When I set up my first digital advertising campaign, I was the co-owner of a newly opened kindergarten with zero customers. Like I said in my what is SEO article, if SEO is like farming, ads are like hunting. I needed hunting! I mean immediate results.
In terms of digital marketing skills, I knew a bit of social media – how to manage a Facebook Page – but that was all. I didn’t know how to write an ad copy, got no graphic design skills. Also, I was unaware of all the fancy targeting that Facebook or Google Adwords offered. True story.
So, I started with a Facebook ads campaign for page likes. Secondly, I sent visitors to my first ever Wix website and asked them to fill up a form. Later, I also got amazing results with the newly introduced Facebook offer ads.
The first time I saw the location-based targeting in Facebook Ads Manager, I was blown away. I quickly learned how to charm potential customers and gained a lot of business. If it weren’t for Facebook Ads, we would have never been alive for long.
Digital Advertising Brief History
Facebook acquired Instagram and Whatsapp, and Google bought Android and kicked-off Google Play Store in the last decade. This allowed ad platforms to serve ads to a crazy amount of people. These tech companies’ number one revenue stream is digital ads, and the acquisitions won’t stop. I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook is buying Pinterest and Tik Tok.
We don’t have control over these things, so let’s see what will happen and when while let’s check out a few important moments in the digital advertising history. Do you know when the first digital ad in history came into play? That was in 1994, AT&T paid wired 30K USD to publish a banner ad for three months.
Even if it sucks, kinda cool, right? The banner ad was placed on top of wired.com and brought a whopping %40 click-through rate. A year after that, CPM (cost per thousand impressions) has been introduced by the search engine Netscape.
Google Adwords, today’s Google Ads, came into play in 2000, which means pay per click started to get famous. Finally, in 2007 Facebook ads have been launched. As of today, think of any social media platform on the planet, Twitter, Quora, Linkedin, and so on, you can do digital advertising.
If this much background information is enough already, let’s dive into the most important digital advertising tips I gathered for you. I’m sure you will find, if not practical, lots of philosophical things about digital advertising. That would help you in terms of vision and big picture orientation.
7 Simple Digital Advertising Tips & Tricks For Beginners
When I got the ball rolling with online ads back in the day, I thought it was all about figuring out all the technical Mambo Jambo.
In other words, I thought if I knew how to use the Facebook Ads Manager or Google Ads Panels like a boss, I was going to become the best digital advertiser in the world and make 250 dollars/hour!
That’s not at all the case, so I will save you the trouble. You can do all the engineering, fancy targeting with FB pixels, and learn how to use the ads manager interface like a pro. Would that be enough in terms of business success and achieving a marketing objective?
Absolutely No. But now comes the good part; even if you don’t know how to use these advertising platforms so well, and if you are just starting out, you can still get amazing results. The secret is not in the sauce but in the main ingredient, which is good old marketing. If you know how to create great value for people, you can’t fail with digital ads.
Because these advertising platforms are not only built for digital advertising experts. How could Instagram alone bring $20 billion ad revenue in a year if only experts were winning here! (Ref: theverge.com)
Now that you got the courage and the background info about digital advertising, I would like to share with you my best digital advertising tips to hopefully save you some valuable time and money.
1- First, Focus on Creating a Unique Offer
This is by far the most important tactic that I can give you, and I can’t stress it enough.
Think of it this way, you have got a great established brand, ad copies are compelling, ad creatives are stunning, you even employ great digital advertising experts, and you click on the publish button on Facebook or Google.
The next day, you measure your ad performance, and right away from the click-through rates, you can see that the campaign performance is so poor.
You know something is wrong, and you gather the team and trying to find what went wrong, change the images, ad text even the campaign objective, and maybe the targeting.
Wait another day and re-check the results; nothing changes. Alarm bell on the background, and the stress headache kicks in. Well, we have all been there!
Sometimes, digital minds, including me, get overwhelmed with the sophistication of our tools and tech stuff, we forget to provide great value for our potential buyers.
