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It’s no secret that competition in online advertising has become super stiff. In a bid to beat the competition, it’s easy to cross the line and employ shady tactics; tactics that may be unethical.
However, unethical PPC practices will do more harm than good for your business. They can also get you in trouble with the law.
That’s why as a digital marketer, you must always prioritize business ethics in all you do, including in your PPC ads.
Business ethics play a huge role in the success of your business. That’s why today, I want to focus on the topic from a PPC ads perspective.
Business ethics refers to the moral principles that serve as guidelines for the way you conduct business. This includes everything from how you attract customers (via advertising) to the way you transact with them and everything in-between.
Business ethics are based on values like honesty, fairness, transparency, and social responsibility. An ethical marketer builds their PPC campaigns based on both moral and business perspectives.
In short, your PPC campaigns must help your prospects, not trick them into making a purchase, and they should also benefit your business. For some, walking this fine line is the most challenging aspect of running effective PPC ads.
Now, what’s the importance of business ethics in PPC ads?
One of the most important reasons to practice business ethics in your PPC ads is to help you build strong relationships with your customers. People trust ethical brands as they’re authentic and transparent. They know they’ll get exactly what the brand promises in its ads.
As a marketer, put people before clicks (and profits). It will help you build strong relationships with your customers, leading you to enjoy higher retention rates.
Your reputation is one of your most important assets as a business. Two good reasons you must prioritize having a good reputation include:
Every business needs a good reputation to thrive, especially in a competitive environment. And good reputation management starts with employing good business ethics in all your activities, PPC ads included.
Ignoring business ethics in your PPC ads can only lead to wasted ad spend and a ruined business. With that out of the way, let’s quickly dive into the top five ethics you should follow as you create and run your PPC ads.
To ensure your PPC ads follow business ethics principles, here are five best practices to keep in mind:
One of the most unethical practices you must avoid as you steer your business towards ethical practices is giving your customers misleading information. Sadly, this is a common practice in the advertising industry, and some brands still utilize misinformation in a desperate bid to drive clicks. The internet abounds with examples of misleading ads; yours shouldn’t be one of them.
One of the most common examples of misinformation in PPC is advertising misleading products. This could be anything that includes:
There are many more ways unethical advertisers use misleading information to drive clicks. However, no matter how desperate you are to get people to click on your ads, don’t mislead your customers.
While you may get the clicks you want, the long-term effects of such unethical business practices are not worth it. For one, you’ll lose your customers’ trust. Even if they click on your ads, they’ll be so disappointed they won’t purchase what you’re selling.
No matter what products or services you’re advertising, be honest about the features and benefits. There are always people looking for what you have to offer.
Exaggerating the benefits of your product or service is tantamount to making a false claim. Promising your prospects a level of quality you can’t deliver will only ruin your reputation.
Business ethics, especially in PPC, demands that the message in your ads and the link destination must match.
Anything else is dishonesty.
Unfortunately, many unscrupulous businesses send people who click on a link in their PPC ads to a different destination. They advertise one thing and send visitors to a different landing page. Pulling a bait and switch like this goes against good business ethics. More than that, it leads to you losing your integrity as a business.
Besides the loss of integrity, dishonest links can lead to you being penalized for unethical practices. When your link takes customers to a page unrelated to what you’re advertising, your ad is considered a fake ad, and Google will take it down.
Dishonest links are prevalent among marketers who get paid using the cost-per-impression (CPM/CPI) model. They try to rack up impressions on their ads by creating their ads around popular keywords that attract a lot of traffic. When users click on the link, they’re directed to a different product or business.
As an ethical marketer, such tactics should never even be mentioned in your strategy and planning sessions. No matter how competitive your space may be, stick to ethical business practices.
While some business ethics are clear-cut, others are not. Ethical pricing is one of those that isn’t so obvious.
If you’re wondering, ethical pricing means charging an amount that’s fair for your products.
It’s pricing your products in a way that allows you to make a profit without defrauding your customers. Doing so is not always easy as there are many factors that you have to consider to price your products fairly. The most significant are:
Besides fair pricing, you must also ensure to practice ethics in your PPC ad campaigns as a marketer. Make sure you’re fully transparent about all the costs your customers will incur when purchasing your product or services. There’s nothing as frustrating as thinking you’ve found the best deal on a product, only to click on the ad and discover the advertised price wasn’t genuine.
From shipping to discounts and everything in between, your ads must be clear about the final price your customers will pay for your product. Doing so is essential to building trust with your customers. It’s also critical to reducing cart abandonment as undisclosed shipping costs are one of the leading causes of cart abandonment.
The bottom line is, sell your products at a fair price and make sure you’re transparent about pricing in your PPC ads and landing pages.
As a marketer, you probably look for inspiration from ads that have performed well, but that’s as far as competitor research should go.
Never plagiarize other brands’ ad copy.
For your brand to do well online, you must follow Google’s search evaluator guidelines, the most significant being the EAT guidelines. Google’s EAT guidelines have a huge bearing on how you ethically create your PPC ad copy. Here’s what the acronym stands for and what it means to your ad copy creation:
Your ad copy must reflect your expertise in your niche or industry. Show your customers why you’re the best. However, make sure not to stretch the truth as that would be dishonest and unethical.
People want to buy from brands that have built a reputation for themselves. A good reputation is born out of practicing good business ethics. Let your authority shine through every piece of content in your sales funnel—especially your ad and landing page copy.
Trust is one of the most significant factors that drive clicks to your ads. To build trust with your audience, you must be authentic. Avoid plagiarizing other brands’ ads or any other assets that have had a positive impact on their ads.
With so many brands vying for the same customers, authenticity and originality are essential to helping you stand out from the crowd. Following Google’s search evaluator guidelines will help you ensure your content does just that.
Your ad copy will have your unique personality and highlight your particular area of authority, thereby allowing you to attract your ideal buyer persona. More than that, it will help you rank well and drive clicks to your offer.
One of PPC’s strengths has become a loophole that devious marketers now exploit. Yes, I’m talking about the cost-per-click (CPC) model and how some marketers commit click fraud.
What is click fraud?
Click fraud is when an individual exploits PPC ads by repeatedly clicking on them to generate fraudulent charges. As a result, the advertiser’s ad spend shoots through the roof while their conversion rates tank. Not to mention that crucial data said advertiser uses to create better iterations of their campaign gets skewed.
The main reason unscrupulous marketers leverage click fraud as part of their business strategy is to exhaust their competitor’s ad budget. Once their budget is spent, their ads will decrease, giving the unethical marketer a better shot at driving traffic to their ads.
Marketers also sometimes use click fraud on their own ads to “game” paid search advertising. By generating more clicks on their ads, they boost their quality score on Google Ads.
Your quality score depends on many factors, with the main two being ad relevance and the click-through rate (CTR) the ad generates. Both are factors that can be manipulated through click fraud.
Why would a publisher commit click fraud on their ads?
Simple. A good quality score is critical to marketers as it results in:
While the advantages of having a good quality score are massive, you shouldn’t stoop to click fraud to get them. Improve your score as best you can, but make sure it’s within the confines of good business ethics.
Using hype in your ad headlines is unethical. It’s the same as clickbait and should never be used to move people to click on your ads.
Instead, use benefit-driven headlines as they’re more truthful. They also address your target audience’s pain points, resulting in better conversions.
The type of foundation you lay for your business determines its outcome. Once you start using unethical business practices, you’ll use them every time you need a “quick fix.” So, yes. It’s wrong to manipulate clicks at any stage of your business, even for the sake of just gaining traction.
Despite the economic atmosphere being cutthroat, you must ensure you conduct your business ethically.
That’s especially true for your advertising tactics.
People don’t like being scammed, and unethical PPC ads fall on the dark side of false, misleading, and spammy advertising. While you may initially get some traction using deceptive advertising, you won’t succeed in the long run.
To build a sustainable business, you can only do so based on implementing good business ethics. Be ethical on social media, in your content, your PPC ads, and everything else you do to boost your business. This way, you’ll be able to build a good reputation and grow your loyal repeat customers.
What other business ethics examples and best practices do you think PPC advertisers should follow?
Being a marketer is an interesting job.
On the one hand, you’re expected to keep up with trends. When a new social media platform starts to take off, you’d better be there promoting your brand.
Still, you can’t just blindly follow those trends. Popular platforms become saturated with dozens of competitors, and standing out becomes nearly impossible.
Don’t get me wrong; social media ads can work wonders. I’ve just noticed there are plenty of underutilized marketing platforms right now. The most noticeable of which is YouTube ads.
YouTube ads are one of the most overlooked ad formats in digital marketing, and it’s easy to figure out why.
The massive focus on social media ads combined with the challenge of creating compelling high-quality video content makes YouTube ads a tough sell to small business owners.
Can YouTube ads be tough to grasp? Sure, at first. Luckily, once you get over that initial hurdle, YouTube ads offer some pretty unique marketing tools you can’t find anywhere else.
That’s why today, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of YouTube ads, from ad types to strategy. We’ll even walk you through creating your first one!
If you’re unfamiliar with YouTube, their primary advertising format is known as the TrueView ad. Before we can understand the value of skippable in-stream ads, we need to take a closer look at YouTube’s TrueView ad approach.
TrueView ads were created to solve a massive problem. Before TrueView ads, users lacked any meaningful way to control their advertising experience. Without a way to meaningfully interact with the content, ads ran the risk of being both frustrating and irrelevant.
YouTube was hoping to present itself as a valuable advertising platform, but its original approach to advertising severely limited the effectiveness and efficiency of brand marketing efforts. No brand wants to waste precious time and money selling to viewers who simply aren’t interested.
Here’s the simple explanation: Your brand only pays for TrueView Ads when viewers watch for at least 30 seconds, watch your entire video, or interact with your ad via call-to-action (CTA).
The first variation of the TrueView ad is the skippable in-stream ad. At a minimum of 12 seconds and a maximum of six minutes, in-stream ads play before a viewer’s video on YouTube.
These ads feature a countdown timer on screen, as well as a link to the brand website. You can also tag on a companion banner ad, but it’s worth pointing out these companion banner ads won’t be on all YouTube pages where your in-stream ads are served.
Of course, the most important part of this variant is the option to skip the video ad after five seconds. If they choose to skip and don’t interact with your ad, you don’t have to pay a dime. Assuming you uploaded the video to your YouTube channel, once the viewer watches for 30 seconds, a view is attributed to your view count.
