Numerous world-renown platforms are offering paid advertising based on the data they collect on a regular basis. From the established Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to the newcomers such as TikTok, the choices are endless. All of these platforms have realised the great potential that lies in advertising, and as a result, they have heavily invested in it.
Opportunities are rising, yes, but that also means that competition is on the rise. It’s becoming rather difficult to only rely on non-paid, organic channels to bring the traffic you seek. Most people find themselves having to buy ads if they want to survive in this vicious online space.
For example, the number one slot on Google SERPs is often not an organic but a paid one. This is the reality. If you want to survive, you should embrace it. We are not saying that you need to spend every penny of your marketing budget on paid digital ads but still.
This article will thoroughly explain to you how paid advertising works and how your business(es) can greatly benefit from it.
What is paid advertising?
Paid advertising is as straightforward as it sounds, digital advertising with a price tag attached to it. Examples of paid advertising include PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns on search engines and social media platforms, homepage takeovers (in which the homepage of a certain website is filled with ads from the same company), and online partnerships.
PPC is basically achievable through numerous platforms such as Google AdWords, Twitter, Facebook, and many other digital platforms. These ads are shown to an audience of your choosing, and you are expected to pay per click, hence the name PPC ads.
Why is paid advertising important in marketing?
An efficient marketing campaign is a campaign that relies on all possible channels of advertising. Paid advertising unarguably costs more than owned or earned advertising, but it’s still an incredibly effective way to expose your brand’s name to a large audience. And quickly.
The ads that you would pay for are usually displayed for people on the tops, sides, and bottoms of web pages. You always have the option of paying more money to have your ads displayed on more popular web pages.
Additionally, the ever-growing popularity of social media has turned it into a hub of paid ads, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter thrive with ads.
There are numerous different categories of paid ads, including PPC, PPI (Pay Per Impression), and display ads. They allow you to further customise your campaigns as you see fit.
How to develop your paid advertising strategy
There is a lot that goes into paid advertising, so you shouldn’t start your campaign without having a strategy ready. Not having one can cause you to waste a lot of money. The steps are easy to follow, and they are:
Identify your goals
As is the case with anything in the marketing world, you need to have certain goals in mind before you start doing anything. First off, who are you trying to reach? What kind of numbers are you looking to achieve? What is the end result of your ads? And more.
Different audiences and goals need different campaigns and ad types. Most of the platforms we have mentioned do provide some sort of guidance when it comes to running campaigns based on goals of your choosing. In other words, before starting a marketing campaign, choose the main goal and then pick the relevant options offered to you by the platforms.
You can categorise your goals based on your visitor’s journey since people need different things at different stages.
This refers to the stage where people are researching something, and they have a specific problem or need, but they don’t know much about how to satisfy it yet. The goal attached to this group of people is to try and make them aware of your products and/or services.
You can measure this by impressions (the number of people who saw your ads) and clicks (the number of people who clicked on your ads).
This is the stage at which people have a good idea of their needs and problems and are looking at the different options that would help them fulfil those needs or solve those problems. A good way of measuring this is by checking the number of clicks you get on your ad and the actions people took on your website. Such actions include them filling out a form, navigating to other pages, downloading a guide, and more.
This refers to the stage at which someone has chosen how they will fulfil their need or solve their problem and are looking for the company or brand that will do that for them. The proper way of measuring this is through conversions, i.e., the act of purchasing.
Know your audience
Do you know what is better than knowing your goal? Knowing who you are targeting. This can be done through research. You basically create numerous personas that correspond to what you would consider being your ideal customer. You basically have to define them based on who they are as well as what aspects of them you can target to push them to buy your services or products.
It is near impossible to build efficient ads without knowing your audience. It will also help you to pick which platforms to advertise on and which to stay away from. And of course, it will also help you to choose the correct targeting options to reach your ideal audience.
Calculate your budget
Now that you have successfully identified your goals and your audience, you need to determine how much you can spend. You could already have a specific budget assigned to you, but you will still need to decide where to spend it. We understand that most businesses aren’t willing to pay endless amounts of money on marketing.
The biggest mistake that you could make is spreading your marketing budget between many campaigns or platforms. This will bring you little to no positive results. Instead, you should focus on one platform at a time. This way, you can commit to maximising returns which is achievable through trial and error.
Numerous tools out there will give you rough estimates of Cost per Click (CPC) and search volumes which you can use to calculate how much advertising in specific situations can cost you. The platforms themselves will often give you a good idea of the budget that you’d need to allocate when setting up a campaign. Pay close attention to those estimates and go from there.
Getting started with paid advertising
The world of paid advertising can be a confusing one, and there are a lot of different elements that you need to keep track of. Here is a list that summarises most of what we have just explained.
Defining your strategy
- Platforms: Choose which platforms you would focus on based on your target audience.
- Objectives: Define SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals. They will help you to define more specific objects upon which you can base your whole campaign.
- Budget: Identify a budget and decide how to distribute it between the campaigns. Make sure to not spread it too thin because you would fall at the risk of not seeing any results. Instead, be strategic about your budget and make sure to use it on the right platforms.
You should also calculate how much you can afford to pay for a customer to get a positive ROI out of your campaign.
Build campaigns following the best practices
Once you’ve picked the platform or platforms that best suit your target audience and you have identified your objectives and budget, you can start setting up your campaigns. Depending on which platform(s) you go with, there will be a lot of options and variables to keep track of.
If you feel like you don’t know much about what you’re doing, hire paid advertising experts to do it for you. You want to get the most out of your marketing budget, and a single wrong setting can ruin it all.
Test and analyse
Closely follow the performance of your campaign on a regular basis; every two weeks is usually the recommended practice. Always keep in mind that every campaign is a test. You are basically testing a lot of different versions and seeing what works best for your business. If that’s not the case, you simply move on to another test.
Measuring the performance of your paid advertising campaigns
If you’re not closely keeping an eye on the engagement and conversions of your paid campaigns, you might as well waste your money on something else. Most, if not all, paid advertising platforms provide you with some tracking, usually achievable through a pixel or tag you add to your site. It allows the platform to gather the proper data about whoever clicked on your ad and surfed your page.
You got to make sure to install this tracking tag properly since it’s a source of invaluable data about how your campaigns are performing. Some platforms even go as far as optimising your own campaigns for you. Google, for example, can take notice of a particular keyword that is getting more conversions than usual and can push your ads for it.
Additionally, do make sure to configure a centralised analytics platform to keep track of your campaigns. Most businesses rely on Google Analytics, but there are other platforms such as HubSpot and Adobe.
Don’t take the number of conversions reported to you for granted, though. Certain platforms will attribute the conversions to their platforms, while in reality, they were the result of a complex journey that the buyer went through.
We ourselves prefer Google Analytics over the rest since it provides a complete view of all the different marketing channels that you might be using.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Remember all those objectives and goals that you established earlier? Make sure that you are achieving them partially or fully when analysing the performance of your marketing campaign. We know that you can get overwhelmed by all the different metrics rather quickly, but there is a way around it.
Simply focus on the metrics that relate to your objectives. If you are looking for conversions, don’t worry about how many likes a post received but rather the conversion rate. If people aren’t clicking enough through your ads, you should change your ad and more.
Need help with paid advertising?
Are you interested in paid advertising? Rockstar Marketing can run your campaigns and help get your business in front of new customers through effective PPC campaigns. Contact us today!