Solution: When you are setting up a new campaign, start by getting a pen & paper, gather your team and discuss this: What could bring the most value for our target group and what kind of unique offer we should have in our campaign to fulfill our customers need.
You must have heard about the unique selling point. Each of your digital ad campaigns must have a unique selling point. Even if that’s a brand awareness campaign and you are not selling anything. You have to stimulate enough excitement with each of your ad copy. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.
2- Combine Ads and Other Digital Marketing Efforts
Do you know how complex the buyer behavior got as of today? Start from yourself and sort out how you buy things online.
But why is this important? Because when someone sees an ad and even if there is a compelling offer, this doesn’t always trigger a purchase.
Most of the time, an ad will cause curiosity, and that will result in your potential buyers to make a research. This is great news cause if they are researching, they are moving forward in the buyer’s journey.
This raises another question, though. Can you rely purely on digital advertising? A big no because when your target group starts research, they dig deep, this means if you are running ads, you should have a complete digital marketing plan in action.
Your target group will check you out on Google; that’s why you need good SEO, they will check your social media, that’s why you need social media management. They want to read reviews about you. That’s why you have to respond to your reviews and comments.
Your website should be working fast and efficient all the time. Also, you should be tracking your website traffic with a tool like Google Analytics to understand what’s happening on your site.
Pro-tip; each time you kick off an inorganic campaign, you will realize that there is at least a small pick in your organic traffic as well. Ads trigger an organic search, my friends. So you have to go ahead and on-page optimize your site to get clicks when you show up in the search results.
The list goes on and on! You need a well-thought-out, complete digital marketing strategy, even if you are a small business. Because the complexity of the customer doesn’t depend on the business size.
3- Think of Ads as an Investment Rather Than a Cost
Do you know what Henry Ford said about advertising? “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”
When you or your organization just starting out with digital advertising, you or your peers might be looking at it as just another cost or even a waste of money. It sure looks like a waste or if you don’t know how to measure the return on investment!
The good news is you can see how much you sold through ads right in your Facebook Ads Manager or Google Ads Panel. To make that happen, you should work with a developer, and she should send that piece of info to your ads manager interface.
When you see how much you spend and how much you sell side-by-side, you can convince anyone that digital advertising is a high ROI investment.
For the type of ads that don’t bring direct sales, such as branding, digital ads ROI calculation is a little bit complex, but you can still find a way to measure it.
Especially for a big brand, you know how big your digital brand and your brand’s total worth, right? So, it’s not hard to calculate what you get in return for that digital growth coming from ads channel.
Statistically, businesses make an average of $2 in return for every $1 they spend on Google Ads according to wordstream.com. But keep this in mind; your sales may not kick off immediately, so be patient and reach broad audiences so that you start selling.
Let’s say you got some 100 form submits, that still might not be enough for your sales team to make the first selling. Keeping your costs under control, keep spending until you start to sell. Let’s say until you got a 1000 form submits so that you can turn one of them into sales with a 0.1% hit rate. If you are on the plus, congrats! This means you just your business a great revenue stream.
4- Be good friends with Testing, Measuring and Optimizing
Testing is the core of digital marketing. Honestly, as a digital marketer who worked in at least a dozen different projects, I learned this the hard way, hustling.
That means, at the beginning of a campaign, I hadn’t used to have a let’s test a bunch of things now and see which one works attitude! And that’s exactly the kind of mentality you should have if you are talking digital marketing.
When it comes to digital advertising platforms and tools, they allow you to split test or A/B test almost anything. Your success is their biggest revenue, you know.
After you decide on your unique offer and the business goals you want to achieve, your digital team needs to go to these ad platforms and manipulate them to get the best results.
The most critical test, measure, and optimization process you should focus on though is with your target audiences. Google Ads, FB, and whatever platform you are advertising, you have to split test your audiences. This is definitely where the money is, and you should put some time investigating the best every single time.