TrueView Discovery ads are promoted throughout YouTube, appearing as an image thumbnail with up to three lines of text. These ads function as an entirely optional way for viewers to consume your brand content.
Discovery ads are visible on the YouTube homepage, at the top of a viewer’s YouTube search results, and on the suggested videos list on their video’s watch page. The best part? Your brand doesn’t spend a dime on these ads unless viewers interact with them.
That’s what makes this advertising approach so useful to brands and marketers. TrueView ads work to protect both the viewer’s time and your brand’s money.
If the TrueView approach just doesn’t interest your brand, YouTube has plenty of other options. Non-skippable ads function a bit differently on this platform. They might look just like skippable ads on the surface, but you’ll be limited to a 15-second ad window for non-skippable ads.
Beyond that, you’ll be dealing with a cost per thousand (CPM) payment structure, forcing you to pay for every thousand views.
The only scenario where you’d want to use something like this is when you’re dealing with a proven target audience or when your brand is looking to maximize its reach. Otherwise, there’s a strong chance you could waste time and money selling to the wrong prospects.
As you research YouTube ads, you’ll likely come across bumper ads and wonder what purpose they serve. What makes them different from the traditional non-skippable in-stream ad?
The most significant difference is the duration of your ad window. Instead of 20 seconds, bumper ads are expected to last less than six seconds.
Why would this distinction matter? Well, a viewer’s time and attention are valuable commodities. YouTube needs to protect their user experience, primarily by providing users with relevant information. YouTube limits these bumper ads to avoid frustrating viewers with non-skippable ads.
The key to making bumper ads work is creating something memorable. The format might not support long-form stories, but there are plenty of ways to portray your brand in five seconds.
Think of YouTube Masthead as YouTube’s premium advertising experience. Imagine your ad being the first thing viewers see whenever they use the platform. It’s a marketer’s dream come true, and with good reason.
Of course, there’s a reason you’ve never seen a small business on that masthead. That premium experience comes with a premium price tag. At about $2 million per day, masthead ads are extremely expensive and far beyond the average brand’s marketing budget.
Think of these like Super Bowl ads: impressive reach and traffic, but not reasonable for most marketers. YouTube’s other advertising formats are more cost-effective, easier to experiment with, and generally more valuable to your brand’s marketing journey.
With all the different variants and the added work of creating a compelling video ad, some marketers might wonder why they should use YouTube ads over social media ads. After all, that’s a ton of extra work when you could just make some simple visuals on Facebook ads.
While it’s certainly easier to make ads on social media, YouTube is a powerful tool for brands looking to promote high-quality video content to a massive audience. In fact, in a side-by-side comparison, an Agorapulse study found YouTube ads produced more views, more clicks, and higher conversions than Facebook Ads!
You’re ready to get started with your YouTube video ads. You’ve done all your audience and keyword research, and you know what the messaging should look like. Now you just need to pick an ad format.
When you’re first getting started, settling on a format to use can quickly become confusing. Should you use TrueView ads because you’re only charged per interaction? Are impressions more important or is traffic your only priority?
If you’re completely new to the world of YouTube ads, this breakdown of video ad formats by marketing objective exists to help you take that first step forward. Not to worry, your brand will start to identify what works well over time via testing and data collection.
One of the most compelling reasons to experiment with discovery ads is their potential as a brand consideration tool.
Instead of focusing on squeezing in a quick ad before someone else’s video, you can integrate your ad content into the YouTube search experience. This is where your keyword research can really shine. Create content that revolves around those low competition keywords with high volume.
When viewers click on your ad, they’ll be taken to your YouTube channel to watch that video. The goal here is less about CTAs and conversion and more about providing a closer look at your brand. If you have great instructional videos or interesting presentations, a discovery ad can work wonders for you.
For the sake of clarity, let’s define a few terms before we move on. Brand awareness is about maximizing visibility for your brand. Ideally, it lays the foundation for effective lead generation.
The main objective of lead generation is to both identify likely prospects quickly and offer properly defined metrics. Both lead generation and brand awareness are powerful tools when used correctly, but it’s vital you understand when to best use them.
Think of brand awareness as the top of the marketing funnel, leading into quality lead generation.
If your primary marketing goal is casting a wide net, non-skippable ads can effectively raise awareness for your brand. These ads can appear pre-roll, mid-roll, or even post-roll. If you’re worried about placement, YouTube serves these ads whenever they believe viewers are most likely to watch.
Maximizing brand awareness is great, but if you want to turn your traffic into interested prospects, you’ll need ad content that truly converts.
TrueView in-stream ads are perfect for this because they’re designed to be skippable. They introduce a level of reliability to the marketing experience. This potential prospect found the first five seconds of your ad compelling and was willing to stick around.
My favorite part? If a viewer doesn’t want to consume your content, they can just leave, at no cost to you. If the viewer does want to interact, they’ve now provided you with some very valuable information. They’re genuinely interested in your brand!
Let’s say you’ve already established an audience via digital media. You want to get a message out to them, maybe to announce your latest shoe release or phone launch. You need to maximize your budget, but you don’t really need to educate your target audience on the brand.
This is one of the scenarios where bumper ads perform well. The bumper ad doesn’t allow for much in terms of storytelling or education. What it can do is allow just enough time to hype up a new product or service.
We’ve already established that Masthead ads aren’t for the average small business. While they may not be a cost-effective way to market your brand, they do highlight a lesson about ad budgets in marketing: specifically, the concept of ROI.
On the surface, spending millions of dollars on a single ad can seem ridiculous. What if the messaging doesn’t land perfectly? What if you were wrong about the target audience’s pain points? It seems like such a massive risk. Still, massive brands are doing this regularly. Why?
Well, consider how these massive brands approach marketing. With millions on the line, their latest marketing campaign is composed of detailed, layered strategy with one element at its center: data, and lots of it.
This data, likely collected over several years, confirms they’ll receive a positive ROI from this investment. Where small brands see risk, massive brands see growth opportunities.
Of course, it’s not like only massive brands are entitled to that level of confidence. The commitment to making data-driven decisions is what elevates any marketing strategy.
Masthead ads aren’t impressive because they’re expensive. They’re impressive because they show that with enough data, even the biggest risks become manageable.
Let’s say you’ve never created a video ad before. All this video ad strategy sounds great, but it won’t make you a master visual content creator overnight. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend months learning how to edit to make compelling videos. When in doubt, a little external guidance goes a long way.
Google is hard at work getting YouTube Video Builder, their accessible video creation software, ready for the public. In the meantime, tools like Promo and Animoto walk you through the process of building strong video ads in minutes.
YouTube ads track plenty of metrics for you automatically, everything from watch time to engaged-views data is available, if you’re interested.
Unfortunately, that much information can be overwhelming when you’re new to the platform. When you’re first getting started, focus on view rate for skippable ads. This is essentially your true engagement rate, determining how well you can turn viewers into interested prospects.
If your view rate is low, there are a few possibilities. Maybe your headline doesn’t draw people in. Maybe your video doesn’t capture the viewer’s attention quickly enough. Remember those first five seconds need to be compelling.
For non-skippable ads, the focus is still on engagement. The only difference is that you’ll use click-through rate (CTR) to determine whether your ad connects your target audience.
If your CTR is unusually low, there are two possibilities. Either the video is being delivered to the wrong audience or the video itself is not connecting with your target audience. I advise testing for both by experimenting with different target audiences and creating multiple videos.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to create your first YouTube ad.
Log into your brand’s YouTube account and click on the camcorder icon on the top-right of YouTube. Then, click “Upload Video.”
From there, you’ll be taken to the upload window where you can now upload your video. Make sure you fill in title, description, and tag information.
Sign in to your Google Ads Account and select “New Campaign.”
You’ll see an option to choose a campaign goal, but just click on “create a campaign without a goal’s guidance” for now. You can now select a campaign type, so select “Video” or “Display,” based on your goals.
For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the “Video” option. At this point, you’ll be asked to select a campaign subtype. Select the most appropriate option and click “Continue.”
Now that you’ve created your campaign, it’s time to configure it properly. Start by giving your campaign a name for easy data collection.
Then, confirm your bid strategy, ad budget, and campaign duration. From there, also confirm your networks, locations, and languages.
Content exclusions are in this section as well. This determines where your ads are shown. If your brand is typically family-friendly, you’ll likely want to choose limited inventory. If your brand is more mature, expanded inventory could be a good fit. You can also exclude certain types of content and labels here.
When targeting your audience, start by defining their demographic information including age, gender, parental status, and household income. Google also lets you experiment with some more specific audiences like “bachelor’s degree” or “health care industry.”
Use keywords, topics, and placements to further narrow down your targeting.
Set your maximum bid. In the “Create your video ad” section, find your YouTube video and choose the appropriate video ad format (as listed in the above sections.)
Once your video ad format is selected, fill in the “Final URL” and “Display URL” sections. You can also include your call-to-action and your headline here.
You can auto-generate a companion banner, or upload your own below.
Once you’re ready, click “Create Campaign” and you’re all set!
Listen, I get it. Wrapping your head around YouTube ad creation can be a bit of a challenge at first.
The idea behind this guide is to arm you with a strong foundational understanding of how YouTube ads function, and how you can make your own.
Feel free to bookmark this guide if you ever need a refresher course, especially when it comes to campaign and video creation.
Fortunately, YouTube ads function just like any other digital marketing platform. Focus on your key metrics, test regularly, and above all else, respect the data. The path to consistent growth might not be glamorous, but it certainly gets results.
What digital marketing platform do you think is underutilized right now?
How do you maximize your exposure?
If you ask ten marketers this question, you’ll likely get lots of similar answers: Google Ads, social media marketing, etc. What you’re asking is which platforms offer massive traffic and have strong conversion rates.
Now, imagine you’re a marketer for a local business. How do you maximize your exposure now? Those digital campaigns with tons of traffic aren’t necessarily the answer for a brick-and-mortar store trying to get their community through the door.
There are plenty of businesses that desperately need to expand their reach but haven’t had a breakthrough with digital. That’s why today, we’re going to take a look at the potential of audio ads. iHeartRadio AdBuilder offers some ease and functionality to the world of radio ads, and it just might be a solution for local business owners.
