Social media and Google advertising campaigns have continued to grow in recent years. Because entrepreneurs and ad managers can generate a highly specific audience based on their customer personas, the ROI to online ad campaigns is substantial. However, to a first-time ad campaign creator, the entire process can feel a bit intimidating.
How do you define your audience? Which advertisement idea will work? How do you set a budget? The process should be iterative, meaning it won’t be perfect on your very first try. But these following four key ingredients will help you create a first ad campaign that you can be proud of: one that you can add onto and change as you receive data.
1. Determine your goal
First, it’s important to understand what your goal is. This will drive all decisions about the advertising campaign. For some companies, sales drive all of their advertising efforts. For others, it’s simply traffic or exposure. Define what a set of successful results will look like for your company.
This is always part of a larger conversation regarding your sales cycle. If you have a funnel that incorporates an email list, a webinar or a Facebook group, perhaps your ad spend is best spent moving potential customers into the funnel rather than trying to immediately take them to the sale.
2. Use high quality visuals
The average person has the attention span of a goldfish, and this is exacerbated during their social media scrolls or Google searches, when they’re overwhelmed with information and so much to look at. That’s why it’s critical to use large lettering and high quality visuals. Paul Getter, the founder of The Internet Marketing Nerds, recommends “using natural, everyday photos and not the more staged, professional-looking pictures. They invoke curiosity.”
If a photo looks too much like a stock photo, your customers will see it as an advertisement. This is also why photos generated by influencers work so well. “It’s important to recognize, however, that catching a person’s attention is an always-evolving art. What worked yesterday might not work today,” Getter added. Make sure to switch up your strategy until you find one that gets you the results you’re looking for.
3. Conduct market research with a split test.
Once you’ve published your first few ad campaigns, it’s a good idea to engage a split test (also known as an A/B test). A split test enables you to put two ads next to each other and see which performs better. This judgment will typically come down to one key performance indicator.
You’ll be able to tell from a split test if one of your advertisements is more effective than another on these KPIs. From there, make a decision on how you’ll invest moving forward. It’s possible that one ad could perform well by one indicator, and the other could perform well by another. This is why it’s important to know what your ad goals are.
4. Continue to iterate on your ad audience
Finally, remember the final key ingredient is your audience specification. If your ad campaign isn’t performing to your expectations, it could be an issue with how you’re targeting your audience. Targeting is both an art and a science.
Some marketers recommend using psychographics to better target an audience. This goes beyond mere demographics and into more specificity, such as a target audience’s motivations and values. These are good to know in constructing your ad messaging generally speaking, so invest time in understanding these psychographics, then apply it to your audience targeting, too.
Related: How to Win at Facebook Advertising
Advertising knowledge is a muscle that’s strengthened with time and experience. Get started on the social media sites that your ideal customer most frequently visits, and create a detailed overview of data from each campaign. Every data point can be used moving forward.