How to Target LinkedIn Ads to Your Audience

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Advertising, Social | 24 Comments
How to Target LinkedIn Ads to Your Audience

LinkedIn AdsLinkedIn is an incredibly powerful ad network that every business should test. It has the unique ability to reach an audience by targeting their professional identity and this can be a big boon for B2B marketers especially. You can now reach professionals quickly and programmatically. In this post, we’ll walk through LinkedIn campaign creation with a focus on targeting options and how you can use them to reach your perfect audience.

You can now reach an audience by targeting their professional identity quickly and programmatically.

To get started, login to your LinkedIn Ads account (or create one) and create your new campaign. Once you’ve given your campaign a name and chosen a language, you’ll be able to create your ad.

Create a LinkedIn Ads Campaign

You can create basic ads (which include text and an image) and video ads. You can include up to 15 different ads in a campaign. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn ads apply their targeting settings to the campaign level. This means that each ad within a campaign will have the same targeting settings.

Next, you’ll be presented with your campaign’s targeting settings screen. This is where you can describe the professional audience you’d like to reach with your ads.

With the exception of location, each targeting field is optional. I stress this because you’ll want to be conservative in your selections as each new targeting field you apply will further narrow the size of your audience. To manage this, watch the counter to see an estimate of how many LinkedIn members you’re eligible to reach given your current targeting. If the number dips too low for your taste, either remove all selections within that field or add more selections to that field (entering multiple selections within a field will increase the size of your audience).


Here you must specify at least one location for your audience. You should set it to where your potential customers are. You can select world regions, countries, states, and metropolitan areas. For example, if your customers are nationwide, you can enter “United States.” This will include all LinkedIn members that have indicated the US as their location to your campaign’s audience.

Linkedin ads location


Here you can target by either company name or by a combination of industry and size. You can target members of companies by entering specific company names. For example, if you are looking to promote your business to employees of, you can enter “” (naturally). This will include all LinkedIn members that have indicated as their employer to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads company

Alternatively, you can target categories of companies by selecting industries and the number of employees. For example, if you are looking to target large software businesses, you may enter “Computer Software” and “Internet” as industries and “10,001+ employees” as company size. This will include all LinkedIn members that have employers that fit that criteria to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads company type

Job Title

Here you can target by either job title or by a combination of job function and seniority within an organization. You can target members by job title by entering specific job titles. For example, if your decision makers tend to be IT Directors, you can enter “Director of Information Technology” as a job title. This will include all LinkedIn members that currently have this job title to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads job title

Alternatively, you can reach similar members by selecting the job function and seniority. For example, you may enter “Information Technology” as the job function and “Director” as seniority. This will include all LinkedIn members that have indicated current positions that fit that criteria to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads job function and seniority


Here you can specify the alma mater of your audience. You can enter specific school names to target members that have attended. For example, if you’re trying to reach Stanford graduates, you can enter “Stanford University.” This will include all LinkedIn members that have indicated they’ve attended Stanford to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads school


Here you can specify the relevant job skills of your audience. You can enter common skills your audience claims to have. For example, if you’re trying to reach online advertisers, you can enter “PPC,” “Online Advertising” and “Google AdWords” as skills. This will include all LinkedIn members that have indicated they are skilled in any of the skills you’ve selected to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads skills


Here you can specify groups your audience is a part of. You can enter large or niche groups. For example, if you’re trying to reach wedding photographers, you can enter “Wedding Professionals Networking Group,” “Photography Industry Professionals” and “This is Wedding Photography” as groups. This will include all LinkedIn members that have joined either of these three groups to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads groups


Here you can specify the gender of your audience. You can select either male or female. If your typical customers skew towards a certain gender, you can select that gender here. This will include all LinkedIn members that have identified themselves as that gender to your campaign’s audience.

linkedin ads gender


Here you can specify the age range of your audience. Your available selections are 18-24, 25-34, 35-54 and 55+. If your typical customers skew towards a certain age, you can select that range. This will include all LinkedIn members that are thought to be in that age range to your campaign’s audience

linkedin ads age

Pro tip: LinkedIn members do not actually specify their age so you’ll want to avoid this targeting field in order to reach the largest eligible audience.