One of the most significant issues small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have had with audio advertising is it’s not particularly intuitive. The idea behind iHeartRadio’s AdBuilder was to create a programmatic solution automating this process.
AdBuilder is a self-service platform designed to help marketers create and promote audio ads. Beyond buying ad space, AdBuilder supports SMBs by using algorithms to target specific audiences.
SMBs can decide how much they’re comfortable spending, which cities they’d like their ads to play in, and how to focus on well-defined target audiences. AdBuilder radio spots are professionally written and produced with on-staff voice talent.
There’s no fixed cost with iHeartRadio Ads. What you pay is entirely up to you based on a series of options for your weekly budget. Depending on the market you choose, you see a minimum budget and a series of recommendations. You can also enter a custom amount of up to $30,000.
These costs purchase impressions, which are tracked on your account. Your weekly cost won’t exceed your max weekly budget and, even after your campaign is booked, you can modify dates and the budget for your campaigns.
Some marketers are looking for massive $30,000 nationwide campaigns; some want to spend $10,000. Some marketers have audio scripts ready; others have never written an audio script in their lives. The level of customization offered by iHeartRadio AdBuilder is unique and makes it worth checking out.
Of course, maximizing exposure is more than just a local business problem. Digital brands that want a specific type of customer or client can benefit from a national presence. Increased exposure means increased sales and can lead to higher quality engagement.
Whether you’re marketing for a local business or a national company, iHeartRadio AdBuilder may have something for you.
Not only is iHeartRadio flexible, but it does its best to keep things simple. Setting up your campaign with them can be done in three steps.
Create an account and answer a few questions about your business and advertising goals. From there, you’ll determine your advertising goals, select target audiences, and pick a weekly budget. Their team of audio professionals produces a customized ad based on your goals and business.
After they’ve produced your custom ad, you can listen to and approve the message. If needed, it can be revised (sometimes at no cost to you) and then be scheduled to play across iHeartRadio stations nationwide or locally.
Once your ad is approved, it goes live and starts airing. The iHeartRadio AdBuilder optimizes your ad budget to reach target audiences at particular times of day, using user data to target listeners via specific stations. You also have access to data reports once your campaign has ended.
Savvy marketers take the time to learn about the perks and limitations of audio-only advertising.
One of the most compelling pros of audio advertising is its simplicity. You don’t need an expensive camera or someone to craft a heavily researched, complex article. Your iHeartRadio ad is meant to be consumed in 30 seconds, so minimalism is an absolute must here.
That said, the simplicity of these ads can feel limiting to marketers used to creating long-form content. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around what compelling audio content sounds like, there are a few stages to focus on: Capture, Excite, and Guide.
Breaking down the marketing process into these three stages can help clarify the audio marketing experience.
The Capture stage is about finding the memorable aspects of your brand and using them to disrupt your audience’s patterns. It’s not just about being controversial or unusual. Truly captivating moments properly and cleverly address your target audience’s pain points.
This moment is a reinterpretation of your elevator pitch, but there’s much more to it in the audio space.
The use of a particular sound effect, a unique jingle, and a specific style of voice actor can contribute to this aspect of advertiser storytelling. There’s a time for mentioning your brand and your unique selling point, but it’s not now. The script here should be more focused on creating mental images and bringing up emotions.
Now that you have your audience’s attention, it’s time to convince them your brand is worth considering. Be selective about the selling points you include.
Could you streamline five of your best- selling points and shove them into the 30-second ad? Probably. Should you? Not necessarily.
When you captured your audience, you tapped into their emotions and got them excited about your brand. If you start rattling off stats, you’re probably going to lose the excitement. Use one of your unique selling points to showcase what makes you different to keep the enthusiasm up.
When you guide your audience, you try to get them to follow through on the action you want them to take. Transitioning from excitement to sales is always tricky, but the right kind of call-to-action (CTA) can make this process much more manageable.
By streamlining the messaging and leading potential customers to more in-depth, comprehensive marketing (a landing page, for example), you can focus on making the iHeartRadio ad compelling instead of just informative.
It may not be exciting, but ask any successful marketer, and they’ll tell you well-executed research is essential when developing a marketing strategy.
Over the years, the phrase “target market” has been used interchangeably with “target audience.”
A target market is broad (generation, income level, etc.) and tailored to particular groups due to interest, budget, access.
On the other hand, target audiences are specific groups within those target markets. If your target market is Millennials, your target audience may be post-college, female Millennials making at least $50,000 a year.
Good ad campaigns are for target markets. Great ad campaigns are for target audiences.
The specificity makes the research valuable, and knowing who your target audience is can help you make more relevant, compelling ads. With audio, you must understand which stations they listen to and what time of day they’re likely to listen. iHeart AdBuilder does this for you automatically.
As your marketing campaign grows and evolves, you need to analyze its effectiveness properly.
One of the most valuable tools marketers can use is setting clear, strict deadlines and tangible goals for marketing initiatives.
Don’t just aim for an increased conversion rate; aim for specific numbers in a few metrics. Properly labeling your campaign goals like this sets your brand up for potential success with every new initiative.
If a new campaign performs well, you can identify which KPIs improved. If the new campaign doesn’t meet the projected goals, you can see which metrics underperformed and react accordingly.
Marketers don’t live in a vacuum. More often than not, everyone brings their unique experience and perspective to the table. That human element can make advertising come to life, but it can also create a sort of cognitive bias we can’t always identify internally.
That’s why I recommend brands and marketers test two radically different marketing campaign approaches, especially if this is their first major campaign.
Maybe there’s a comedic iHeartRadio ad you’d like to make, but you’re worried it won’t resonate with your target audience. Perhaps you’re worried your simple iHeartRadio ad won’t stand out in a sea of dynamic competitor ads. This is the time to test out all those ideas.
As long as you’re setting clear, tangible goals and tracking the data, every experiment is a learning opportunity. Test every assumption your campaigns make. Collect more and more data to develop a clearer sense of what your audience responds to.
Once you’ve identified winning strategies, start to optimize.
Connecting with a target audience is hard enough, but turning connection into conversion is one of the biggest challenges marketers struggle with, iHeartRadio ad or otherwise.
When crafting a compelling CTA, your focus should be on words provoking emotion or enthusiasm. Simple things like adding an exclamation point can make a massive difference.
Pair your CTA with a compelling reason for taking the next step forward. Now, this demands a bit of awareness on your behalf. For example, are you moving this potential customer into the sales funnel or simply further down the marketing pipeline?
Find statements matching the commitment necessary to convert once potential customers reach the next stage. You’ll know you’re doing this right when you have a low bounce rate.
As for the actual language you’ll want to use, here are some options you can work into your ad:
The most frustrating part of using a new marketing platform is the learning curve.
iHeart AdBuilder was seemingly designed with this problem in mind, taking the confusion and guesswork out of radio ads and replacing it with something both accessible and effective.
If your business needs a local boost, or you’re looking for a new way to reach your target audience, AdBuilder just might be the tool you need.
Are you considering radio ads? What kind of audiences are you hoping to target?
With more than a billion unique monthly visitors, Bing is a hugely popular search engine. Sure, it’s nowhere near as popular as the world’s biggest search engine, Google, but it’s an impressive and powerful platform in its own right.
In fact, if you’re running a paid ads campaign, it could be a mistake to ignore Bing and all the possibilities it can offer you.
With that in mind, let me show you why it might be worth launching a Bing PPC ad campaign.
Depending on what you’re selling and who you’re targeting, Bing could be the missing piece of the puzzle for your marketing strategy. Here’s why.
First, Bing has a 6.7 percent market share, making it the world’s second-largest search engine. That might not sound like much, but there’s huge growth potential here.
Next, over 1 billion people use Windows 10. Since Microsoft owns Bing, they direct a lot of traffic to their own search engine through Cortana and the search bar at the bottom of the computer screen. That’s some easy, reliable traffic right there!
Finally, according to a Wordstream study, the average click-through rate (CTR) for Bing Ads is 1.25 percent, while it’s only 0.86 percent for Google Ads.
Seems like it’s worth paying attention, right?
Ready to get started? Great. It’s simple to set up your first campaign, so let me walk you through the steps.
To start, you need a Microsoft Advertising account since Bing Ads is now a part of Microsoft advertising. It’s free to sign up, and you can use an existing email address to do so.
First, head over to Microsoft Advertising, and click “Sign Up Now” to register.
On the next page, click “Create One” to set up a new Microsoft Advertising account.
You can either use an existing email address or create a new one to run your account.
Next, simply follow the onscreen instructions. You’ll need to input some basic details like your name and your business location. Agree to the Terms of Service and create your account.
Are you creating a Bing Ad from scratch? Move on to step 3. If you’ve already got a Google Ads campaign you want to run on Bing, this step is for you.
First, go to your top menu, select “Import,” then select “Import from Google Ads.” Then, just sign in to Google. Go to “Choose Accounts,” select the account you want to import an ad from, and hit “Next.”
If you’re happy to import your Google Ad with no changes, name the imported campaign and click “Start Import” or hit “Customize Report” to tweak things like your bids and bid strategies.
Want to import multiple Google Ads simultaneously? You can import up to 10 at one time, and the steps are pretty much the same.
Once you’ve imported your desired campaigns, double-check all the details to ensure they’ve moved over correctly, paying particular attention to your targeting settings, bids, and budgets.
Make any adjustments as necessary, and you’re good to go.
Before you create your campaign, you need to choose your target keywords. Unless you choose the “right” keywords for your campaign, your ad won’t reach the right people.
How do you find the perfect keywords? Well, you need to run some keyword research. Microsoft advertising has a built-in keyword planner to help you do just that.
First, sign in to your account. Select “Tools” from the top menu and scroll down to “Keyword Planner.” You can then enter details like your business name, location, and service, and the keyword planner will show you suggested keywords to bid on.
To improve the search results, input any keywords you know you want to use and note down any negative keywords you want to exclude from the results.
You can also check for search volumes, trends, and cost estimates to help focus your keyword research.
How do you know which keywords to go with? Stick with keywords connected to “commercial intent.” These are the keywords people generally use when they’re ready to buy a product or sign up with a service, so it makes sense to target them in your Bing Ads campaign.
Say you sell wine. A phrase you might use is “buy wine” because, unsurprisingly, most people using this search term want to actually buy wine. When you search for this keyword and related suggestions, this list appears:
While all the columns matter, pay close attention to the CTR and cost-per-click (CPC) columns. The higher the CTR, the more people click through the ad. Balance this against how much the average click actually costs you to determine which keywords might be best for your campaign and your ad budget.
