Regardless of which combination of advertising platforms you choose, whether it’s Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, or anything else, your business will have certain goals, it’s trying to reach and certain metrics it’s trying to improve.
A digital marketing strategy of ad platforms is what will help you achieve those goals and improve those metrics using the best available ad platform for your needs. Without a digital marketing strategy and execution plan in place, your ad budget can get wasted very quickly on the wrong platforms without you getting the results you want.
Let’s start with questions and do our due diligence.
Choosing Ad Platforms:
What Is the Ad Budget We Have to Work With?
The first question we often hear from clients is how much should I spend on digital marketing? What is the ad budget we need? We almost immediately want to ask this question back with how much do you have? What we can do with different ads budgets very much controls the strategic advantages and disadvantages you will have. This is a very good question, but it’s too soon to ask this question.
First, we need good client communication on some questions to get to those KPIs we are trying to achieve. If an ad agency in choosing a ad serving platforms is giving a “simple answer” it means they haven’t done their due diligence to understand the problem or solution of marketing the product or service. They have just sold you to close the deal. A simple answer would be Google or Facebook Ads as they are some of the top-visited platforms but that doesn’t answer what is the best platform.
Let’s start with some questions…………
What Is Your Path to Purchase, Your Marketing Funnel?
Each ad platform is designed differently to reach people at different parts of the funnel. If you are unsure what a funnel is, check out our blog post on what is a marketing funnel. Simply put the AIDA model. Someone first has to become aware of you, become interested, have a desire, and then take action. This doesn’t happen in one fell swoop of a website click. A lot of time we hear that we just want to drive quality traffic and they will buy/sign up when they get there. Statistically speaking 88% of people don’t do that on the best websites in the world.
So we need to build a funnel of content that leads someone down the path of purchase. This means we need cheaper traffic upstream on the marketing to lead someone down to purchase. This can be done with both organic means of driving traffic and cheaper ad platforms. Let’s face it, organic traffic is not enough, we also wrote about that too. And if you are still stuck on why do I always need to be marketing, start with this podcast.
Social ads are higher up in the funnel as people do not go to social platforms to necessarily buy. Now if we are talking about retail items then they might, but that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them to click to learn more about what you can help them with.
Search platforms like Google and Bing Ads are at the end of the funnel as they are potentially searching for what they have to offer. But even here with that type of platform the keywords you choose decide intention.
Do we also know how people buy now both off and online, “cross channel advertising“? Yes, digital marketing is important but there are offline actions that take place as well, can you pull those offline activities into your funnel online?
This always brings up the value of remarketing with ads or email marketing. Now that you understand there is a funnel you need to also decide what platform are you going to do your remarketing on? Not all platforms are created equal.
We wrote a blog post on top ways to remarket to your potential client. Did you also know that 70% of your budget should be spent at the top of the funnel and 30% at the bottom of the funnel? You need to also pay attention to the data wars and who can actually get your remarketing correct. Not all platforms can do this right now.
Are you exhausted yet by the decision of ad platforms? No, good……….. because we have more questions or strategies to think about!
Do You Know Who Your Target Audience Is and What Ad Platform Can Get to It?
Each platform has different audience capabilities and whether you already know who your audience is or not this research needs to be done. You have some basic tools likely on your website such as Google Analytics that can give you basic demographic information. But each digital advertising platform also has its own ways of both first party and third party ways to target individual interest, likes, and behaviors. Knowing which platform can do and how large that audience is will help you determine if it’s a good platform and how much to allocate to it.
For instance, if the audience is small, you will need a smaller budget and/or more creative ads needed. This is due to ad fatigue in seeing the same ad too many times without making a decision. Audiences and Research- what platforms can we get to their audience? We as analysts need to often set up platforms that you own and have the data sitting inside the platforms if we can get to your audience.
Are People Already Searching For the Product or Service?
This question can help us determine what digital advertising platforms your potential client is already using such as search engines to look for your product or service. It helps define what the demand is for the products. If no one, is searching for what you have to offer then that is okay but Google Ads as far as search campaigns are not the best place to start. You can use keywords that are similar to what you offer to get into the funnel, but it could be a lot more expensive. Google Ads tend to be the most expensive place to be as it should be when people are there to search for what you have to offer. Going after keywords that are similar but not on the market is not a good use of money, sometimes. If you have a large budget then it can help expand outside the circle of definite needs. What is however a good use of budget is expanding outside of those searching directly for you using social, native, or display ads. Which ad platforms are the best? Well, that would lead to another question but we are not there yet.
Let’s say we do say people do know of my service or product. The next thing we need to do is keyword research to see how much search volume are we talking about. Often keyword research gets oversimplified as we think of 5-6 keywords we think people are searching for. Did you know that 15% of searches on any given day on Google are brand new and have never been done before?
So even though you are using Google’s tool to do keyword research you will never get the true search volume until you run campaigns with an unlimited budget. The research though will help give you buffer words that people would attach to your words to indicate the intention of their search. Some people are in research mode for a school paper and some might attach words like “service” which add a whole meaning. Why is this all so important? Well, the Google keyword planner tool starts to tell you how competitive these words are and estimated pricing per keyword.