LinkedIn Ads Audience Network

After you’ve set your audience targeting, you’ll be presented with the option to enable the LinkedIn Audience Network. You should certainly test out this option as it will make your ads eligible to display on partner websites. This lets you reach your highly targeted LinkedIn audience even when they’re visiting websites other than LinkedIn.

llinkedin ads audience network

Once you’ve finished setting your targeting, you can move on to setting your campaign bids and budget. Once you launch your campaign, your business will be promoted to your perfect audience!

To supercharge your LinkedIn campaigns and make management even easier, sign up for AdStage here:

Learn about AdStage for LinkedIn

How To Create Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Advertising, Social | 4 Comments
How To Create Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently opened up it’s sponsored updates feature to all advertisers via its self serve ads interface. Sponsored updates are how companies can promote posts on their LinkedIn company page to a wider audience. If you have an active LinkedIn company page and are looking for ways to expand the reach of your updates, sponsored updates are a great way to do it. In this post we’ll walk through exactly how it’s done.

Sponsored updates are a great way to expand the reach of your company’s LinkedIn posts.

There are two ways to sponsor an update: you can either do it from within the LinkedIn Ads interface, or by clicking the “Sponsor Update” button next to your existing update.


Sponsored Updates Walkthrough

Here’s a walkthrough of how to sponsor an update from within the LinkedIn Ads interface:

1. Create a new campaign and select “Sponsor an update.”

sponsor an update2. Name your campaign and select the language.

name and language3. Select your company and the updates you want to sponsor.

Company and updatesThis will show you a preview of your sponsored update on different devices.

preview of sponsored update4. Next set your targeting as you would with traditional LinkedIn ads.

targeting settingsLocation is required but the rest of the targeting options are optional. Mix and match your targeting until you’re satisfied with the size and relevance. Targeting by company and job title categories are common, but you can also target by schools, groups, skills, and more.

6. Now that your targeting is set, you will need to set your bids.

set bidsThe minimum bids vary based on your targeted audience: in this example, CPC has a minimum bid of $2.50 and CPM has a minimum bid of $12.50. LinkedIn will also provide a recommended bid based on the audience you have targeted.

7. You must also set a daily budget for this campaign.

budgetThe minimum daily budget is $10.00.

8. The last step is to set a duration for the campaign.

You can either set a date in the future, or set it to run indefinitely.

9. Simply save changes your changes to launch the campaign.

That’s all it takes! Your update will now be presented to a much larger audience. You can follow the performance of your campaign in the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager.

To supercharge your LinkedIn Sponsored Updates campaigns and make management even easier, sign up for AdStage here:

Learn about AdStage for LinkedIn

How To Use Custom & Lookalike Audiences with Facebook Ads

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Advertising, Social | 26 Comments
How To Use Custom & Lookalike Audiences with Facebook Ads

Facebook offers a great deal of targeting options that you can’t find anywhere else, but there’s much more than the ability to target users by their relationship status. In this post we’ll cover how to use both Custom & Lookalike Audiences in Facebook Ads so you can leverage your business’s contact lists and take your Facebook ad campaigns to the next level.

Custom Audiences

With Custom Audiences, you now have the ability to target your Facebook ads to specific contacts! It works like this: Over time you’ve developed contact lists of leads, customers, subscribers, and more. Many, if not most, of your contacts are on Facebook so Facebook now lets you upload your lists to target them specifically.

You now have the ability to target your Facebook ads to specific contacts.

Here’s an example of this in action: you could get more likes on your business’s Facebook page by running a like campaign to past customers that haven’t yet liked your page. They will be much more likely to respond to your like campaign than a standard audience since they already have a relationship with your business.

How to Create Custom Audiences

Building your Custom Audience is extremely easy when you have a list of contacts..

  1. First identify the contacts that you want to reach with your new Facebook campaign. Perhaps you want to reach all of your contacts, or just a segment such as you current or past customers, leads, or subscribers. Just make sure your list is at least 500 people.
    Creating a custom audience
  2. Create a spreadsheet of the corresponding emails or phone numbers for your contacts. If you utilize a CRM, simply export your list.
  3. Open the Facebook Power Editor and upload your list of emails or phone numbers.
  4. Navigate to “Audiences” on the left.
  5. Click the “Create Audience” dropdown at the top and select “Custom Audience.”
  6. This will take you to the upload screen where you can upload your list and give it a name and description.