There’s no need to limit yourself to Microsoft’s keyword planning tool. You can also check out Ubersuggest for other keyword ideas and use your findings to inform your ad.
Once you’ve set up your account and completed your keyword research, it’s time to create your first Bing Ad. If you didn’t import any campaigns in step two, or if you’re creating a new Bing Ads campaign, this step is for you.
First, go to your “Campaigns” page and then click the “Create Campaign” button in the middle of your screen.
Then, set your goal. Your goal could be, for example, conversions to your website, a dynamic search ad, or selling products from your catalog. The setup wizard walks you through the different options available.
Next, simply follow the onscreen instructions to complete your Bing Ads campaign. Once you hit “Save,” your ad will go live.
Before you finish setting up your Bing Ad, you can go ahead and set customized parameters to maximize your chances of reaching the right audience. For example, you could choose which times you want to show your ad or which age groups you want to see your ad.
Setting up custom parameters ensures you’re getting the most from your Bing Ads.
It’s all well and good setting up a Bing Ads campaign, but you also need to ensure it’s bringing you the desired results! To assess the effectiveness of your campaign, you need to track two metrics: conversion rate and CPC.
Checking your conversion rate tells you how many people are taking the desired action through your ads, and assessing your CPC shows if you’re overspending on your ad budget.
How do you track these metrics? Well, let’s start with conversion rates. You can easily track conversions by simply clicking on the “Campaigns” tab and checking out the number in the “Conv.” column.
From here, you can tell how many conversions you’re getting per campaign. You’ll notice you can track everything from impressions to your CTR from this tab, so you can quickly track whichever metrics you deem the most important, all from one page.
Similarly, then, you can view your CPC from the “Campaigns” tab. Check how much you’re spending per single click and confirm it’s in line with your expectations and marketing budget.
If you’re spending too much, consider bidding on different keywords or amending your campaign somehow.
A successful Bing Ads campaign is about more than just keyword research and metrics tracking. To get the most from your campaign and maximize your ROI, follow these tips.
Whether these ads work for you really depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. For example, slightly older and wealthier audiences may prefer Bing to Google, so if you’re selling, say, wine boxes aimed at middle-class Americans aged 45+, Bing could be perfect for you.
The best way to know if Bing’s worth your time? Build a customer profile. Identify who you’re targeting and what they respond to best.
Do you already use a tool like Google Analytics? Check your demographics data. If you trend towards a younger audience, you might not get the results you’re looking for from Bing Ads.
If you’re already running high-performing Google Ads campaigns, it makes sense to import them into Bing Ads. While you can, of course, simply set up entirely new campaigns, you’ll save time and effort by just importing your successful campaigns.
Not sure which Google Ads campaigns to import? Think about which ones are most likely to appeal to the demographic you’re targeting on Bing Ads and work from there. You can always remove these campaigns and import others later.
One final point here: Just remember to double-check that everything moved over seamlessly from Google Ads to Bing before you go live.
To get the most from your Bing Ads, you must ensure they’re reaching the right audience. How do you measure this? By pulling multiple analytics reports.
For example, you could track segments including:
Say you discover you get the most conversions from mobile devices on weekends before 5 p.m. Focus on ensuring your ads appear most frequently at this time to maximize your conversions. You’ll get the most ROI from your budget this way!
You’ll find all the tracking tools you need on the “Campaigns” page.
To track your conversions accurately, you need to set up the “Universal Event Tracking” (UET) tag. Why? This tag allows you to see exactly what users do after they click on your ad and visit your site.
In other words, if you want to know whether someone bounces from your landing page immediately or actually commits to a purchase, you need a UET tag.
It’s easy to set up. First, go to your “Campaigns” page, click “Conversion Tracking,” then “UET tags.” Give it a name to help you identify it. In the description box, enter your URL or website name. Save the tag you’ve just created.
Next, copy the code and paste it into the pages of your website you wish to track. WordPress plugins can help here.
Finally, add some conversion goals to your tag, whether it’s tracking how long someone spends on your website, purchases they make, and so on.
The Microsoft support page has more guidance on how to run UET tags if you’re new to them.
Your quality score reveals how your Bing Ad stacks up against competitors’ ads. It’s based on three things: your CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Here’s what the scores mean:
To view your score, click the “Keywords” tab on the “Campaigns” page and check out the “Qual. score” column. Check it frequently to confirm your ads are performing well.
While Bing Ads aren’t for everyone, they’re definitely worth a closer look. For many businesses, they offer a cost-effective alternative to Google Ads, while others might find it’s best to run PPC campaigns across both platforms.
The only way to know is to try them out for yourself! It’s simple to set up a campaign, so consider importing a high-performing Google Ads campaign and seeing how it goes.
Have you set up your first Bing Ads campaign yet? How are you finding it?
To create a paid ad campaign effectively, you need a solid strategy for organizing your data and tracking your ad performance.
Excel spreadsheets can do just that.
While a spreadsheet might not seem like the most intuitive tool for managing your marketing efforts, there are many Excel tricks you can use to quickly streamline your data, track metrics, and improve conversions.
There’s no need to be an Excel expert to master these tricks. All you need is access to a version of Excel and a desire to learn.
Maybe you’re wondering if you should bother learning Excel if you already use other tools like CRM software or Google Analytics to manage your marketing campaigns.
Honestly, you probably should.
The humble Excel spreadsheet offers you a simple yet highly effective way to organize all your data from various project management tools in one place. Whether you want to use your spreadsheet for keyword research or you’re turning data into a bar chart, there’s an Excel trick to make your job easier.
Plus, you never know: You could end up at a company that still strictly uses Excel for these things!
With all this in mind, let’s look at using Excel to boost your paid ad or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
Excel and Google Sheets aren’t the same thing.
Google Sheets is a fantastic (and free) alternative to Excel. It’s not designed to handle the enormous data sets you might want to hold in Excel, such as keyword research, but it’s excellent for managing deadlines, analyzing customer relationship data, and filtering statistics to gain some key insights into your ad performance.
I’ll be using Excel to work through examples here, but you can, of course, use Google Sheets for many of these tasks if that’s what’s available to you. You can also check out Calc from OpenOffice since the functions on offer are very similar.
When creating paid ad campaigns, you need to think about which keywords to use and bid on, how to boost your click-through rate, and how to increase your conversions once people land on your page. What’s more, you need the means to compare different ads within the same family to check for underperforming content.
Excel, thankfully, can help you tackle all of these issues and more, so here are my top five Excel tricks you can use to design, track, and analyze your paid ad campaigns.
As I’ve touched on, the goal of creating a PPC campaign is to get as many clicks and conversions as possible. How do you maximize your chances of success? You first need to choose the right keywords.
If you use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest, you probably see hundreds, if not thousands, of keyword suggestions. Excel can help you sort through this data to identify the keywords you should be using.
Depending on your campaign goals, you can filter the data based on factors including:
Say you’re creating a PPC campaign around video marketing. You input the keyword “video marketing” into Ubersuggest. When you click “View all keyword ideas,” you’ll see 342 suggested keywords and over 11,000 related keywords.
How do you translate this into Excel? First, download a copy of the keywords by clicking the “Export to CSV” button:
Now, filter the results to only see the keywords most relevant to you and your campaign. To do so, load up the spreadsheet, head to the “Data” tab, and click the “Filter” option:
For our example, let’s filter the keywords based on SEO difficulty. Go to the column header and click the arrow. From the drop-down menu, uncheck the boxes for the irrelevant keywords. They’ll disappear from your search results so you can focus on the important keywords:
Once you’ve finished analyzing the data based on one filter, you can quickly switch to another using this Excel trick.
You can also filter out “negative” keywords from your search results. Say you don’t want your PPC ad to appear in search results for “real estate” because you’re not targeting this audience. Click on “Text filters” from the drop-down menu, then “Does not contain.” Input the words “real estate” into the box.
The next Excel trick I’ll show you is how to create a PivotTable.
What is a PivotTable? Think of it as a kind of interactive report. It allows you to analyze massive data sets and extract critical data to inform your decision-making process. Here’s what a PivotTable might look like:
From a marketing perspective, PivotTables are invaluable. They can show you, at a glance, who is clicking on your ad and where they’re based. What’s more, if you’re running multiple ads, you can identify if certain demographics are clicking on one ad more than the others, and so on.
In other words, if you’re a marketer trying to track your campaign’s success, a PivotTable could be your new best friend.
To use a PivotTable effectively, first identify your data source. You might use data from Google Analytics or another analytics tool.
Next, import this data into an Excel spreadsheet. The easiest way to do this is by importing a CSV into Excel. To import a CSV into a new Excel workbook, simply click the “Data” tab, then click “Get External Data” and select “Text” from the menu options:
Once you’ve checked the data moved over correctly, create your PivotTable. Include columns for demographic data such as location, age, and gender, and columns tracking metrics such as conversions and impressions.
Highlight the cells containing the data you’re interested in, then go to the “Insert” tab and click “PivotTable.” Confirm the fields you want to include to generate your table.
Next, decide what data you want to include in your PivotTable. For instance, if you’re tracking audience demographics, have columns for data such as location, age, and gender.
You also need columns for metrics like clicks, impressions, and conversions because you’re trying to track performance.
Finally, analyze the results and make whatever changes you need to increase your conversions and improve your PPC campaign success.
Do you want to combine two sets of data from different spreadsheets or tracking tools into a single sheet? Then you need to check out the VLOOKUP function.
Essentially, VLOOKUP allows you to quickly combine a vertical column of data from one spreadsheet into another. Be aware: Both data sources must have at least one column in common, or this method won’t work.
Say you’re looking for new keywords for your PPC campaign. You don’t want to duplicate keywords, so you’re looking to see if any of the new keywords you found are already on your existing keyword spreadsheet or PivotTable.
You can use the VLOOKUP Excel trick to identify any genuinely new keywords and import them into your spreadsheet.
First, identify the new column in your existing spreadsheet that you want to fill with fresh keywords. Then, select “VLOOKUP” from the “Formulas” tab.
Next, complete the VLOOKUP formula. You’ll need four things:
Once you complete the formula, the data sets merge.
VLOOKUP is pretty technical, so check out the Office support page for more help creating your formulas.
