What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising has become an important channel for businesses, in some cases replacing print, TV and radio advertising. Digital advertising can use various channels and formats, including social media, video streaming sites like YouTube, search engine sites like Google and display ads (banners). 

Digital ads sit alongside other organic (unpaid) search results or social media content and purposefully appear in a similar format, usually with text stating “ad” or “sponsored” indicating that the content is paid for. 


When should I use digital advertising?

Before turning to digital advertising (paid), you should check if other powerful unpaid (organic) options may better serve your purpose:

  • Have you optimised your content for search (SEO) to improve its visibility on search engines like Google? An organic SEO strategy has huge benefits and can often attract more relevant users than paid. Find out more here: How do I optimise website content?

  • Is your goal to gain brand awareness in the long-term? You may want to look into running an organic campaign on existing channels. Go to: How can I promote something on EIT Food’s channels? 

However, ‘organic advertising’ takes a lot of time, creativity and know-how. It is a long-term plan which requires an integrated marketing strategy and an experienced team with the resource to invest the time. 

It is also important to know that organic content is only seen by:

  • A percentage of your existing followers (your ‘organic reach’, people who already know you)

  • Some of your followers’ followers (if people choose to re-share you content)

  • People following any hashtags you use. 

If you are looking for more direct results, want to reach new audiences or have a very clear call-to-action, such as encouraging people to sign up to attend an event, then digital advertising may be for you.

The benefits of digital advertising:

  • More targeted and instant: you are able to choose what messages are published, who they are shown to, and when they see it.

  • Get known: if no-one knows about your programme, event or activity, then paid ads are a great way to get known and paid search activity is a great way to target those seeking out solutions for the problems your activity solves. 

  • Retargeting: you can remain front of mind to interested audiences after they have left your website, event or social channels via these campaigns that allow you to target specific visitors with specific ads.

So, while EIT Food’s always-on organic content continues to build a strong and trusted brand across different channels (Go to: What is EIT Food's digital communications strategy?) over time, other teams within the EIT Food community can use digital advertising to boost their activities’ visibility and sign-ups at specific moments in the year. 

It’s worth remembering that even if you have a lot of budget, digital advertising still requires experience and a strong strategy. For more information and tips, go to: How do I create a digital advertising strategy?

Please note: any campaigns run on the core EIT Food social media channels do not count towards project KPIs as this would be double counting.

How do I get started with digital advertising?

If you’ve made the decision to start advertising on digital channels such as social media or Google, you or the agency that you’re working with need to get set up as an EIT Food advertiser. The Core Communications Team manages this process and there are some simple steps to follow. 

Here are the steps you, or your agency, need to take with approximate timings to help with the planning.

Become an EIT Food advertiser At least 6 weeks in advance 

Before you get started, ensure you or your agency have completed Form 1 - Onboarding.  

Ideally, this form should be filled in by those who will be creating the copy and visual assets for your paid campaign.

Form 1 includes guidance and access to useful branding information that you or your agency should read before working with EIT Food.  

Request access to the channelsAs soon as possible (at least 2 weeks in advance)

Once you know who needs access to the channels to be able to launch your paid campaign, fill in Form 2 - Access. 

This form will help the core communications team set up the right channel access for you and any agencies who are working with you.

Note: access to the different channels will be granted once you have shared your media plans, creatives and copy via Form 3 - Media Plan submission.
Build strategy and media planWeek 5

Develop your strategy: read this article on How do I create a digital advertising strategy? This will help you to understand the approach EIT Food takes when it comes to advertising strategy and planning. 

Produce creative assetsWeeks 4 - 3Create your visuals and copy: keep everything you have learnt in the onboarding process in mind during this important production process. 
Update the Core Comms Team and get accessAt least 2 weeks before you plan to launch

Share your plans - once you’re ready to start your campaigns, we ask that you share your advertising media plans via Form 3 - Media Plan submission. This is a simple form that allows the Core Communications Team to keep track of advertising across EIT Food and share learnings across the organisation. It also helps to flag if there are any competing campaigns that could increase the cost of paid media activity. 

Note: This is also the deadline to submit Form 2 - Access if you have not done so yet. Access will be granted once all 3 forms have been submitted.
Test creativeWeek 1Adverts are launched for testing: this is your optimisation phase, where you will test your creative approach, audience demographics and conversion rates to understand what is working and what isn’t.  
Launch campaign Week 0Final adverts are live in market: optimisation will continue throughout your campaigns but by now you should have a good understanding of where to focus your advertising spend to ensure the campaign goals are being delivered.

How do I request access?

You need to sign up to advertise on EIT Food channels by completing Forms 1 and 2: the Onboarding Form and the Access Form. These forms let the Communications Team know you’re planning to advertise and allow them to provide the right level of access to the EIT Food digital advertising platforms - Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You should onboard as an EIT Food advertiser ahead of any planning, strategising or creative work, ideally at least six weeks before you want to start any advertising.