Facebook will then encrypt your data and match it against all active Facebook profiles. The result will be a new Custom Audience in your account complete with all matching profiles.

Lookalike Audiences

In addition to Custom Audiences, Facebook allows you to create Lookalike Audiences. Lookalike Audiences are groups of people that are similar to those in your Custom Audiences. If you have a Custom Audience of past customers, its Lookalike Audience will be filled with similar Facebook users that are likely to be interested in your offers.

How to Create Lookalike Audiences

Creating Lookalike Audiences is even easier, but requires an existing Custom Audience to build off.

  1. In the Power Editor, select “Audiences” from the left.
  2. Select an existing Custom Audience or create a new one.
  3. Click Create Similar Audience.
    Create similar audience
  4. Choose the country you’re targeting along with your optimization preference.
    •  If you choose to optimize for Similarity, Facebook will scan your selected country and include the top 1% of people in your new Lookalike Audience. This means you’ll end up with a narrow list of very similar users. If you’re working on a limited budget, this is your best option.
    •  If you choose to optimize for Greater Reach, Facebook will scan your selected country and include the top 5% of people in your new Lookalike Audience. This means you’ll end up with a larger list of users to reach, although with a less precise match. If you’re looking for the broadest reach across similar users, this is your best option.
  5. Click Create (it may take 6-24 hours for your Lookalike Audience to be ready).

Pro Tip: You can create a Lookalike Audience for each of the two optimization options, but they will overlap. If you wish to advertise to both, you can exclude your Similarity audience from the ad targeting your Greater Reach audience.

Website Custom Audiences

Learn how to retarget on Facebook with Website Custom Audiences.

How to Implement Your Audiences

Once you’ve created your audience, you can implement it in your Facebook ad targeting.

  1. In the Power Editor, select the ad you’d like to modify or create a new ad.
  2. In the edit panel below your list of ads, select “Advanced Options” under “Audience.”
  3. Begin typing the name of your audience in the Custom or Excluded audience field.

If your list is larger than you like, you can narrow it down further by overlaying other Facebook targeting options just like any other ad– just keep in mind that this will affect your reach.

Selecting a custom audience

Pro tip: Consider excluding current customers from ads that are targeting new customers.

The ability to target Custom Audience is a powerful feature unique to Facebook Ads. How have you been able to take advantage of it? Please let us know in the comments.

Quick Start: Twitter Ads in Under 5 Minutes

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Advertising, Social | One Comment
Quick Start: Twitter Ads in Under 5 Minutes

For years, businesses have used Twitter to reach customers and spread their marketing message for free. And until recently, only big brands were able to use Twitter Ads to promote their Tweets and accounts to the masses. Luckily, in late April Twitter Ads became generally available to all U.S. users. Finally, small businesses have the ability to expand the reach of their Tweets and accounts without going through account managers or committing to a huge budget. Now we’re going to help you get started with Twitter Ads so you can test the channel for yourself and see how it can grow your business.

Reach More Customers

You’re probably already using Twitter for your organic marketing efforts and have seen the value of the medium. Twitter Ads can take your Twitter account and expand it to reach more customers at scale. Use it to grow your presence by either promoting your account to new followers or use it to amplify your Tweets and promote your message. Twitter Ads even has powerful targeting features to let you reach your customers by keywords, interests, location, device, and gender.

Use it to grow your presence by either promoting your account to new followers or to amplify your Tweets and promote 
your message.

Free $50 Twitter Ads Credit

$50 in free twitter ads credit

We built AdStage Express because we know the value of running ads on multiple networks. You never know how much a network can impact
 your business until you test it. While you can’t yet launch new Twitter campaigns through Express, we have teamed up with Twitter to offer our users  $50 in free Twitter Ads credit. We are working hard to add Twitter to the suite of networks we already support, but in the meantime, if you’re new to Twitter Ads and based in the US, be sure to claim your free credit before creating an advertiser account and then test the network for yourself.