When you’re creating PPC ads, it’s worth adding original graphics or data visualization tools, like bar charts or graphs, to potentially increase your click-through rates and conversions. Luckily, Excel can help you do this.
If you’ve already got a PivotTable, it only takes a few clicks to turn it into a chart. Simply click the “Analyze” tab, select “PivotChart,” and decide which chart type you want to use. That’s it!
Don’t have a PivotTable? Fear not.
First, select the data you want to include in your chart, click “Insert,” then hit the “Recommended Charts” button:
Pick the design you like most and generate the chart:
The Microsoft support page has more hints and tips for customizing your chart.
When you create paid ads, you often perform the same steps each time. Excel lets you automate repetitive tasks to save you time.
How do you automate these tasks? Through this neat little Excel feature called a macro.
Macros are essentially automated or recorded sequences. You “record” a set of actions you want Excel to automate, like keystrokes. When you need this action performed again, you simply run the macro, and Excel handles the rest for you.
Well, there’s no limit to what you can use them for, but here are some suggestions for paid ad campaign steps you might automate.
Setting up a macro should be a short process, though you can always check out the Microsoft help page if you need more guidance.
First, ensure you can see the “Developer” tab in Excel. From here, hit “Visual Basic” and then click the “Record” button. If you can’t see the Developer tab, just click the “View” tab and hit “Record Macro” there instead:
Choose a name for your macro and then start recording. Once you click “OK,” Excel records every action you take on the spreadsheet until you hit “Stop Recording.” Now you’ve got a macro set up to use whenever you need it.
Before you run a real and complicated macro, try setting up your own simple test macro to get a feel for how they work.
If you’re a marketer, these Excel tricks can help you create, track, and manage your paid ad campaigns more effectively than before. There’s no need to be an Excel expert, either. All you need to know are a few simple commands, and you could be up and running pretty quickly.
From keyword research to customer relationship management, Excel could be the tool you’re looking for. Once you’ve tried these Excel tricks a few times, you’ll probably wonder how you managed to run your PPC campaigns without them!
If you need any more help with Excel, be sure to check out Microsoft’s Excel Community support page.
Have you used any of these Excel tricks for your paid ad campaigns?
Semantic search isn’t only for organic traffic; it’s for paid search as well. Understanding the difference between broad and exact match search is important, but semantics is all about the search intent behind a query.
Google is focusing a lot more on search intent and keyword variants. Knowing the correlation between intent and semantics can help you narrow down to the perfect audience.
What is semantics, and how does it apply to search? Semantics focuses on the search intent of a keyword and the thoughts and feelings that the person has as they search that keyword.
It’s a complicated subject, and there isn’t a “black and white” set of steps to follow. A lot of context and concept is behind every search query, and many SEOs overlook this by thinking basic keyword research will solve all their problems.
If we understand what semantics is, we can understand how it impacts paid search.
The goal of every advertiser on Google is to gain visibility for as many applicable keywords as possible. The problem is, no matter how much keyword research you put in on Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, and SEMrush, you’ll never find all the keywords that people in your target audience are searching.
This is where semantics come in.
Google uses semantics in broad and phrase search to help find a wider range of searches and triggers that will match user intent and display your ad.
To understand semantics, it’s important to know the difference between exact and broad match in Google ads. An exact match requires the searcher to input the exact keyword you’ve chosen to display your ad on.
For example, if you used the exact match “wedding cakes,” the person searching must enter some of the following keywords into Google to display your ad:
These are exact match keywords because they contain the phrase exactly as-is. As a result, this type of advertising doesn’t use semantics because it doesn’t allow the flexibility necessary to locate related phrases with the same search intent.
Here’s another example: If someone searches for “cakes for weddings” or “weding cakes,” your ad may not display because Google thinks it doesn’t match your intention.
Even though the search intent is the same, you’re not using semantics in your advertising and may experience a higher CPC because you’re targeting a much narrower audience than necessary.
When it comes to organic search, many SEOs and site owners like to find every slight permutation of a keyword and include it somewhere in their content. At one time, this was the best strategy.
However, with the RankBrain update, Google started to implement machine learning and AI to understand the search intent and context of the search rather than rewarding the people stacking as many exact match keywords into their content as possible.
The goal is to make the process of finding information on Google as natural and conversational as possible.
For example, if you asked a friend, “Who is the richest person in the world?” they might respond, Jeff Bezos.
If you then asked, “Who has the most money in the world?” the answer would be the same, correct?
This factor should apply to Google search as well. Just because two people ask the same question differently doesn’t mean they should receive two different sets of search results. The question has the same intent, and the query demands the same answer.
If we apply this to organic search, it would tell us that we don’t need to worry so much about getting every single variation of the keyword because Google will identify the similarities and help us rank for all the keywords with the same intent.
On a different note, Google’s machine learning is using your habits as a searcher too. After searching for the richest person in the world on Google, I searched “most money” to see what that would bring.
The number-one result on Google was still relevant to my original search. Since I didn’t click through to anything, Google is still scrambling to find an answer to my query.
Google released data that tells us how important semantics are for paid search. Approximately 15 percent of daily searches are new searches that they’ve never seen before. If those 15 percent of searches have never entered Google’s database before, how could anyone ever pick them up using keyword research or competitive analysis?
When it comes to long-tail keywords, the goal is to grab as many of those as possible. However, thousands and thousands of search phrases never hit the keyword research phase because they yield no traffic, and most people would never include a keyword with no traffic in their content.
Unless Google does it for you.
This factor has become ever prevalent with the rise of voice search as well. Voice commands are much more common today than they were when released in 2011. Twenty-seven percent of the population uses voice search on their phones. It’s also believed that 62 percent of individuals would make a purchase using voice technology on their smart home device.
We all know that people do not speak the way they search on Google. Semantics play a major role in Google’s ability to take a voice search and translate it into accurate results.
What can you do to capitalize on semantics? By now, we see the importance of semantics for paid search, but what should you do to ensure you’re reaching as much of your audience as possible?
We should all worry less about creating content around keywords and instead create content around topics.
The goal is to cover a topic as in-depth as possible, and the keywords will come naturally.
A lot of SEOs talk about “silos” and “clusters.” These two strategies help you build out content in a way that increases site relevancy and boosts authority. By doing this, you’re showing Google that you’re an expert on the subject, and it should give you precedence over your competition.
I’m always preaching the importance of search intent, but this has become Google’s bread and butter. It makes it more difficult for SEOs to game the system by stacking a bunch of keywords in their content.
When choosing keywords for a paid search, you want to focus on the thought behind the keyword and target the intent. Think about the queries that lead people to your website.
What are they trying to do when they come to your site?
Are people there to learn something? Purchase something? Inquire about something? Once you’ve determined that, you’ll want to find keywords matching that intent.
In this image, the keyword “best deals on iPhones” has a different search intent than “best iPhones,” pictured below. While they both contain a similar phrase, the person searching is trying to accomplish different things.
Someone searching for deals is already in buy mode; they want to buy an iPhone and are looking for good deals.
Someone searching for the best iPhones may not have settled on the phone yet. They want to research brands, quality, read reviews, and learn more before making a purchase.
These two individuals are at different steps in the buying process.
Understanding this can help get more people to your site and may even decrease your bounce rate because they’ll get more of what they bargained for when they land.
With the release of Core Web Vitals, we know that Google is paying attention to the on-site experience. Factors such as loading speed, load delay, and page layout are important.
Focus is shifting away from advertisers and affiliates and turning to the users. Google doesn’t care about how well you understand SEO and how many hours you spent on keyword research.
All they care about is that people get what they want on your site. If you’re giving people what they want, Google will reward you. If you’re not, they’ll reward your competition.
For many years, site owners pumped out sub-par keyword-loaded content built to rank but ignored the people searching for those keywords. That won’t cut it anymore.
Work on improving your page speed, optimizing your site for mobile, and pay attention to bounce rate and session duration. These are all indicators of whether or not you’re choosing the right keywords and targeting the right audience.
If you find that certain paid ad keywords have a higher bounce rate, it could mean you don’t have the right search intent. Semantic advertising isn’t all about verbiage; it’s also about relevancy. You could have the best offer in the world, but it won’t mean anything if your site doesn’t function properly.
How can you measure the success of semantic search in paid ads? The most important metric you’ll want to track is the success of individual broad-match keywords. By finding out which words Google’s AI is displaying your ad for, you can determine whether you should continue advertising for that broad-match keyword.
For example, if you’re advertising a site that sells iPhone cases, and you find that your audience’s search intent doesn’t align with the phrases your ad is displaying for, you might want to readjust or target something different altogether.
Two other metrics that can tell you a lot about the success of your campaign are the bounce rate and average time on page. If you’re targeting the right audience and bringing the right people onto your page, they’ll likely stay awhile.
If you have a 90 percent bounce rate and an average time on a page of less than a minute, chances are people are landing on your site, not liking what they see, and going somewhere else.
This could be a sign of a deeper on-site issue, but for this example, you might want to make sure you’re sending the right people through.
You can use tools like Google Analytics or the Google Ad dashboard to explore this data.
Much of this article will be great news for many of you. It means you don’t have to lose your mind on hours of keyword research anymore. By using broad matches and focusing on intent, you could pick up all the relevant keywords without having to identify them manually.
If you need a little more help, we can walk you through the steps necessary to get your campaign up and running.
The paid ad space is constantly changing and adapting to the digital environment, and we all have to jump aboard and roll with the changes. If we don’t, we risk letting our competition get ahead while paying more per click and receiving lower-quality click-throughs.
Be sure to keep semantics in mind as you set up your paid campaigns and really think about what the individual is trying to accomplish when they type a phrase into Google.
How have you used semantics to narrow down on your target audience?
How often do you see ads asking a question?
Whether you notice or not, plenty of PPC ads utilize questions to get more engagement. The questions can be literal or rhetorical, but either way, they’re trying to get you to click so you can learn the answer.
Does this method work for PPC campaigns?
In this article, we’ll discuss why you should consider asking questions in your PPC ads and provide tips about best practices in doing so.
Questions are how people show interest in each other’s lives, and they’re a regular part of our everyday lives to boot. When ads use questions effectively, potential customers may feel like the brand cares about them and isn’t simply trying to sell them something.
