your target audience and location. 

Some ads on specific platforms like Amazon, Wayfair, or Pinterest could also be considered a type of search ad, as they show based on what a person searches. 


Most digital advertising platforms have geotargeting capabilities—meaning your ads will only show to people within a zip code, community, or neighborhood. 

In some cases, however, you want to get more targeted in your advertising; you want to show ads to visitors at a home show or at your competition’s sales lot. In that case, you will want to use a geofencing ad. Geofencing ads allow you to only show ads to people in a very specific location—like a building. 

Similar to geofencing ads are geoframing ads. For this, you are showing ads to people who have been in a location at a specific time. This is a common tactic for conference exhibitors to show ads to attendees even after they have gone home. 


Video ads are video commercials that can appear before a video on YouTube, Facebook, or even a streaming service like Hulu. On social media platforms like Facebook, you can also run the video as its own ad.

The most common applications for video ads are introducing your brand to a new audience and re-engaging your existing audience. You can target ads based on demographics, geography, behavior, and online activity. 

Some video ads can be as short as six seconds, while others can be minutes long. The most successful video ads are ones that grab the attention of the viewer in the first few seconds and entice them to watch the video instead of hitting the “skip” button. For most platforms, your cost is based on the number of people who watch the video. 

Video advertising is not the right choice for everyone; there is a high cost of entry in creating the ads, and video ads are not as measurable as other types of digital advertising. But when done well, video ads can create empathy, intrigue, and loyalty to your brand in the mind of the customer. 


If you’ve ever looked for a product online only to see that product or brand show up on other websites for days or weeks to come, you have experienced a retargeting ad. For this type of ad to work, a person would be marked with a cookie when they visit your website or landing page. Then, for a set period of time, you would have display ads show to them on different websites or on social media. 

Retargeting ads are a great way to follow up with a potential customer and provide them with a supporting message. You know they are familiar with your brand and your product, so your messaging can shift toward eliminating doubts or create urgency. 

Retargeting ads are also great for engaging with buyers during a long decision or sales cycle; some people may not be ready to buy a two-story garage or log cabin the first time they visit your website, so retargeting ads can gently keep your brand front and center as they research and come to a buying decision. One sign that a retargeting campaign is working is when a buyer says, “I’ve been seeing your company everywhere!”

Similar to retargeting ads are remarketing ads. With remarketing ads, you can upload a list of customer email addresses and show display ads to them. This is helpful for upselling existing customers on new products—like outdoor furniture. 


There are other types of digital ads available to shed builders and dealers. Depending on your business model, your audience, and your budget, some of these ads might fit within your advertising plan. 

Sponsored Products—If you offer your products on Amazon, Wayfair, Google, or other marketplace sites, you can pay to have your listing show up higher. 

Messenger Ads—If your target audience uses Facebook Messenger, you can reach them directly in their inbox. 

Story Ads—Story posts are vertically displayed images or short videos on most social media platforms; you can create story ads to engage with potential customers in this popular format. 

Audio Ads—You can create a radio-like ad and have it played during a podcast or in between songs on a free streaming service like Spotify or Pandora. 

Sponsored Content—You can get in front of an already existing audience by paying for a sponsored article or email newsletter. 


Now that you know what types of digital ads are available, the next step is to create a plan for your digital advertising campaign.

It is easy to waste money with online advertising through poor targeting, broken performance tracking, and misalignment between the ad type, channel, and message. If you haven’t seen good results from past advertising campaigns, it’s likely due to one of these issues. 

In our next article, we’ll take a look at how to choose the right advertising platform and the basics of creating a digital marketing strategy.

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