Get $50 in Free Twitter Ads Credit

Just 4 Steps From Creation to Launch

If you are eligible for a Twitter Ads credit you will receive a confirmation email directly from Twitter. To get started visit and sign in using your existing Twitter account. You’ll be presented with a welcome to Twitter Ads, an explanation of the two types of promotions, and an overview of the 4 steps involved in getting started. Click “Get Started” to… you know, get started.

Getting Started with twitter ads

1. Select Your Targeting

First, you’ll select the locations you’d like to target with your ads. For example, I chose the “San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose” metro area for my ads.

  • You can also target people based on the accounts that they are likely to follow. This is where you can add industry influencers. For example, if I were targeting SEO professionals, I would add @mattcutts.
  • Clicking “More targeting options” expands a drawer with three more targeting options: interest categories, devices, and gender.
  • Throughout this step, a counter in the top right indicates the predicted size of your audience. Making your audience too narrow will limit your reach, so be mindful of it. The actual volume of your campaign targeting will depend on both your budget and how frequently your audience logs onto Twitter.

attract new twitter followers with ads2. Choose Your Promotion

In this step, you can select the Tweets you’d like to promote to your audience. You can choose one or more of your previous Tweets, or compose a new Tweet and it will be eligible for promotion. If you choose to promote your account, it will be promoted according to the targeting you set in the previous step.

3. Set Your Budget

Now you can select which types of promotion to continue with, along with their corresponding bids and budgets.

  • To promote your Tweets and get your message out there, click “Promote my Tweets.” Then set a maximum daily budget and a max bid per engagement. You’ll pay for an engagement when a user clicks on, retweets, @replies, or favorites your Promoted Tweet.
  • To promote your account and get more followers, click “Promote my account.” Then set a max daily budget and the price you’re willing to pay for each follow generated by your promoted account.
  • Then click Save to continue

4. Provide Your Billing Info

This is where we all get shaken back to reality: you’ve got to give a credit card to continue. Hopefully you’ve claimed the free $50 credit we pitched above to help you get started. Provide your billing information and click continue.

That’s it! You’re now presented with an overview of your campaign where you can verify your settings.

So how do you plan on using your $50 credit? Are you trying to gain followers in your industry? Share your content and resources in Tweets? Or just get your marketing message out there? Let us know in the comments!

Targeting effectively on LinkedIn

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Advertising, Social | One Comment

LinkedIn advertising is unique because it lets you target professionals. This is especially useful in two scenarios – you’re either looking to hire and want to reach certain folks, or you’re a B2B company that wants to sell to professionals that might find your product or service useful in their work.

The targeting options LinkedIn offers include skills, groups, seniority, job title, job function, and more. Each of these options let you narrow down your targeting to a highly relevant audience for your ads.

New to LinkedIn advertising and want a bit of a head start?

Try searching for groups related to your business. Within a group, select the “more” tab and you’ll find group statistics:

Linkedin advertising

Group statistics

Group statistics reveal a lot about the group’s members and will give you a base to effectively target your new campaign. You’ll learn the general make up of the group including: the distribution of seniority levels, location, and job function. Use this information, along with the activity level of the group (discussions, comments, job posts, etc.) to determine if your targeting a group that’s both active and relevant to your product or service. Also, use this information to test different targeting combinations. For instance: target location and job function for one week, and job title and industry in another.

Beyond the summary of overall group data, group statistics help you learn about the group’s demographics, the growth of the group, and whether the group has had much recent activity.

Hope this quick tip helps you target your LinkedIn advertising more effectively. If you know of any good tricks to help a new or experienced advertiser get more out of their LinkedIn campaigns, please share in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Here are some related links worth checking out: (There are lots of good tips in this post – scroll down near the bottom for the tips related to using LinkedIn for business/marketing)

Facebook Always Spends My Budget

Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Advertising, Social | No Comments

Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot about online advertising and the process of launching ad campaigns. After letting my campaigns run for a week, I tried to fix my mistakes and optimize my campaigns as much as possible.

I noticed something that seemed to be a bit oddFacebook is guaranteed to spend my entire ad budget every single day, and it’s frequently within hours of launching campaigns. Granted, my budget is quite small per day, but compared to my other campaigns, I get many clicks, but only a small percentage convert. Spending the budget quickly isn’t in itself a problem, but I do want maximize my conversion rate, regardless of spending, clicks, and impressions. What do you guys see with your campaigns?

