Pay-per-click ads via Google, Facebook and others are the means of choice for many companies to reach new customers.
Digital advertising is continually evolving: According to a study by Global Digital Ad Trends 2019, digital advertising almost single-handedly drove the increase in total media advertising spending worldwide last year. The development of online advertisements is continuous and far from complete, and they will continue to change shortly. With the world of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) becoming increasingly competitive, it has never been more critical to choose the right paid advertising strategy to drive growth.
In this article, I want to outline strategies and methods that can contribute to healthy growth in paid advertising.
- Fundamentals of paid advertising success
First of all, it’s essential to see which areas are critical in the cycle of a sale or when generating a new customer. The following figure shows that the path to a new customer or transactions can be broken down into six steps:
- Awareness: It is essential to understand that this is the first contact and that the information in an advertisement must be selected accordingly.
- Interest: With the second step, the primary benefit is aroused, and the customer wants to know more.
- Consideration: In this step, the new prospect has considered the product or service being offered.
- Intent: Here, the customer has a direct intention to buy the product or use the service.
- Evaluation: Now, the customer only has to evaluate whether the most important criteria have been met for him. Then he makes the decision.
- Sale: Here, the customer has gone through all the steps and knows that he is safely buying the product or using the service.
Which ad format makes sense for which phase? In the figure, you can already see the following: The search ads should be used across all areas. For the first three steps, it makes sense to diversify widely, as the customer does not yet have a direct intention. The best way to do this is with video and display ads. Once the interest is there, shopping campaigns are a perfect way to generate new sales. Remarketing pays off from the point at which the customer is considering a product.
Depending on which phase you are in, you should try step by step to place and expand the ads. It is always essential to provide the right information combined with the right ad at the correct phase. There are a few ways here to promote healthy growth.
It is essential to understand the phase in which your own company is currently for the customer to make the right choice for the proper channels in the paid ads area. Different channels also have different ad formats that can be used.
The following questions are essential when choosing:
- What phase is the potential customer in?
- Which channels are suitable for which period?
- Which ad formats in the individual channels are ideal for which stage?
Below, I outline a few methods and strategies you can use to support healthy growth and attract more customers.
2.Overall channels: PPC is more than Google and Facebook
Facebook and Google are still the bread and butter of paid advertising, but you should even broaden your horizons in 2020.
In marketing, the more relevant people you reach, the more customers you will win at the end of the day. While Facebook and Google dominate the world of advertising, other companies like Amazon, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are emerging as big competitors. To reach more people, the channels already mentioned should be used best. When multiple channels are used for the marketing strategy, more people can be achieved, and there are more opportunities to convert prospects into customers in less time.
With all this, online users have become smarter, more demanding and more impatient when it comes to searching for products and services online. You want relevant results quickly that are useful and easy to digest. Alternative platforms, therefore, allow you to convince your target group of the best products and services.
If advertising is displayed on multiple platforms at the same time, it should be ensured that the target customers see your content and then interact with the company. In the following I would like to introduce you to some channels in more detail:
There are many different broadcasting and advertising options to promote awareness or to use the interest in buying directly. The balance between the two variants is essential for healthy growth. Display and video ads make sense for recognition. They are also crucial for the simple transaction, e.g. shopping campaigns, because here the customer is shown the prices and direct comparisons of other customers.
Facebook Ads are more suitable for awareness, as there is usually no direct interest in buying. Here, high-quality and unusual ads are essential to increase awareness. Story ads are ideal for telling a story and bringing customers closer to your product or service. It would help if you concentrated on the feed and the stories when playing because this is where the most significant potential lies.
As is well known, Instagram belongs to Facebook; you can manage the ads there at the same time as the Facebook ads via the Facebook Business Manager. As with Facebook, Story Ads, and News Feed Ads are the best options. Since the target group is younger than on Facebook, the ad information should also be adapted to the age.
Pinterest Ads are a hybrid of narrowing down for the ads. Here you can go on a target group basis as with Facebook, but you can also narrow down targeted advertisements on a keyword basis. Pinterest is a great way to reach your target audience with image and video ads. It should be ensured that the pins are designed according to the best practices of Pinterest to increase user interest as much as possible.
LinkedIn and Xing Ads
LinkedIn and Xing Ads offer an excellent way to target people who have a specific CV. This way, you can find the right target group relatively easily and try to convince them of the product or service. Since the target group already has very high potential, the click prices can be quite high, with an average of 3.50 euros per click.
With these brief insights, you can already get a feel for which channels can be useful for which goals. Overall, it is always important to first use your goals to see which channel is most interesting for your target group and which advertising options are best suited to achieve the goals.