That said, marketers can’t measure how customers feel. But, you can measure data to see if your questions in PPC ads are driving people to your page. Here are some reasons marketers have discovered questions in PPC ads work:
A question can easily pique people’s interest, especially if it’s about a relatable struggle.
Let’s say you’re a marketing agency.
Try starting your PPC ads with statements like, “Do you want to increase your conversion rate?” or “Do you want to boost marketing results?”
The answers to these questions may seem like no-brainers. Yet, they can easily attract the attention of business owners who are desperately looking for ways to improve their sales results, as they want you to answer these questions for them without having to dig further.
Engaging your audience is essential. If they feel like you’re talking at them, not with them, they have no reason to click, like, share, or comment.
So, if you ask a question they want an answer to or want to answer, you’re inviting them into the conversation, not giving them the hard sell.
Your ultimate goal is to convert people into paying customers, but engaging with them via questions could get them to want to purchase from you instead of the person who simply said: “buy our product.”
Not only can questions pique interest, but they can tap into a feeling of social obligation. When you ask someone a question in “real life,” they often feel obligated to answer. While your PPC ad isn’t staring at a user anticipating an answer, the reader could feel like they need to respond.
Or, they could have that question themselves—maybe they even typed in that exact question, and that’s why they see your ad. It could feel like they asked you the question and are now the ones waiting for your answer!
Asking a question you want them to answer, like “Are you ready to take the leap?” or a question they may have asked, like “Why should I travel to Iceland?” could make them click.
Note: Be sure your PPC ad’s link actually answers the question, provides relevant information before they provide contact information, or is directly related to the query in another way. Don’t just send them to your homepage unless the answer is there.
The questions you ask will give customers an idea about your brand identity or personality.
Let’s take a look at the difference between these two questions:
“What’s your next six-figure move?”
“If you could travel anywhere for free, where would it be?”
The first question will likely give the impression that a business-savvy financial advisor or entrepreneur wrote the ad. It may even attract like-minded individuals who want to learn about generating passive income or building their own business.
The second question could let viewers see you as a company with a genuine interest in their dreams and futures. The “if you could” portion may also trigger viewers to share the dream destinations they’ve been saving up for, which could increase visibility if your PPC ad is on social media and not a search engine.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so be sure your question does that for you.
How can you utilize questions when making your PPC ads? Here are five ways you can use them to yield the results you want.
There are brand messages which are easy to communicate, like “Buy now to get 70 percent off your first order,” or “Sign up to get free access to our course.” These statements answer a question that didn’t even need to be asked: “Do you want something for cheap or free?” So, questions aren’t needed.
However, when you’re making a tough sell, peppering your ad with a few questions can help readers ease into the idea of consuming your content or opting into your business.
Let’s say you’re a blogger in the finance industry who wants to talk about the perks of investing. Money can be a touchy subject—even an intimidating one—for many. Using questions focusing on the perks of investing or reflecting things readers may already be wondering could draw them in.
You could write something like, “Do you want to abandon the 9-to-5 grind and be your own boss?” or “Do you want to retire in your 50s?”
These inquiries can get people to notice your ads because they’re exciting and relatable.
Think about the last time you approached a stranger in a social situation.
To avoid being awkward, you probably introduced yourself with your name and a brief statement, then asked a question like, “How do you know [insert mutual friend’s name]?”
It’s the same way for PPC ads.
Questions are a good starting point to introducing your business and the services you offer without putting on too much pressure.
For example, Ready Set Food’s PPC ads introduce the company by name and give some basic information. First-time parents who are concerned about their baby’s diets may already be interested in the topic, but the CTA “How Does It Work?” truly gets the conversation started.
Asking a question reflecting the reader’s thoughts or addressing a pain point could lead them to click the call-to-action (CTA). The CTA could be the question itself, or the question could lead to the CTA.
A question that could be the CTA is reflected in the Ready, Set, Food ad above: How does it work?
Regent Atlantic’s PPC ad uses a question to lead readers to the CTA by asking, “Do you have a financial plan that works for you?” They then encourage people to click their ad to get the financial help they need.
Including a question related to your businesses’ niche is a good starting point to establishing a relationship with your customers.
SEO agency Pushfire starts with the question, “Tired of SEO services that take shortcuts or attempt to game the latest algorithm?” Since SEO is a broad and complicated topic, the loaded question helps give a brief introduction of what their agency offers and how hard they’re willing to work for you.
PPC ads can have questions that introduce problems the audience may already have.
Your products or services should provide the solution, immediately answering the question in a way that lets the audience know this. People are looking for solutions, not problems.
For example, Bookakery Boxes’ PPC ad starts with, “Looking for a gift that will last beyond Christmas?” Their answer is their subscription box program, which lets people give books to their loved ones throughout the year.
It’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. When it comes to questions in PPC ads, you need to know not just when to ask them but how and why you’re doing so.
What does your company stand for, and what does it offer? You need to answer these questions for yourself before you ask your audience anything.
The questions you ask readers should help them relate to your message.
For instance, if you run a travel agency focusing on affordability, you could ask, “Are you dreaming of a vacation but worried about the cost?”
Or, if you run a clothing store that donates a portion of all proceeds, you could ask, “Do you want to look great while helping others?”
In both of these, the audience knows what your company is all about from one simple question.
Chances are, we’ve all met someone who just constantly asks question after question, and eventually, they become background noise at best.
Questions are more effective when they are utilized infrequently.
Plus, asking too many questions could make your copy seem deceitful and spammy, like you’re trying to get answers out of them, not help them solve a problem. Not surprisingly, no one wants to see too many questions because we prefer to get answers or solutions.
Just include one question to maximize the impact of your ads.
Questions are natural parts of human conversation, and copy should reflect that—and no more than that.
These days, it’s not uncommon for keywords to be questions. Historically, it was best to have your long-tail keywords be verbatim in your copy; now, search engines are smart enough to understand context. Don’t wedge those questions in, especially repeatedly, just to fit your keywords.
There’s nothing wrong with adding questions every now and then. You want to make your PPC ad copy seem like you’re encouraging a friend to make it more engaging and enticing. Just don’t overdo it.
Picking the right question involves understanding your audience.
What are the most common dilemmas of your target audience? Why would they need your products or services? Formulating questions along these lines will help you create copy that resonates with your intended viewers.
Your questions should make people excited, not scared or unhappy. A question that only has a negative response could lead to a negative perception of your brand.
For example, the question “Do you want a house infested with rats?” could make readers uncomfortable and respond strongly with “no,” or even, “how dare you assume I would?” After all, it conjures an image of a house with a rat infestation and implies someone, somewhere, may say, “why yes, yes I do!”
In contrast, the question “Do you have rats and want them gone?” makes your intended message more concise and clear. Readers know you’re offering products and services designed to take care of a rat infestation without assuming they do have a house full of rats.
Plus, people want solutions to their problems, and positively phrased questions and responses offer those.
When you ask someone to become engaged to be married, you’re likely already pretty sure they’ll say “yes.” The same goes when asking a reader to engage with your content—you need to be pretty sure the answer will be “yes.”
In other words, the “yes” should be so expected that the question is rhetorical.
For example, Plato’s Closet has a PPC ad with the words, “Ready to upgrade your closet?”
In this situation, people who read the copy are more likely to stop and stare because of the free shipping option. The question just drove the message home.
Getting readers to respond “yes” to this early on, to the point where they click on the CTA, may make them more likely to answer “yes” once they’ve reached your product page. They’re already pretty excited about the questions they’ve already responded affirmatively to.
Questions in PPC ads could help you engage with your readers in various ways.
They can introduce your business, engage your audience at a human level, or make them excited to learn more. It can also be used to bring up a solution to a problem, which may encourage your audience to respond to your CTA.
Ask questions aligned with your main message. Make sure they seem natural and show you understand your target audience.
As long as you keep these tips in mind, you could create PPC ads that produce excellent results.
How will you use questions to get more engagement with your PPC ads?
If you’re a fast-growing business with a franchise in multiple locations or a virtual business looking to attract customers from different regions, optimizing your advertising campaigns for a variety of locations can help increase your reach.
In this guide, we’ll explore why you should set up ads for multiple locations, what the best strategies are to accomplish that, and how to further optimize the process to expand your reach and convert more visitors. Also included is a basic primer on geotargeting and some tips for choosing a suitable region to get the best return on your investment.
Let’s get started.
In a nutshell, setting up ads for multiple locations means the users are shown a personalized ad based on their current location.
If you are a London-based business, it is more profitable to advertise your products and services to people in London. However, suppose you have a global or virtual business with customers spread across different locations. In that case, you need to optimize your paid search campaigns to reflect the needs of visitors from a variety of locations.
For instance, you could set up a Europe-focused campaign to attract European customers while simultaneously creating a similar but separate campaign for U.S.-based citizens.
If you’ve been setting up all your ad campaigns in a single location, you’re probably missing out on customers based outside that region who may be interested in what you have to offer. If you have a virtual business with the capacity to offer your services anywhere, you should be capitalizing on the digital reach offered by geotargeting.
A GE Capital Retail Bank study shows 81 percent of people search online for a product or service before making a decision.
If you optimize your paid social media campaigns to target such users across different locations, you increase your reach and, consequently, your conversion and revenue.
Before we start setting up our ads for multiple locations, it is important to identify which locations to target. The following section offers a simple, logical strategy to find a region most compatible with your business needs.
Of course, if your business has a physical location, that’s the region you should prioritize while geotargeting. If you are also interested in reaching people living nearby or just outside your city and state, you can simply increase the radius of your targeted ads.
What if you have a virtual business that sells products or services in multiple states and countries? That is where research comes in.
When deciding which location to target, aim for a region where similar businesses are already succeeding.
For example, there is no point in targeting an ad for digital marketing services in a region with poor network connectivity or a significant customer focus on physical stores. Instead, look at cities and suburbs where businesses frequently use services similar to what you are offering.
You can obtain this data by running a quick search for “X near me,” where X represents your business. Then, monitor the search traffic, keywords, and market trends for this and other similar phrases. Tools like Google Trends let you do this for free.
Alternatively, you could try going the other way and targeting your campaigns in a region where the competition is low. However, be careful. This approach is risky as you may not get enough customers to cover the cost of advertising.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s probably best to focus on popular locations than trying to make it work with little-known and potentially risky regions.
Once you’re ready with your research and have a few locations in mind, follow these simple steps to set up ads in multiple locations.