I need to learn whether my Facebook clicks and impressions can be turned into conversions for AdStage.

What are some possible explanations?

Advertising online

  • Poor targeting causes the budget to spend quickly, to an audience that isn’t interested in the product.
  • Ad text isn’t accurately describing the product.
  • Images are causing people to click regardless of the ads promote.
  • People are actually interested in the product, but our homepage isn’t compelling or clear.

Advertising toolsThis is our landing page. I’d want to sign up! What do you guys think?

My first step is to assume I haven’t optimized my Facebook campaigns yet. My goal is to have my Facebook campaign drive conversions. Facebook is a great network for getting your brand and message in front of many users (aka loads of impressions). It’s up to me (or any new advertiser) to get ads in front of the right audience with the right message. Then, I can expect a higher percentage of conversions when someone clicks my ad and they are sent to a landing page that’s compelling enough to encourage a sign up or whatever other conversion goal I set for my campaigns. The more I learn about this process, the better I understand what about the user acquisition process I can and can’t control.

There are some clear pros and cons to what I’ve seen on my Facebook campaigns.

Pros: I know people are seeing and engaging with my ads. As long as clicks and impressions give me an opportunity to show someone a great landing page and simple sign up procedure, my campaigns should improve and succeed in acquiring new users.

Cons: I’m not driving conversions yet. Clicks are good, but the goal is to convert people that see my ads into AdStage users. There’s an opportunity cost to using part of my budget on Facebook, if that portion of my budget could be spent more efficiently to drive conversions on other networks.

What do you think? Have you experienced similar behavior with Facebook or any other network? Do you see many conversions from your Facebook campaigns when compared with the other networks?

Thanks for reading. AdStage built a dashboard to help you see these kinds of trends in your own ad analytics – your key metrics, budget recommendations, competitor insights, and more. Sign up here for access to the private beta.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for future posts that would help new advertisers, please let me know. You can reach me at or send us a tweet at @getadstage.

Optimize Facebook & Google ad campaigns

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Advertising, Search, Social | One Comment

Last week I posted some basics about launching ad campaigns and setting up ways to track my progress. This week, I want to take a look at my first week’s results and explain what changes I plan to make to optimize my Facebook and Google ad campaigns and why.

So lets see how I did in my first week:

Advertising metrics

Week 1 Dashboard

My dashboard shows some good and bad signs. Most notably, I had three conversions for the week – two on Facebook and one on AdWords. So in three cases, someone saw an ad and signed up at the AdStage homepage. That’s why I’m running these ads, so it’s a positive sign. CPA was about $12 for AdWords and $12.50 for Facebook. I think I can bring these down and analyze what impacts CPA most in coming weeks. This week, there’s no previous state to compare against. Right now my CTR appears to be low – 0.052% on AdWords and 0.03% on Facebook and clearly my campaigns on Bing and LinkedIn were not effective, thus I’ll be making changes for next time.

Here are two good Quora discussions about CTR on both AdWords and Facebook ads. Keep in mind that a campaign’s goal should ultimately be to drive conversions, and it is possible to have a high CTR without driving conversions at a low CPA.

What is a good CTR in an AdWords campaign?
What is a good CTR for a Facebook ad?

In my dashboard, I can also see best and worst performing ads, all of my top performing ads, and other high performing ads of similar companies or companies in a similar space.

Ad performance

Highest and lowest performing ads

Online ads

Other high performing ads & ad suggestions

These insights are really useful, both in making changes to my less performant ads and in incorporating elements of effective similar ads into my own ads.

Social campaign changes

In setting up my first campaigns, I wanted all ad text, headlines, and images as consistent as possible. I discovered a few differences that I adjusted for week 2. This is an issue I ran into partially because updating and adding new ads to each campaign while comparing for consistency across networks can be a pain.

For Facebook, I highly recommend using the power editor once you have more than a few ads and definitely once you have multiple campaigns. You can perform lots of useful actions that would otherwise move very slowly in the typical interface. For instance, you can duplicate ads and whole campaigns, and you can quickly edit ad details like the ad copy and images.

