Starting out with Digital Paid Ads

Starting out with Digital Paid Ads

Big Ideas

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June 18 2021
Big Ideas
Author: Natalia Ferrari

Maybe you’re a more traditional business looking to step into the world of digital ads, a new entrepreneur or somewhere in between. We’re going to take you step by step on how to start advertising on digital platforms. We understand that tech and platforms can be intimidating, but once you boil it down, you’re going to be advertising where your most ideal customers are located, so isn’t worth a little effort to learn the ropes? 
We’re going to breakdown the different types of paid advertising out there (at the moment, things are always changing), what steps we take when creating digital ad for our clients and sprinkle in a few pro tips here and there.  

What are the different types of Paid Ads? 

There’s a difference between types of Paid Ads and types of Paid Ads Placements/Platforms.  

Paid Ads Placements/Platforms: 

  On one hand, we’ve got those where we can serve ads to people as they are looking for something online: Google Search Ads (which, when including the Google Search Network, can also serve ads in other platforms like Google Play, Google Shopping and YouTube search results) and Bing Ads, among others. 
   And, on the other hand, there are some platforms that can serve ads to people according to their interests and online behaviour. These platforms can include social media (like Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, TikTok Ads, Spotify Ad Studio), some Google products like YouTube Ads, Google Display Network Ads, Gmail Ads, Google App Install Ads; and other online platforms like Apple Search Ads, Programmatic Ads or direct advertising, among others.  

Types of Paid Ads 

We have search results ads, video ads, image ads,.gif ads, HTML ads, stories, carousels, audio only, text only... 

Steps to starting out in digital paid ads 

If you want to start in paid marketing advertising, here are some best-practice steps that we follow with our clients. 

Know your audience. 

You need to know you audience before taking any steps of placing an online ad. Review your Buyer Persona and really get into their psychographics not just their demographics. <link to How to create a buyer persona> .  By understanding who you are selling to (or rather who is buying your products to) will help you with your copy and creative for your ads but it will also help you identify under which platform you should advertise.  
Questions to answer:

  • Who are am I trying to sell my products to?
  • What is their online behaviour?
  • Do they to a lot of research before buying?
  • Is this a product they will be actively searching for?
  • Or is it a product that needs to be seen first for people to want it?

There are lots of different advertising platforms, so you should pick only those on which you’ll be able to find you target audience. Being selective of the platforms you choose can be critical to the success of your campaign and to the health of your wallet.  


Determine your goals  

As with any marketing tactic, you want to know how it relates to your overarching marketing and business goals. Before starting with paid ads you’ll want to determine what exactly you want to achieve with the paid ads? For example, if you want to get more leads, then you might not want to link the ad to your website, but rather create a landing page where your audience is focused on one thing and one thing only; conversion.   

Defining what success looks like based on your goals will allow you to better map out the customer journey and allow you to direct all your efforts to achieving it. By setting clear goals and working through the steps that the audience must go through for that goal to be achieved, will help you find any holes in the customer journey. Here at Sherpa, we call that leaving “No Dead-Ends".  

With all your goals determined, you can plan out what analytics and metrics you’ll be measuring and set up the appropriate reporting tools as needed.  

Choose a campaign goal and type

After having a clear Buyer Persona and setting your ad goals, you are now in the position of being able to choose the platform and campaign type for your ads to run on.  

I’m assuming if you’re reading this article that you might not know the difference between a campaign type and goal, so here’s a little break down:  

Campaign Goal:  

The campaign goal is what you want to achieve with the ad. So, if through a Display Campaign you’d like to achieve leads, you would select the Lead Generation goal when you are setting up the ad. There are many different goals to select from when setting up your ads, choose wisely.  
Pro Tip: AI is getting smarter every year, so lean into that! What I mean by that is, there are different campaign types for every goal you might have, so choose a campaign type that matches with your goals. For example, if you want to achieve video views, select video views as a goal for your campaign within the platform itself.  


Campaign Type:  

There are different campaign types you can choose from within each paid marketing platform. For example, within Google Ads, you can choose between the Search, Video, Display and App Installs campaign types, among others. 
But even different Display Campaigns (that align with the same campaign type) can have different goals. Some companies might be running Display Campaigns for Brand Awareness (which is a goal) and others for Lead Generation (which is a different goal). 

Pro tip: Some platforms don’t have different campaign types, such as Facebook Ads for example, and will just offer you different campaign goals. 


Select ad type 

Beyond the campaign type and platform, you’ll need to select your Ad Type. In some platforms, you can choose between creating an ad from scratch or boosting an existing post. You’ll want to select the option that’s best suited for achieving your goals. Remember that ads created from scratch can't appear in your social media’s timeline whereas boosted posts can! 
Pro Tip: Some social media platforms can give you the option to boost your post within the fan page itself. That’s not bad, but that kind of options are normally limited in targeting options. Once you are comfortable with that, we suggest trying the specific advertising platforms each company has (like the Ads Manager in Facebook Business Manager for example). 


Start low and slow  

You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket or invest a lot of money to start digital advertising. 
 You can begin with a small budget to dip your toe in the advertising waters and grow from there. Always keeping in mind that you want to fail fast and cheap, meaning that you want to learn quickly from any mistakes and insure that they cost you as little as possible. If you’re new to online advertising, you wouldn’t want to risk thousands of marketing dollars right out of the gate. Test the waters, measure and pivot.  
If you are not sure where to advertise, you can run small campaigns on one to three different platforms. After a short amount of time you’ll be able to compare your results and pivot your platform strategy as needed and begin to advertise on more platforms. 

Measure everything

As we mentioned in the prior steps, measuring your campaign results throughout the run of the campaign is critical to it’s success.  
Taking the time to measure and review the data can affect your bottom line, so as you're creating your campaign, make sure to schedule time to look at the analytics.  

Timing in measuring is the answer to success. It is important that you keep an eye on the results so you can pivot your strategy (or celebrate your success) as soon as possible. However, make sure you are giving each platform the time they need to actually learn and start achieving your goals in the best way possible. It could take from 7 to 15 days, so have patience, but also at the same time, don’t let too much time pass before reviewing. 
Pro Tip: You can also try A/B Testing tools. If you are not sure what campaign type or ad copy could be better, this could be a great way to see what ads your audiences interacts better with 

Checking out your competition 

If you’re curious on what your competitors are doing for paid ads or are just looking for inspiration, you can use Facebook and Google to check out what other are doing for their paid ads.  

If you look under Auction Insights on Google Ads you'll see all advertisers bidding for the same keywords you are bidding on,  

Also, under the Ads Library on Facebook, you are able to see the actual ads a specific company is running. 

We believe that it’s a good idea to know what your competitors are doing, but not to become obsessed with it. Have confidence in your strategy and pivot accordingly based on your data and customers. 



Put it in practice

Follow these steps and tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating a kick-ass digital paid ads campaign. If you’re looking for someone else to do the heavy lifting or want to take your strategy to a whole other level, contact Sherpa today, we’ll be happy to hop on a call with you.   

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