Which once again is not simple on cost per keyword, there is an auction going on, and “well-optimized” your campaigns are set up tells you your true cost. You are going to need to however know these “estimated” hard costs of CPC to get back to the budget that someone is going to need. This is only going to be for Google search ads, which will only take care of one part of the funnel. It is great to be where someone is directly searching for what you have to offer, but it is the most expensive place to play.
Let’s say for instance you also haven’t done your due diligence on what is important on KPIs?
What does success look like for your ad campaigns?
To obtain client goals, ROI, and building of a funnel – make sure your digital marketing strategy has a goal in mind for the part of the funnel you are trying to fill. These are your KPI’s.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that help to measure how well a campaign is performing, allowing you to formulate KPIs. There are many different types of KPIs that you can use. One useful KPI is conversion rate (the number of people who click on an ad divided by those who visit your website). You may also want to consider click-through rate (CTR), which refers to how often people click on an ad after it’s been served. Another metric to track is the cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM). These numbers refer to how much money you spend each time someone clicks on your ad or views it. The lower these numbers are—and they should be low—the better.
We have often found that many companies do not have the basic data set up to track the important aspects of their website traffic. This is troublesome in being able to track KPI’s. Sometimes they have some data set up, but they cannot understand if people are getting to the conversions of the website that you want. There are so many other steps in between and data setup is important to understand where in the funnel your potential client is getting stuck. Each ad platform tracks it differently as well as many popular data sources such as Google Analytics. It’s important that your Ad agency, or yourself understand all of the metrics and how they affect your ads!
KPIs such as cost per click on different advertising platforms are part of the decision-making process of what ad platforms to choose. There are a lot of standard CTRs and CPCs out there for every platform and audience. While these standards is nice benchmarks to understand across an industry what the average KPI’ s is it’s important to understand every website will perform differently. This is why the first month of ads should be dedicated to getting what are your benchmarks.
Another important KPI is knowing how much you are willing to spend to acquire a new client. Not everyone knows this number but if you do know this, it makes the math game of ads that much easier! Everyone needs to start somewhere so you can see what your benchmark is and what to beat to become profitable.
What Is Your Conversion Rate?
This is often a KPI that not everyone has a good grasp on. You need to know how often you can convert the traffic that comes to your website. We did a whole blog on conversion optimization and how to improve it, but it’s also important when deciding on the best advertising platforms and dividing up the budget. You need to know if you bring in traffic, how often are do you typically convert that traffic into your desired actions of the website such as phone calls or form fills.
This will help you mathematically figure out how many clicks you need and how much that will cost to get conversions. You might not even understand your path to conversion. That’s okay we can find it by sending targeted ads to their audience at a statically significant rate of traffic.
Do You Have Website Traffic Now?
Seems like a silly question but not everyone has traffic already coming into their website. If this is the case a lot of the information above is going to be null and void because you aren’t quite sure how your website performs yet. If you have no traffic now, then you don’t know your conversion rate, you might not even have conversions set up so you can’t figure out how much traffic you need to convert which leads you to a guessing game.
No worries though everyone starts somewhere and you need the traffic to the website to ensure you know how the website performs and what you need to fix.
This question is a great question because you need to understand from a conversion optimization standpoint, how is your website traffic doing? Is it time to scale with ads or is it time to work on the traffic you have? How quickly do they need to scale also goes with this question? When you scale quicker you break things quicker to find solutions faster. Maybe you have investors so you need to get to what is wrong quicker.
This can also be important in choosing the ad platform because if they have no traffic there are platforms you can choose that will get you more traffic quicker so you can see how your website performs.
Omnichannel Advertising: Multiple Ad Platform Choices
We have touched on it a couple of times during this article, but haven’t directly called it out, “cross-channel advertising“. You need multiple ad platforms not just for the sake of different parts of the funnel but also because of ad platform algorithms. We talked about marketing algorithms in this podcast, but essentially they are always changing. You are at the mercy of those platforms and their agendas so having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Diversify how you bring traffic to your website so that when start to change the algorithm you are not 100% dependent on it to survive.
Choosing an Ad Platform Strategy Takes Some Work
That was a lot to consider. It’s important to track and analyze your results to make sure you’re choosing ad platforms that are driving targeted traffic to your site, resulting in ROI. There are many different tools available to help you track key performance indicators (KPIs), including Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and more. Make sure you use these tools to their full potential so you can get an accurate picture of what your ads are doing for your business.
You should also be monitoring your return on investment (ROI) by comparing costs with revenues and seeing how much money you’re making per lead. This will give you valuable insight into which ad platforms work best for your company—and which ones need some tweaking! If there’s one thing we know about digital marketing, it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all approach—so test out multiple strategies and see what works best for your company!
Are you curious what can an ads agency can do for you? Are you also curious who is the best ad agency in Indianapolis? Head over here and here and we will explain!