Online marketing can seem like a tricky business. There’s plenty of potential customers out there, but it’s not always easy to wade through the countless users who are unlikely to do business with you and find the ones who might actually make a purchase.
If you’ve tried your hand at pay-per-click advertising and found it didn’t really drive business, you probably made a few mistakes in your campaign. To be successful you must understand that an online ad isn’t like an old fashioned newspaper ad. Not everyone sees the same pages when they’re browsing the web, and that means you can gear your campaign to target a more specific slice of the populace than you could with other forms of advertising.
Always remember that fact, and avoid these three major mistakes when crafting your next ad campaign!
Mistake #1 - Paying for the Wrong Keywords
Getting to the top of Google organically is a long, arduous process. Paying for Google Ads can give you a shortcut straight to the top, but just as in SEO, picking the right AdWords to rank for is critically important. There’s a cost to advertising, and certain search terms are going to be more expensive than others. You want to be careful about which keywords you choose to pay for, because picking the wrong ones may end up costing you money without driving sales.
If, for example, you’re a computer hardware company paying to show up for searches of the word “hardware,” there’s a good chance your ad is going to be displayed for people who are looking for a new hammer or electric saw–not exactly your target audience. Those searchers may even click on your ad, which you’ll in turn have to pay for, only to discover you don’t sell what they’re looking for.
Now you’ve wasted your money and their time, when this could have all been avoided by gearing your campaign towards a more specific term like “computer hardware” or the names of the actual products you sell.
Mistake #2 - Not Optimizing Your Ads
Is your campaign not getting the results you want? The problem might not be where your ads are popping up or who’s seeing them, but the actual ads themselves. Perhaps your color scheme simply isn’t attracting your audience, or maybe your pictures aren’t resonating.
If your ad results aren’t where you want them to be, it’s time for some good old fashioned A/B testing. We’ve spoken about A/B testing your website before, and the same principles can apply to your ads. Changing up your wording, colors, imagery, and other parts of your ads, then tracking the results and comparing performance will give you insight into what your audience actually wants to see.
You may even want to start your campaign with two different versions of your ad from the very beginning, so you can see which is more popular and set out to make improvements from there.
Mistake #3 - Not Targeting Your Ads
We already discussed using the right keywords to reach your audience, but there other ways Google and other advertising platforms can help you target your ads even further.
- Location-Based Ads will only show up for people in a predetermined area. This is especially useful for brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants or physical retailers. An ad for a pizzeria in New York probably won’t yield any business if it’s seen by someone in Arizona.
- Time-Based Ads will only run at certain points of the day. If your buyer persona is more likely to be online at noon than midnight, then it doesn’t pay to advertise while your audience is asleep. Identify when your ads are more likely to be seen and you’ll be able to reach your potential customers when they’re actually online.
- Device-Based Ads are as important as having a mobile-optimized website. As users come to rely on smartphones and tablets more and more, you need to adapt your strategy to develop ads which look good on mobile devices.
For any marketing campaign to be successful, you need to reach your potential customers where they are, when they’re online, and on the devices they’re using to browse the Internet.
Any time you adjust your campaign, be sure to track how the changes you’ve made affect both the click-through rate on your ads and the conversion rate of your new visitors. There’s always room to learn from, so track your campaigns and discover what works best and what doesn’t work at all.