Here’s what the power editor looks like. You can see many options within the interface. With your own ad data in the editor, you’ll see it’s real power.

Facebook power editor

Power Editor

LinkedIn and AdWords have better interfaces and you can easily duplicate and edit your ads.

I should have also mentioned last week that you can import AdWords campaigns into BingAds. This will speed up launching your BingAds campaigns and it will ensure that your Bing and Google campaigns are the same. (I’ll warn you that Bing calls this a beta feature, and the first time I tried it, it did not work. However, the second time I tried, it did work.)

Bing Import from Google AdWords

Bing Import from Google AdWords

My next optimization was in network targeting. As I mentioned above, I had a few inconsistencies between my Facebook and LinkedIn ads. For my cross-channel campaigns, I want as much consistency as possible. Beyond the actual ads themselves, I also had targeting inconsistencies within my Facebook ads. To fix this, I took the targeting my top performing ad and made it the targeting for all of my Facebook ads. This way, I can start comparing apples to apples (ie. i can compare the ad headlines, ad text directly since the targeting is the same).

LinkedIn targeting needed a lot of change. I initially setup to target job titles and groups. This gave me an audience of about 20,000 users related to marketing and advertising. I expected my ads to be highly relevant to the audience and result in a high percentage of conversions. Instead, the audience was so small and I had hardly any impressions at all and didn’t engage any users. In week two, I’ll try targeting job function to gain a broader audience of about 1,000,000 users. Those users will still find my ads relevant, but the larger audience should result in more impressions, clicks, and hopefully more conversions.

Search campaign changes

My search campaigns also needed some optimizations – primarily concerning my keyword bids. On BingAds, I somehow didn’t change my chosen bid from the minimum allowed bid of $0.30. Beginner’s mistake! This was the first thing I did to improve my BingAds campaign. I checked my AdWords campaign’s keyword bids (which I set to auto-bid) and the average CPC was about $2.00. I switched out the old minimum bid on BingAds and matched it to my AdWords average. As I move further along, I will do more analysis on these changes and the predicted improvement I expect to see. For now, there are more obvious adjustments I need to make first.

While the auto-bidding for AdWords worked well since I didn’t know quite what to bid, it also resulted in an overpriced, low value click. Partly at fault for this click was that I included many keywords in my first week, some of which were not highly related to AdStage’s primary audience. Also partly at fault was that I did not set a bid maximum in AdWords. Specifically, I paid $4.14 for a click on an ad that displayed when someone searched for “ppc programs“. The chance of a conversion coming from that search term would seem to be very small.

Here’s a look at my week one keyword activity and my dashboard suggestions for new keywords:

There are three major lessons that come to mind specifically from week one.

  1. Pay attention to your keywords. You may find a good list or come up with your own list, but make sure most of your keywords are directly related to your product and company. Otherwise you risk paying for clicks that will not result in conversions. Google provides a good keyword tool that can help you here. You can do some simple searches to figure out possible good keywords.
  2. Make sure your bids are thought out. While you might not know anything about bids right away, there are some quick ways to learn. Bing offers good information like – whether your bid is likely to place your ad on the first page, the first ad slot, or otherwise. Set a bid that will land you the result you’re looking for. For me, a mainline (an ad placed in any position 1-4 in the top of search results) position and bid is the goal. Though, paying a little extra to guarantee top ad placement may be worth it for certain keywords. It all depends on how you much you value a given keyword. AdWords gives you less information about bidding, but a quick tip is to use auto-bidding and set a bid maximum. That way you’ll get the AdWords intelligence, while not paying more than you’re comfortable with for any given keyword.
  3. Double check your targeting. A good balance of size of audience and relevance of audience is most effective. As I saw, my relevance may have been good, but my audience (at least on LinkedIn) prevented my ads from getting enough exposure to have a successful campaign.

Those were my changes in the first week. Some of these changes could have been addressed before I even launched campaigns in the first place. This is part of the learning process and I’m already learning to take advantage of the tools I put in place specifically to help me optimize my campaigns. Hopefully pointing my mistakes out and showing how and why I’m changing my campaigns will help you build your own successful campaigns.