Secondly, you can test your ad copies and ad creatives (ad image or video) to increase your click rates. This is as well an underestimated topic, but if you are good at math, you know you have to optimize these aspects. Here is why?
Let’s say that you are testing two stock photos for a website traffic ad campaign on Facebook. A day or two has passed, and you check your CTR (link-click-through) rates. Image 1 brings %0.03, and Image 2 is %0.08.
You have to realize that the second rate is almost triple the first one. So you should right away take out the low performer ad and optimize your ads. How to optimize ads is a big topic, though, so I will write try to write case-specific articles for that purpose later on.
For now, know this: If you are running budgets over a million-dollar per year, optimizing your ads will save you thousands of dollars! Yes, you can easily double or triple the performance of a campaign, and that means a lot of saved money and prestige.
5- Never Underestimate the Power of Branding Ads
Tell me a business or a person who doesn’t need more sales. So when its time for digitalization for a business, expectations would usually be towards selling as well. Thank god, digital advertising platforms are led by some of the smartest people in the world, so they thought of this small detail when they built their ad platforms!
Especially if you are in the e-commerce business, you can send traffic to your product pages in your desired keywords with Google Ads and hit the jackpot. Instagram offers a great e-commerce store experience, and by promoting your Instagram product pages, you can let thousands of people see your product.
What I try to say is that you are going to be sales-oriented with your digital ads even if you like it or not cause it’s a must. But if you want to make a difference, gather your team and think about how to make your brand bigger with the help of ads in social media platforms.
You can prioritize two things here. First, try out brand awareness and reach objectives on Facebook. And second, do something eye-catching for your target group doesn’t matter what campaign objective you choose.
You can build an event, send them to a landing page, but whatever it is, get your target group’s attention. Because when you do that, this may not bring sales right away, but with the mouth buzzing, you can create a brand that’s booming. That even increases your brand keyword search volumes on Google Search.
Do you know what that means? That’s a win by a knockout!
6- Keep Ad Copy & Ad Creative Simple
When you are dealing with your ads’ image or a video or writing an ad copy, I recommend you to keep things as simple as possible. That means, make sure that you deliver your message just right. Don’t overdo it. This is not the place to be fancy or using metaphors.
Today, I went through the Facebook newsfeed to find you an example for the “simple ad” example. I swear to god, 90% of the ads I saw were written so complexly that you need to be in peace and quiet to understand them.
If you are using an image, always test a stock photo and a photo or two from your business. Don’t include text at all if possible, even if Facebook allows you.
When you are using a video, keep it short, and leverage slide videos. Trust me; the agency made artificial videos don’t perform so well. Using a tool like Canva or Kapwing, you can create simple slide videos from your images. For the ads, they usually work like a charm.
Nevertheless, like I said many times throughout this article, there is no one recipe. So, test varieties and see what works for you. For the same audience, start using the creatives and style of text that works. Have a particular tone.
If you are including links to your website or adding FB Messenger or WhatsApp short links, make sure to write a call to action before the links. What I mean is that never put a naked link just because it looks better.
Believe it or not, an average social media user may not click on a link if you don’t tell them to do so. So always encourage a specific action you want your audience to take.
7- Digital Ads Are Awesome But Not Magical
In conclusion, never forget that there is no magic in digital ads. You have to put in the work in all digital channels in harmony. If you follow a test, measure, optimize mantra in digital advertising, my tips & tricks you are off to a good start already.
When you are heavily advertising, have a social media management plan in place. Take care of your social media inbox and let your operational people know that your target audience might as well start calling you.
Also, let your web developers know so they don’t plan any maintenance work on your website during that time. I would also recommend you to keep an eye on the essential updates on the ad platforms because you might need to revise your advertising strategy.
You can do that by following some digital advertising industry leaders and influencers on Twitter or other social media channels. Hopefully, soon, I will also deliver in-depth articles.
Lastly, try to keep things simple with your ad texts and creatives. By doing that, you will make sure that your message is delivered, and most of your target group see what you meant.
That’s all for now and happy advertising!