These steps will guide you through creating your first paid search campaign and teach you how to monitor the analytics after your marketing campaigns have launched. If you’ve already done this before, feel free to skip ahead to step 3 for instructions on adding multiple locations in a single paid search campaign.
When you are looking to target individuals based in different regions, you need separate targeting keywords for each location you’re setting up your campaign.
For example, “schools near Paris,” “spa in Bali,” “coworking space in London,” etc. If you’re selling the same services everywhere, simply swap the location field to generate new targeted keywords. This can be as simple as [your business] near [your target location].
Check out the sample spreadsheet below. You can pick as many locations as you like and add the name of your business before or after the region for increased optimization.
Now that you have your best ad campaign keywords ready, it’s time to set up paid search campaigns.
Start by visiting the Campaigns section in the Google Ads menu. If this is your first paid advertising project, select “Create a Search campaign.” If you’ve already set up an ad campaign before and just need to edit the locations, go to Settings and click on Locations. Now you can select a region of your choice to target users living there.
Once you’ve set up a single-location campaign, you can choose to add, remove, or edit any locations. Click on the Edit option next to a campaign, then click on Change Locations to add your preferences.
You will see two options: one for changing the current region and another for adding new locations for the same campaign. Select the latter. Now you can add as many locations as you want.
For instance, if you already have a paid search campaign for “schools in Paris,” and you want to expand it to London, Italy, and Switzerland, you can add these locations in the Change Locations option by entering their names or respective zip codes.
What if you have a large or primarily virtual business and need to add multiple locations quickly?
There is a bulk-add option for you. Created specifically for franchise businesses and virtual service providers with multiple locations, this option can instantly boost your reach with minor regional tweaks.
Click on the blue icon on your campaigns page and select Add Multiple Locations. Now you can bulk-add up to 1000 places to further amplify your reach and save time in the process.
Use the spreadsheet mentioned in the previous section to create a database of your desired locations and simply copy-paste the data into your paid search campaign settings as described here.
While Google Ads offer excellent search-based reach, Facebook is more suitable for hyper-targeted paid search campaigns. If you are looking to reach a very particular group of people, say, swimmers in Miami, a marketing campaign on Facebook may provide a better return on your investment.
If you choose to advertise your business through Facebook, visit the “Audience” section of your ad campaign menu. From here, select the “Bulk Add” option to choose multiple locations at once. You’ll see a drop-down menu to choose the regions best suited for your business.
Most social media platforms offer a similar process to help you reach a wide selection of users based in a variety of locations.
Once you are all set up, it’s time to sit back, track the performance, and make any necessary changes to keep all your paid search campaigns profitable.
The metrics to compare the success of ad campaigns targeted to different locations don’t differ much from one-location campaigns. For instance, you are still looking at the traffic, conversion rate, and a decent return on investment. However, for a deeper analysis, you can add the element of location by tracking which region offers the most returns on investment.
To help you optimize this process, consider several questions each time you do a performance evaluation:
This will give you a fair idea of what is working and what needs improvement. If you notice some regions are doing better than others, you can choose to increase the ad spend for that location while reducing it for the poor-performing areas.
This strategy will help you save money and maximize the returns on your investment.
Sometimes in your analysis, you will notice certain regions perform significantly poorer than others. This is a sign that you need to either make a change and try again or remove them completely.
If you see only a small dip that can be fixed with minor tweaks, try playing around with the radius, editing your ad copy, or picking a nearby region instead. If you notice significant losses month after month, it is much better to remove the location and try setting up a campaign to target users located elsewhere.
This step is particularly helpful for virtual businesses with no brick-and-mortar location as they are not bound to a particular city or state. If you don’t have a physical store, you can keep experimenting with new locations until you find what works best for your business.
In summary, here’s how to run a successful ad campaign in multiple locations:
Optimize your campaign with location-specific keywords. For example: [your business] near [your target location].
If you don’t have any running campaigns, start a new one with a location of your choice. You can add other regions later.
In the campaign settings, you can easily add any locations of your choice to amplify the current reach of your ad spend.
If you want to save time and target hundreds of locations at once, consider using the bulk-add option to add multiple regions in a single edit.
This process may seem complicated at first, but it is actually quite easy. If you spend enough time monitoring the trends, studying your analytics, and experimenting with new locations, you can discover what works best and spend more money to amplify it.
However, going through these steps and implementing successful paid marketing campaigns can be challenging, especially if you’re a small team or a busy business that doesn‘t have much time or energy to invest in the complexities of marketing.
Even if that’s the case, all is not lost. You can still take advantage of multi-location ads by choosing to have someone else manage your ad campaigns.
What will your next step be? Are you ready to try experimenting with paid search campaigns by creating ads for multiple locations?
The food and beverage industry is growing fast. In the foreseeable future, analysts predict this sector will increase by 4.74 percent annually.
It’s also an area where new trends are constantly emerging, giving food businesses more chances to get on board with “hot” products.
For instance, more recently, there’s been a high demand for health, immunity, and plant-based foods, along with flavors with global appeal.
Increasing growth is good news for food businesses. However, to gain traction, companies need to differentiate themselves.
One way to achieve this is through advertisements that hit the spot creatively.
Food brands often use creative ads that indulge the senses while appealing to consumers’ physiological and emotional sides.
How can you do the same? Here are some tips you can start using today.
Many of the best food ads use proven techniques to capture viewers’ attention, get people talking, and build customer trust. Regardless of your budget, these are all methods you can use in your food ad campaigns.
Let’s get started with the first one:
Brands have used storytelling for decades. However, there’s now a greater emphasis on visual storytelling. Rather than relying on words, strong visual imaging enables food brands to gain viewers’ attention in a marketing world full of clutter and rivals’ messaging.
When a brand uses visual storytelling effectively, these food ads can encourage an audience to become regular customers.
However, what does visual storytelling mean?
You’ll find plenty of definitions online, but Shlomi Ron, CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, says it involves four main factors:
At a recent webinar, Ron explained how visual storytelling would shape the next decade, citing brands like Panera Bread.
The Missouri-based company used its drivers in a campaign to improve consumer trust and credibility among shoppers. However, if you watch most of Panera Bread’s ads, you’ll notice visual storytelling is part of them.
How can you do the same? By:
Another way to do this is by demonstrating your values, showing your consumers what you care about, and how your brand makes the world a better place.
Color is one of the most critical parts of your food ads. Picking the right color engages consumers and can affect their buying behaviors.
The right color also builds your food brand’s identity. In a sector where your branding needs to be bold to get noticed, it’s not surprising many food companies frequently use bright primary colors.
Food and drink brands often use reds, blues, oranges, and greens—and these colors all speak to shoppers differently.
For example, advertisers use red to trigger appetite, and consumers associate green with health. Yellow shades reportedly increase serotonin and happiness.
When choosing your colors, ask yourself what emotions are you trying to express? How does your typical consumer think when they buy your product? How does your chosen color fit in with your brand overall?
There’s a wide variety of personalities in food ads. You’ll see everything from playful and fun to formal and even functional. It all comes down to the overall tone of the individual brand.
However, whichever voice you’re going with needs to be powerful, and your buyers must recognize and relate to it.
Once you’ve decided on your brand’s personality, it’s best practice to incorporate it across your business, including your:
Take time to decide on your brand’s voice and ensure it’s consistent. Do you need inspiration? Take a look at Starbucks.
As the company explains, it’s gone with an expressive, functional voice, and it uses the same tone in-store, on social media, and its website. Starbucks incorporates the same styles of typography throughout too.
Take a note from Starbucks and create consistency throughout your food ads, right from the colors you use to the typography and tone.
You could create the world’s best food ad, but if you’re putting it in front of the wrong audience, it’s going to be a waste of time and money.
There are many ways to get your brand noticed, but don’t feel like you have to be on every platform. The right vertical for you depends on who your market is and where you can find them.
If you’re using social media, then according to Up Menu:
It’s not all about social media, though. A lot of us consume information in different ways. Some prefer the website or blog format, while others like information presented in a newsletter or video adverts to watch on the go.
Make sure you understand your audience’s preferences so you can reach them and think of creative ways to captivate them.
While it won’t always be applicable, engaging with your audience is essential for brand building, and there are many ways you can do this.
Social media is open to everyone. It’s also one of the easier ways to engross your audience. You could do this by:
Away from social media, you could include calls to action (CTAs), website links, and sign-up forms to drive customers back to your site and nurture leads.
Knowing what’s hot is an effective way to boost your sales. One of the quickest ways of keeping up with new fashions is Google Trends.
You can use Google Trends for global searches or more localized regions, making it ideal for picking up on niche ideas for a specific area.
For instance, if you search for “food,” then “take out food” and “fast food restaurant near me” appear in the top five.
Niche it down further to “ice cream,” and you’ll get more specific search terms you could potentially work with.
Put a face to the name or tell the story behind the brand’s origins in your advertising. Amy’s Kitchen, for example, does this well.
You’ve only got to look at the story on the packaging to know Amy’s Kitchen is a family business that advocates organic, wholesome foods. If you go further and look at the website, you’ll see a group of happy employees. Additionally, you’ll learn that Amy’s supports local farmers and cares about quality.
As you can see, Amy’s advertising reflects their wholesome branding.
Amy’s Kitchen also supports its message about eating well and community through:
These are all things your brand can learn from and incorporate into your food ads. What’s your unique story, and how can you use it in your branding? Can you:
Anything that differentiates your food ads will give you a better chance of getting noticed and set you apart from competitors.
Your customers or potential buyers have finished reading your emails, looking at your newsletters, or visiting your social media pages.
What do you want them to do next, and how do you express this?
The usual technique is the CTA. For instance, if a would-be customer visits your website, where do you want them to go from there?
Do you want to encourage them to sign up for a newsletter or social media so they can learn more about your brand? Tell them, and maybe even offer an incentive!
The advertising world’s given us many memorable moments. Whether it’s taking center stage at the Super Bowl, or just one of those great food ads you’ve seen on the TV that’s got you talking, these adverts are part of our culture.
Here are some of the best examples:
Chipotle is a real success story. It’s innovative, accessible, and excelling in its digital sales. However, that’s not the only area where the California-based Mexican grill shines.
Chipotle is great at making adverts that get noticed. Let’s take its “Back to the Start” campaign as an example.
