Tons of companies use paid digital advertising to drive leads and revenue. Unfortunately, some of these companies also end up leaving money on the table.
Now, it’s not that marketers are trying to launch and manage mediocre paid digital campaigns. In fact, many times they might get decent results and think their work is done. That’s not the point. The point is that even the best of campaigns can be tested, assessed, and improved upon.
There are a few strategies I’ve found particularly helpful when trying to generate the best results for clients. So whether you’re frustrated or ecstatic with the state of your ads, these 10 tips will help you get the most from your paid digital efforts and budget.
1. Account Optimization is Key
The first incredibly important thing to keep in mind is that you should constantly be optimizing your account to reap the largest benefits. If you get nothing else from this post, remember this: testing is your friend.
When you launch a campaign, your work is far from over. Instead, you should be adjusting everything from bids, copy and creative, and targeting to find the magic combination (or at least, the combination that leads to the most conversions). Because testing will result in your biggest gains, taking the time to assess and tweak elements of the campaign as necessary will take your ads, landing pages, and ultimately goals such as lead generation and revenue to the next level.
2. Customize Landing Pages
For the best results, create a custom landing page for every targeting option.
Let’s say you send all your traffic to the same landing page. While this might work for one audience, the page might be confusing or too generic for another. On the other hand, creating custom landing pages for each segmented group – through similar groups of keywords, topics, etc. – will create a better, more consistent experience for the user and ultimately give your conversion rate a nice little boost.
3. Promote the Appropriate Offer
Step into the shoes of your target audience. If you see an ad for a brand you’ve never heard of before, how likely would you be to give them your personal information? Probably not likely (unless you are a very, very trusting person).
When promoting an offer, it’s crucial to align that piece of content to the appropriate stage of the marketing funnel. You’ll scare away top-of-the-funnel customers with forms and bottom-of-the-funnel content. Instead, you might choose to show them offers that are less scary – ungated resources or, better yet, interactive content. Always keep in mind where your potential customers sit in the funnel, as messaging and the types of resources you’re promoting to awareness-stage customers will be vastly different from marketing towards someone who regularly visits your site.
4. Implement Call Tracking
The great thing about paid advertising is how measurable it is. You can quickly report to your company how many leads you drove, how much you spent, how much revenue you made, etc. But when someone clicks through an ad and calls your business, you won’t get that attribution without setting up call tracking.
Let me start by noting that this is definitely more important for some industries than others (although everyone with a phone number should still implement it). For example, service industries that require setting up appointments or companies that receive a lot of calls should make call tracking a priority.
In essence, call tracking is a way to attribute lead generation to your ads. You can even dynamically link different phone numbers to specific search ads to track which ads convert at higher rates, and tweak campaigns as necessary. You can set up call tracking using Google’s Adwords resource.
5. Keep Your Ads Fresh
Campaigns get stale when potential customers see the same ad impression over and over again (think about how many times you’ve seen the same ad on Facebook). In fact, refreshing your ad copy and creative assets on a regular basis not only prevents ad fatigue but tends to bump CTR and ad engagement.
Ideally, you would refresh your ads monthly, but at the very least, do it quarterly. If you have an ad that’s performing well, try to create variants to beat it and swap out the losers. Continuing to make small improvements and changing up ad copy and creative can lead to big wins.
6. Sequenced Retargeting
Going off of the point above, you’ll also want to keep your retargeting ads fresh. One way to do this is through sequenced retargeting – essentially, setting up durations to rotate through a series of retargeting ads over a specified period of time.
Let’s say you have four variations of evergreen retargeting ads. Instead of showing them one and manually refreshing them from time to time, you could load them all together at the beginning and exclude or negative match the other cookie duration variants. This strategy ensures that potential customers hitting your site will be retargeted with "new" ads every 7, 14, 21, etc. days.
7. Test Big UX Changes
Does changing your entire acquisition funnel result in more conversions? Although we’ve already talked about testing to optimize, you should also test larger UX initiatives.
Here’s an example. Maybe you’ve been sending traffic to a landing page with a form. What happens to conversion rate if the landing page doesn’t have a form, but instead a CTA that takes them to a different page with the form? Or, you could test a more elaborate multistep conversion path where you prompt them to fill out a few fields. Once they complete that simple step and enter the information, you might send them to the next page where they have to fill out two more fields. Where do users fall off? Is retargeting more effective when potential customers go through this process?
It can be scary to drastically alter your conversion path, but doing so will almost certainly tell you something about your customers and even the quality of leads. If you never test, you’ll never learn!
8. Leverage Social Proof
Facebook ads that showcase “social proof” (i.e., the likes, comments, and engagements generated on social ads) are more likely to catch prospects’ attention and can lead to increased performance metrics like improved click-through rates and lower cost per click. Yopto, a user-generated content platform, was able to decrease their cost per click by 50% when running ads with social proof compared to ads without social proof.
When running Facebook ads, normally each campaign and ad set includes its own unique and separate ads, even if the content of those ads is exactly the same. However, if the original post for the ad is created differently, advertisers can consolidate all social engagement to a single ad. Making this happen is easy: page admins can create “dark” posts to be used just for ads in the Posts section of Facebook Business Manager that can be used across multiple campaigns and ad sets. Once a post is published, it can be selected in the normal workflow when working with a campaign.
9. Invest in High ROI Campaigns First
After you’ve built a solid foundation, look at the ROI of each campaign. Keep tabs on what’s working and what’s not, and if you have a clear winner, invest more budget to the campaign. Putting more money in high ROI campaigns can also help tell you where that threshold is, and if lowering your ROI to drive more revenue is a viable strategy for your product.
10. Build a Roadmap
Last but not least, you should always have an idea of where you’re going (that is, a roadmap). Keep in mind that your plan doesn’t have to be sophisticated – it can be as simple as keeping a prioritized list of tests and campaigns you plan to launch in the near future. When laying out the roadmap, remember to think about your overall KPIs and focus on initiatives that will help get you there. Otherwise, you risk testing in circles with no clear direction or purpose.
Go Forward and Create Great Campaigns
Paid digital advertising is a critical element of any large marketing campaign. But to really get the most out of your budget and efforts, you need to intentionally improve and iterate. The good news is that things move fast. It’s exciting. And because paid digital advertising is so measurable, once you get a knack for tweaking campaigns to drive a ton of leads and a great ROI, it can be extremely rewarding.
Element Three is a modern marketing agency for discernable brands. We build trusting, long-term relationships with clients whose destination is market leadership, fusing traditional, digital and inbound tactics to tell bold stories audiences can’t resist. We don’t rely on single tactics, stay loyal to any one medium, or favor one discipline over another. Instead, we go beyond the tried to find the truth about your customers. Using research and participation to deliver seamless brand experiences.
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