It’s okay to admit if you aren’t sure what digital advertising consists of. It has become quite the buzzword in the past few years and now encompasses more than just Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. In this week’s blog post we’ll review the different types of digital advertising and what each is best used for. Of course, we will also give you useful examples you can use at your fitness studio or gym.


What’s Digital Advertising Anyways?

First, be aware that you may hear the term “Digital Advertising” interchanged with “Online Marketing” or “Online Advertising”. It’s essentially the same thing. Basically, if you see an advertisement while online, then it is classified as digital advertising. This includes everything from designed banner ads to social media marketing to SEO efforts.

How much should I budget for it?

Based on a recent survey done by Thrive Analytics, small to medium sized businesses’ marketing budgets are on average 14-15% of gross revenue. Meanwhile, a study done by Gartner revealed that 25% of that marketing budget is spent on online advertising. So, based on these figures, if your studio grosses $250,000 per year in revenue your monthly spend for digital advertising would be right around $730 per month.

Our Top 6 Types of Digital Advertising for Fitness Studios:

Google AdWords

Google AdWords are text ads that appear when someone does a Google search. These are PPC (pay-per-click) ads, where you would not pay for your ad to be displayed, but just for each time someone clicks on that ad.

Our advice for fitness businesses: You’ll reach leads that are already warm, as they are actively searching for your services. Be careful to target specific zip codes around you, or your ad spend may end up through the roof. Always use long-tail keywords (very specific search terms like “personal training in Austin, TX”) and avoid broad match (single keywords such as “gym”).




Google Display Network Ads

These are image ads that display on Google’s large network of websites. Go to websites like and take a look at the banner ad at the very top of the page. If you scroll down the page you’ll see square ads on the right-hand side of the screen as well. Display Ads are also PPC and can be set up to only appear for prospects who have visited your website as a form of remarketing to them once they’ve left your site.

Our advice for fitness businesses: Remarketing is used for lead nurturing, not lead generation. Don’t confuse these two. You’ll still need a method of sending leads over to your website. Don’t stalk your prospects too much to the point of annoying them. Keeping your remarketing duration to about 30 days is sufficient. To optimize your reach, take advantage of all Google’s standard ad sizes when creating your ads.


banner-display-ad-example     display-ad

Facebook Ads

I’m sure at this point you’ve seen some Facebook Ads come through your newsfeed. These are PPC ads and have proven highly effective if you have a strategy behind them. They can be relatively cheap from a cost-per-click standpoint. Make sure to setup a very targeted audience to ensure the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

Our advice for fitness businesses: Make sure to have a clear call-to-action in each ad. Do not just announce your new intro offer, ask the audience to buy now. For the best possible conversion rate, create a dedicated landing page for that particular call-to-action. Be thoughtful when building out your audience to avoid paying for clicks that are unqualified (live out of town, can’t afford your services, etc.)


facebook-ad-example-orange-theory  facebook-ad-example-soulcycle


Instagram Ads

If you’re on Instagram, then you’ve likely seen these ads come across your feed as well. You purchase and set up these ads through Facebook’s Ad Manager interface. You can create video ads, photo ads, or carousel ads (just like on Facebook).

Our advice for fitness businesses: Our experience with Instagram Ads has been that it’s great for branding and spreading the word about your business, but has not been a high lead generator. Keep your ads simple and avoid wordy text overlays on your image if possible.




Bing Ads

Bing Ads work similarly to Google AdWords. These ads just display on the Bing search engine instead of Google. You pay per click only and they are text ads that appear in the right-hand sidebar.

Our advice for fitness businesses: Some of the fitness studios and gyms we’ve worked with have had great success, but they typically have large marketing budgets for ad spend. You’ll get more bang for your buck on Google AdWords if you’re choosing between the two.




YouTube Ads

These ads can be displayed in numerous different ways, from banner ads to in-video overlays to in-stream video ads to many others. YouTube gets over 1 billion views a day and has resulted in many videos going viral.

Our advice for fitness businesses: This platform for advertising is largely untapped, so it offers the ability to stand out as a fitness business. If creating a video ad, use a professional. Avoid a video ad that is a “sales pitch” and stick with something simple, personal and focused on your brand. These are best for brand awareness, a new opening studio, or some other new program launch.




While there are many other types of digital advertising, these are SWETI’s favorites. We’ve seen a lot of success with different types all depending on your demographic, programs, and local market. Contact us for specific recommendations for your business!

Tia Stone, Director of Marketing