The animated ad debuted in U.S. movie theatres and at the Grammys. It’s a great example of visual storytelling. The ad highlights why we should consider looking towards a more sustainable approach to farming and food.
What makes the ad so great is it not only used visual storytelling to its maximum but also touched on a subject people care about, demonstrating an understanding of its audience and beyond.
Further, it showed the brand’s personality, and Chipotle put plenty of consideration into its chosen platform.
Anyone can take the Chipotle approach in their food ads: use visual storytelling, engage an audience, and create a compelling narrative. Then ensure you put the ad on the right channels to get it noticed.
Taco Bell has got social media advertising down to a fine art. When it’s not promoting its latest products to its near one million Facebook followers, it’s taking the educational approach.
Taco Bell uses its ads on Facebook to create a sense of urgency or excitement by announcing the return of old favorites or new store openings.
Then there’s the educational side. On Taco Bell’s Facebook page, you’ll see a series of videos that give viewers a glimpse behind the scenes.
Further, Taco Bell increases engagement by giving a sneak peek at new locations or its Bell Hotel. It then enhances trust by explaining how they serve customers safely and promotes timely, seasonal offers to drive sales.
Finally, Taco Bell uses personalization, trends, and exclusivity in its advertising, as you’ll see below.
Taco Bell’s “Build Your Own Cravings Box” works on multiple levels:
In other words, Taco Bell says a lot without using complicated imagery or too much detail. This shows that sometimes the simplest ideas are best.
Another way to engage an audience is to make your food ads fun, and this is something M&M’S achieves with ease.
M&M’S ads have been making us laugh for years, and some would say the brand exceeded expectations with one of its Super Bowl ads.
Taking its inspiration from modern life, the ad included everything from a “Karen” and “Mansplaining.” Dan Levy of “Schitt’s Creek” fame also put in an appearance.
Above all, though, the ad sought to make us feel more connected. Sarah Levy, Chief Marketing Officer at Mars Wrigley North America, explained the ad’s purpose was to: “Create better moments that make the world smile.”
If it’s in keeping with your brand, ask yourself how you can do the same.
The food industry is one of the most competitive, but that doesn’t mean your brand hasn’t got what it takes to get noticed.
There are several ways you can make your food ads more appealing to consumers, and it doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money.
Creating a consistent style and tone, adding some personality, and engaging with your audience is something every food business can do. You can also take inspiration from famous names like Chipotle and Taco Bell by using visual storytelling or an educational approach to keep your audience interested.
Whichever method you use, make sure you choose the right platform so you can reach and engage with your ideal audience.
Which food ad stands out for you? What are your best tips for creating effective food ads?
One of a for-profit business’s best investments is often their online marketing strategy.
Is the same for true for nonprofits?
Let’s take a look at how nonprofit marketing strategy is different from for-profit strategy and how nonprofit corporations may be able to better reach their goals by further leveraging digital marketing.
The main difference for nonprofit marketing is about the goals. Often, with a for-profit company, the goal in advertising is the sale at the end. A nonprofit may have other needs in mind, and therefore other goals for the marketing campaign. We will dive more into detail on this in a bit.
Think about your messaging. It’s not just about a transactional sale, so you want to be clear as well as inspiring. This is part of what makes nonprofit marketing difficult. People are used to being shown ads for a shoe or a new table. They can filter that out mentally or get on board and buy the product.
With nonprofit marketing, you’ve got a taller order. You’re not just trying to convert a sale. You may be trying to convert a mindset, or at least connect with a mindset that the person already has. You’re trying to appeal to values and aspirations for the world at large.
However, it’s not impossible. In fact, in some ways, you could think of this as more straightforward. Why? One thing people struggle with when trying to sell a product is not making it all about themselves and the product. There’s always the “why” question. Why should a customer care about what you’re selling?
With a nonprofit, the mission is built in. Usually, your message isn’t even really about you. It’s about those you serve. That’s the story you can tell in your nonprofit marketing and automatically, you’re the good guy or the hero others want to rally around.
Here is an example from Charity: Water’s Instagram account. There’s a lot of faces there, with, of course, some water thrown in. Their pictures are about the results and what they are trying to do, rather than about the organization. They draw you in and entice you to click to learn more.
Where you run the ad might change too. You can’t use a shopping ad on Google for a donation, for instance. You want to be thoughtful about where you are placing your nonprofit marketing ads and whether that’s the place people will be in the headspace to convert.
You’ll also want to think about where they are going to learn more. It’s not just an e-commerce shop. You will probably want places on your website dedicated to telling stories about what your nonprofit does, with longer-form narratives and videos, as well as plenty of opportunities to engage, such as donate buttons and email newsletter sign-ups.
As we just talked about, there are a lot of differences between typical marketing and nonprofit marketing. The most fundamental difference is in the goals. Sometimes with e-commerce or for-profit advertising, the goal is very obvious. Nonprofit marketing goals may be more complicated. It’s not necessarily about making a sale; rather, the advertising goals might include:
Of course, every organization needs to gather money one way or another, just to keep the doors open. That’s just the nature of things.
With nonprofit marketing though, it can all feel complex. When you ask someone what the goal of an ad is, the answers may include any number of the above, maybe more.
That’s because, with nonprofits, it’s all about the mission. When you’re working in this field, you just want to keep doing better at what you’re doing. You want to reach more, make more of a difference. When you think about marketing, you want all those goals. You want more people involved, more money to run the organization, more awareness of the problems, and more awareness of the solution you provide.
However, it’s going to be key to drill down as much as you can. Get a handle on what you want this marketing campaign or set of ads to do in particular. If you have to, maybe there are a couple of subgoals, but keep it as specific as you can.
Knowing exactly what you want out of your nonprofit marketing campaign will help you evaluate how well it’s working so you can pivot and leverage the parts that are succeeding. This will help your marketing stay cost-efficient in the long term, and you will have more to show your board of directors and other key players.
As we’ve discussed, nonprofit marketing ads can be so different from other types of ads, not only in the messaging but also in what you’re trying to accomplish. Measuring effectiveness will come down to what exactly the goal is and how you’re going to track it. Once you know that, you can start designing and developing your nonprofit marketing campaign. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you are creating it to leverage maximum results for your goals.
We touched on this above, but let’s take a closer look at the emotional aspect of your nonprofit marketing. This comes down to the mission of your organization. what are you about? Why is your mission so vitally important?
First, let’s talk about how emotions are relevant to any kind of marketing. Even if you’re selling a shoe, people want to know why they should buy that shoe. As in, why should they really? How are they going to feel after having that shoe? What kind of connections will they have with others because of the shoe?
Does that sound far-fetched? Well, think about Michael Jordan’s sneakers for a moment and it’s suddenly not so crazy.
The great thing about your nonprofit marketing is the emotional appeal is not a stretch. It won’t take you long to come up with stories and testimonials that speak to why your organization is changing lives and the planet.
Lean into those and let them drive your marketing.
Urgency is part of the emotional appeal, but with a specific drive. You want people to understand why your work is vital now, as well as why their support is vital.
Getting people to act is the foundational goal of any ad so building in urgency can help that happen faster.
Don’t fake it, though. This isn’t about drumming up fake urgency, which makes your organization sound slimy. Look at your data and share the numbers to help people understand why what you’re doing is important and why you need them.
In their Facebook sponsored ads, Feeding America highlights the number of meals they have distributed as well as highlight the urgency of needing to deliver even more. It ends with a call to action to learn more about the organization.
If you want to know if your ad is effective, you’re going to need to track how people interact with it. Beyond that, it needs to be very obvious what you want them to do next and how they can go about doing it.
Think about goals, and write calls to action that speak to those goals. Here are some examples:
Make sure once they click or do what you’ve asked them to do, the next step is just as easy. Build a great landing page that shares more of your story and inspires action.
You may not be trying to sell a product, but you may be gathering donations. Whether it’s an annual fund drive or a critical need that needs to be covered, nonprofit marketing can help raise awareness of that need for donations.
To be as effective as possible with a donation drive, include as many ways to donate as possible:
Make sure to include an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter or otherwise stay in touch with you as they are donating.
With nonprofit marketing, it isn’t always about immediate action. Sure, you may want some donations or shares of your content, but there’s also an important long game driving your initiative.
As you are creating your campaigns, make it clear how to join the mission and align with what you’re about.
You can gather email addresses or provide a section on your website where people can learn more about local events or gatherings.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to include links to your social media accounts. Make sure your social media is filled with pictures and videos that highlight what you do. If your accounts are new, be sure to upload a dozen or so photos and videos to make them look full and scrollable. Use the daily features, such as Instagram Stories, to make it clear it’s an active account. Make it enticing to follow, with recent updates so they know if they follow, they will continue to learn more.
For nonprofit marketing, grant opportunities exist to help get your message out there for a reduced price or costs covered. Depending on your goals and where you want to place your ads, you may want to take the time to apply for these, save money, and learn more from the provider about how to create effective ads. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Google Ad Grants provide some free search ads to eligible nonprofit organizations as account support and other resources. You can also browse the Google Ad Grants site to see examples of other nonprofits running effective campaigns.
Twitter for Good provides free ads, as well as marketing campaign support and a variety of resources, such as custom emoji options, to nonprofits that join. This program focuses on areas of interest like internet safety, freedom of speech, equality, environmental conservation, and crisis management. Organizations involved in those areas may wish to apply.
5 Ways to Ensure Your Nonprofit Ads Achieve Their Goals
Tug on your reader’s heartstrings so they open their pursestrings.
Include buttons and clear statements that make it obvious to your users what action they should take next (like donate, follow, share, etc.)
Give clear instructions on how users can provide donations and offer as many methods of payment as you can.
The more followers you have, the more likely you are to get donations and spread awareness about the causes behind your nonprofit. To gain followers, be active on social media, host events, network, etc.
Some platforms, like Google and Twitter, allow you to run ads for free. Be on the lookout for opportunities like these!
Nonprofit marketing can seem more complicated on the surface, with a larger mission and lots of different ways to engage with people. However, when you dive into the messaging, it often becomes a little easier. Nonprofits have a great story to tell, which can work into content marketing with ease. As you develop ads for your nonprofit marketing, focusing on an achievable goal can help ensure your ads are effective and keep your spending at a minimum.
If you are a nonprofit needing help with your digital strategy, reach out. Our team of experts can help!
How are you going to evolve your next nonprofit marketing campaign to make it more effective?