Time is essential to a good strategy. The next point explains the methods for automation to save time.
3. Less time required, thanks to automation.
PPC automation has proven to be a powerful way to improve campaign performance. Companies like Google have invested large sums in designing their automation options.
To get the most out of PPC automation, you need to use the algorithms to your advantage and help the machines learn:
- Set up accurate and useful conversion tracking.
- Write a good ad copy.
- Identify target audiences and keywords.
For healthy growth and also to be able to use the automated strategies most effectively, it is necessary to clarify beforehand which automated plans are available and for which goal they are useful. As is so often the case, a distinction must be made between two goals:
- Range, awareness
- Sales, transactions
There are increasingly better automated bid strategies in the various channels for both goals. I want to list some of them here briefly:
To increase your reach, maximizing click is a useful option. No prerequisites are necessary for this option. However, it should be noted that it is only about maximizing the clicks. To drive conversion, the best option is to base your bid strategy on maximizing conversions. However, if it is targeted to transactions with a sales value, then it is advisable to set the bid strategy to “Maximize conversion value”.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
It makes the most sense for Facebook to choose the “Lowest Cost” bid strategy. Facebook takes care of distributing your budget to get the most out of you. Since Facebook is mainly about reach and awareness, this is usually the most sensible option.
The same bid strategy is recommended for Pinterest as for Facebook: Here, too, the algorithm tries to generate the most clicks with the lowest CPC.
Important: While there have been improvements in PPC automation, not every option will add value to your business. It should be noted that the beginning of an automated bid strategy can incur higher costs because the algorithm must first collect data so that it knows which cost per click is cheapest. This is where you should weigh which options are right for you and which are not. Ultimately, with some practical management, automation can save you a lot of time so you can focus on other tasks.
4. Segment the audience properly.
Audience segmentation refers to the useful grouping of users according to their needs, so that each user sees advertisements on specific products or services at a certain point in time.
While some segmentation has always been possible, the possibilities are now increasing. Companies like Google have access to immense amounts of data that enable them to deliver highly accurate search results to users. More data means more differentiated segmentation. The possibilities of segmentation continue to grow, and you should use them.
With PPC ad campaigns, you can use the market segmentation to choose which group of people or which market will see your ad. This increases the chance that a relevant ad will be shown to a user and that he will be motivated to act.
There are also different options for different channels. Mostly there are two different categories:
- Target audience characteristics
- Collected activities that have been precisely defined beforehand
With the first category, properties of the target group can be selected in advance for most channels, such as interest, life events, age, demographic characteristics, etc. The selection options differ slightly – depending on which data the channel collects and makes available.
The second variant is the more impressive because customers have already triggered a specific predefined activity, e.g. buying a product or sending a contact form. This information is saved in a predefined list and can be reused to target the customer again. This is called remarketing.
Most channels use the data they collect to create audiences with similar users automatically. You can use these target group lists to generate new potential customers.
5.Bet on video ads across channels
Videos are compelling and one of the most effective ways to convey information. They allow a brand to show their personality, tell their story and ultimately connect with their audience. Users find it easier to identify with a brand when they can be visualized. Some studies have shown that people will trust a product more when they see a video of someone demonstrating and introducing it.
Given people’s passion for video, it’s not surprising that the average user spends 88% more time on a website that shows videos:
It is expected that video usage will continue to increase as it becomes easier to create high-quality videos. Both professional video equipment and related editing software are now better and more easily accessible to the general public. Also, smartphone cameras are continually being improved. This enables more companies to create video content that appeals to their target audience routinely.
While YouTube has long been an essential advertising channel, other channels like LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram offer native video advertising and should be considered by you.
By using video advertising on these other channels, you have the opportunity to reach and connect with a broader audience.
Summary: Procedure for healthy growth
But what’s the best way to grow healthily now? Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my goals?
- What phase is my customer in?
- In which channels is my potential customer active?
- Which ad formats in the individual channels support my goals?
- Which information is most important for which phase of the customer?
- How can I best limit my target groups in the individual channels?
Once you have clarified the basis, you can start implementing it. In order to build up the target groups in the best possible way, it is important to have a solid tracking concept in order to let the target groups grow as early as possible.
Digital advertising is constantly evolving and new functions and options are constantly being offered. If you want to stay competitive, your marketing strategies need to evolve too. So make sure you are always at the forefront of new technologies and best practices. Just because something worked well for you in the past year doesn’t mean it will do as well this year or next.
These above-mentioned methods help companies grow healthily and win new customers as well as reach relevant target groups in a more targeted manner.