5 Easy Steps To Developing A Profitable Paid Advertising Strategy
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Epipheo in July 2018 and has been updated to reflect the latest data.
You may have noticed that organic post reach on social media is falling. So your latest video might be getting fewer views than it did just two years ago, despite the fact that the video is more popular on social media than ever.
Blame it on the algorithms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are constantly tweaking their sorting algorithms to make their platform more attractive while making money in the process.
To keep their videos in front of interested consumers, businesses are beefing up their video ad spend. Digital ad spending saw an increase of $50B in 2021—the highest increase since 2006.
In short, video ads are an essential part of your overall marketing budget. To get the most out of your video ads, you need to optimize your paid ad strategy.
What are Paid Ads?
Paid ads are ads you pay for—obviously. Before you point out how redundant the name is, consider that every post on social media is also an ad—one you don’t have to pay for. Of course, payment gets you privileges, like viewer targeting and increased reach to potential new customers.
Paid ad campaigns might appear on a website, in search results, or on a social media platform. The most effective and video-friendly form of paid ads is on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
On social, organic posts are those that come from your friends, family, and the businesses and organizations you follow. These posts are subject to an ever-more-complex sorting algorithm. You may have noticed that sometimes you see a friend’s post 14 times in one day and sometimes you miss it entirely until it pops up out of nowhere 24 hours later. That’s the algorithm at work.
Fortunately, you can beat the algorithm. The pay-to-play model allows you to target your video ads at consumers who meet certain criteria. More on that later.
Unlike banner ads, ads on social offer minimal disruption because they blend right into the surrounding posts. In fact, sometimes users aren’t aware they’re even looking at an ad until they’ve watched your whole video.
And watch it they will. Time spent watching videos on Instagram has gone up by more than 80% year over year, with an average of 29 minutes spent on the platform per day (Source: Broadband Search). Facebook alone generates an average of 100 million hours of video watched per day (Source: Social Shephard).
Creating a Profitable Paid Ad Strategy
If you don’t know what your objective is, who your audience is, and how to reach them, you’re going to be wasting a whole lot of money putting your ads in front of the wrong people. A paid ad strategy will help you get the best possible ROI out of your video ads. Any marketing plan needs a strategy – paid ads are no different.
This five-step process will help you maximize ROI by creating a paid ad strategy that works.
Step 1: Set Your Campaign Objective
What are you trying to accomplish with your video ads? Are you trying to increase traffic, increase visibility, build brand awareness, build search engine optimization (SEO), increase engagement, lead generation, promote a new product, or increase sales?
Yes, ideally your digital marketing will help with all of these, but each ad should be focused on just one of these goals.
Document your goals as part of your marketing efforts and test every idea for video content against a single question:
How does this help us reach our objective?
If you can’t find a compelling answer, make a different video.
Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish will help you measure the overall success of your paid ad strategy. If your goal is to generate leads but all you see is increased traffic, you’ll need to adjust your strategy to turn that traffic into the leads you want.
Step 2: Choosing the Best Social Media Platform.
You don’t have to advertise on every platform. There are just too many for you to effectively cover them all. Besides, your customer base may not spend equal time on each platform. If you’re marketing to CEOs for Fortune 500 companies, you can skip Instagram. If you want to reach Millenials, LinkedIn might not be ideal. It’s important to understand your current customer base and target demographics before jumping into any marketing campaign.
To help you decide, here’s a breakdown of user demographics for the leading social media marketing platforms:
Users are almost evenly split between men and women. The largest portion (24%) is between the ages of 25 and 35. 19% from 18–24. 18% from 35–44 (Source: Statista). That makes Facebook Ads a powerful marketing platform since it hits target demographics for many businesses.
Users are evenly split by gender but are likely to have slightly above-average income (Source: DataReportal). 42% of percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 use Twitter, while only 27% of 30–49-year-olds are on the platform (Source: Statista).
Instagram has over 1.44 billion users each month. 71% of Americans aged 18-29 are on Instagram, while 48% of Americans aged 30-49 use the platform (Source: Statista).
LinkedIn Is aimed at professionals. Among U.S. adults, 51% of those with a college degree use LinkedIn (Source: Pew Research). Users skew slightly male, at 57.2% male user base, and 42.8% female (Source: Statista). Compared to other social media sites, LinkedIn users tend to be slightly older. With only 20.4% of their user base under 25, and 59.1% between 25-34 (Source: Statista).
Pick platforms where your target market is spending their time, obviously, but also consider where you’re currently doing well organically. Perhaps counterintuitively, that might be a better investment than spending to try to boost your impact elsewhere, because you already have evidence that your content is getting good results. With paid ads, those results will only improve. Of course, you’ll want to measure those.
Step 3: Define Your Metrics
Your metrics depend on your objectives. You can measure click-through rate, conversion rate, number of new leads or subscribers. You may also want to track cost per subscriber, cost per lead, pay per click (PPC), or cost per customer, helping you determine your overall ROI.
One more metric can help you avoid potential problems. If internet users see your ad too often they can get ad fatigue. Translation: they’re sick of seeing the same thing all the time. If your frequency is higher than four or five times a week, odds are good your audience is ignoring you. Try releasing a new ad or adjusting your audience.
Some platforms, like Google AdWords (Google Analytics), have built-in analytics tools. You can also go to outside vendors like KISSmetrics to help you track your entire funnel.
Step 4: Hone In On Your Target Audience
Targeting ads requires a certain amount of trial and error. You need to find the ideal overlap of interests, behaviors, and demographics to hit the persona most receptive to your ad. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
You can target audiences based on age, location, profession, interest, or purchasing behaviors. With all of those variables to choose from, targeting can be overwhelming.
Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t meet expectations. The great thing about targeting is that you can fine-tune your audience over time to find the most profitable target group for your ad spend.
Step 5: Plan Your Funnel
Your ad can’t stand alone. It has to be a part of your advertising funnel.
At the top of the funnel, you’re trying to build awareness. This is where you promote your blog or other content.
At the middle of the funnel, shoppers know you exist but haven’t made a decision about whether to buy from you. This is a great time to promote your lead magnet. You can even target visitors who visited your content in the last few months. This is called retargeting, and it’s a great way to put yourself in front of people who’ve already shown interest.
At the bottom of the funnel, you push viewers to purchase. Often, you want them on a landing page.
For ads to be most effective, they need to clearly move the customer to the next step. While you don’t need to create a custom page for each and every video, your video ads should link to a page that clearly moves the customer forward. Nothing kills interest faster than clicking on an ad and ending up on the website’s homepage.
Potential customers aren’t going to dig through your site to find what they’re looking for. So make it easy on them. Make the landing page part of your strategy. As a bonus, having a landing page makes it easier to track visits.
Bonus Step: Refine, Refine, Refine
You’ve gone through all five steps. You’ve created a few videos. You’ve published some ads. All done, right? Not so fast…
An ad strategy, much like a content marketing strategy, only stays relevant if it is constantly refined. Use your results to make informed adjustments that get you even more out of your marketing budget.
Even after you have a well-honed, high-quality strategy, you need to stay vigilant. Changes in the market, new algorithms, and new technologies can all affect the effectiveness of your strategy.
Final Tip for Paid Ad Campaigns
Your ad is only as good as your call to action. What do you want viewers to do after watching your video? Make sure that’s as clear and easy as possible to lead your ideal customer to take action.
As for us, we’d like you to click here to start developing your paid advertising strategy with our support.