The access details (Form 2) are needed at least two weeks in advance to ensure there are no delays for your campaign. 

How experienced do I need to be to advertise and run campaigns?

Digital advertising, whether using social media channels or platforms such as Google, is a highly skilled job and should only be undertaken by qualified individuals or agencies. If you need help to understand what this means you will definitely need to appoint a professional digital consultant or agency. 

How do I pick the right agency or consultant?

Picking the right agency can take time and it can be a good idea to speak to colleagues about which agencies they work with. At present the following agencies have worked with us and could support you:

If you are paying for this service under the EIT Food HQ budget, please remember to follow the correct procurement procedure for hiring an agency (Go to: How do I publish a procurement?  and read the Procurement Manual - only available to EIT Food staff). For any questions related to procurement you may reach out to Hector.Romero@eitfood.eu .

Regional colleagues and project partners may have their own internal procurement procedures to follow. We recommend you check within your own organisation. 

If you work with an excellent agency or digital consultant, please share your experiences and recommendations via our contact form.

Do I or my digital agency have to complete the Onboarding Form?

Anyone who wants to advertise on EIT Food’s channels needs to complete Form 1 - Onboarding. Ideally, this form should be filled in by those who will be creating the copy and visual assets for your paid campaign.

You can share the onboarding form, this article and the related articles outlined below to help your agency get started. 

Regular reviews

We review the advertising channels quarterly to ensure that everyone who is set up to advertise still needs to have access. If you’ve stopped advertising for a period of time or have told us you do not need access, you will be removed. We may also temporarily pause campaigns if we see advertising that is off-brand and doesn’t follow the EIT Food brand guidelines outlined in the Onboarding Form.  

For any further questions linked to getting started, please email socialmedia@eitfood.eu

Please note: if you change your agency or payment method, you will need to resubmit forms 1, 2 and 3. If you are simply launching a new campaign, but have already been through Form 1 and already have access, you can go straight to Form 3.  

How do I fund my advertising? 

Before advertising, you should consider which budget the media spend will be coming from, what currency you’ll be using to advertise and which payment method you will be paying for the advertising with. You will be asked for this information when you complete Form 1 - Onboarding. 

There are different payment options that range from using a credit card to asking the agency to pay for the spend and re-invoicing you. 

If you are not able to use an EIT Food credit card, you can opt to use a credit card managed by your agency. If you do this, you need to check that they are happy to add their credit card to the EIT Food business accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google... 

If your agency insists on using their own ad accounts, then there are some extra steps that need to be followed:

1. The agency has to add EIT Food or the EIT Food social media lead to their accounts:

  • Facebook: Agency needs to invite EIT Food as a partner in their business manager. 
  • TwitterAgency needs to add @EITFood to the ad account as an account administrator. 
  • LinkedInAgency needs to add the EIT Food social media lead (Alessia Calderalo/Claudia Ciovica) as an admin to the campaign manager.

2. The social media lead will alert the agency that manages our dashboard that there are new ads managers they need to monitor, so that they can add them into the dashboard. 

Please note that this latter option of using the ad account of an agency means that when you stop working with your agency, you will lose all the insights gathered from your advertising (for example, custom audience insights which  are useful for retargeting audiences in the future) and the ads themselves (in case you would like to relaunch them at a later date).  

How do I set up billing for my advertising?

At present, most teams pay for their advertising using a credit card - either their team’s credit card or their agency’s credit card. 

In summary, the following payment options are available for teams:  

TeamPayment options
Core Communications teams
  • Comms team credit card 
  • Agency credit card
Functional Area teams
  • Functional Area team credit card 
  • Agency credit card
Regional Offices
  • Regional office credit card
  • Agency credit card
Project Partners 
  • Company credit card
  • Agency credit card

Quick checklist to onboard an agency or become an EIT Food advertiser

At least 2 months in advance:

  1. Read: How do I get started with Digital Advertising?

  2. Choose your agency.

  3. Agree the billing process and ensure your agency is happy to advertise within the EIT Food business accounts. 

At least 6 weeks in advance:

  1. Complete Form 1 - Onboarding  ahead of any planning, strategising or creative work. 
    Ideally, this form should be filled in by those who will be creating the copy and visual assets for your paid campaign. 

As soon as possible: 

  1. Complete Form 2 - Access to get set up on EIT Food channels. 
    Do this at least two weeks in advance to avoid delays in your campaign start date. 
    Please note that access will be given once you have filled in Form 3.

At least 4 weeks in advance:

  1. Build your advertising strategy, media plan, create the copy and creatives. 
    Anyone creating adverts for EIT Food needs to follow the brand guidelines and ensure the copy and visual design is on-brand as described in the onboarding form. 

At least 2 weeks in advance:

  1. Share your media plans, final copy & creatives with EIT Food ahead of going live via Form 3 - Media Plan submission
    Access will be granted at this stage.

This article was last reviewed in November 2022 and will be reviewed again in April 2023. 

If you have feedback on this article, do let us know. You can drop us a note via our contact form.