Thanks for reading and check out AdStage if you would like a great, simple way to compare your campaigns and get insights to improve your campaigns in one, well designed dashboard.

If you have any questions or need any help with your campaigns, please let me know. You can reach me at with anything on your mind – questions, comments, critiques, suggestions for future posts, or just to say hi.

Online advertising tools

Setting up AdWords & Facebook campaigns

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Advertising, Social | 2 Comments

In the first post I asked some important questions, made some predictions, and identified some of the main differences I know of between Search & Social ad networks. Now it’s time to launch my first campaigns. I’ll start by setting campaigns on Facebook and Google AdWords.

First, Go to (assuming you have a Facebook account) and pick a destination site.

Facebook advertising

I want to setup specific destination urls for each network with custom UTMs (this is simply a string of text appended to a site’s url) that lets me know where traffic to our site comes from. Google provides a great free tool to build urls with custom UTM information here.

Now I can build my first ad with a headline, text, and a photo. The goal of these characteristics is to attract and grab a user’s attention. This week, I created a variety of ads with different images, headlines, and ad text. This will let me easily compare the performance of my different ads and get an idea of which ads are working.

Facebook advertising

Here’s a good point to discuss some basic ad terminology. To start with, there are three key terms that are fairly self explanatory – an impression is simply someone seeing your ad, clicks occur when someone clicks on your ad, and a conversion is when someone performs a set of actions defined by the advertiser.

Connected to these terms are CPM, CPC, and CPA. CPM refers to cost per mille or cost per 1000 impressions, CPC refers to cost per click, and CPA refers to cost per acquisition. On most networks CPM and CPC are the common budget methods.

Facebook advertising

Creating similar campaigns across a few networks (ie. LinkedIn, BingAds, & AdWords) will let me compare network performance with some control. Each week, I’ll tweak my campaigns. The different audiences, different character counts, and different targeting options all give me ways to optimize my campaigns as I learn more. This leads me to an important discussion of some network differences.

Differences between the networks

Facebook and LinkedIn’s network targeting differences that are worth pointing out. Facebook can target precise interests that users have identified like marketing or advertising, broad categories like small business owners, along with social connections, workplace, education, relationship status, and more. LinkedIn similarly targets people, but with much more focus on business information like job title or function and skills.

Networks also differ in the amount of characters they allow. It may seem insignificant, but it is good to be aware. Both Facebook and LinkedIn, let you can use 25 characters in the title. In ad text, LinkedIn allows 75 characters, while Facebook allows 90 characters. This may lead you to customize your Facebook ads using that extra space. AdWords and BingAds share the same character count limits.

AdWords and BingAds also use similar targeting, but with a few exceptions. Both have simple targeting options like the device you want to target (ie. only laptops), location, and language. On BingAds, you have the additional ability to increase or decrease keyword bids (how much you’re willing to pay for a given keyword) depending on the age and gender of the person searching.

Now, I’ll walk through the process of building an AdWords campaign.

Head to and select the campaigns tab on the top left (create an account if you don’t have one already).


On the next page, you will see a New Campaign button. You’ll have options to make your campaign Search only, Search & Display, or Display only. I started with Search Network only.

Setting up an AdWords campaign

AdWords gives you options for several types of ads and targeting, but I am building a standard search text ad for people within the United States using laptops or desktop computers. This is also where you decide your bid and budget (automatic bidding is also an option). You can adjust these settings to fit your company best. For my first campaign, I created a budget of $5/day and let Google automatically decide on my keyword bids.

Setting up an AdWords campaign

Next, I create my first AdWords ad. I need to create an ad group, and from the same screen I can setup my first ad and keywords I would like to bid on.

Setting up an AdWords campaign

If you have no idea what a good ad is, there are a few easy ways to start. Search Google for your competitors or keywords that fit your company and take a look at those ads as a first step. Your ads will get better over time as you iterate on what you find. Take a look at a quick search I did for “advertising analytics dashboard”. Right away, I have some idea of what competitor’s ads look like and what keywords might work for AdStage.


A couple other quick tips:

  • Fill your ads with keywords you’ll be targeting
  • Have a clear, simple call to action
  • Try things like “Sign up Today” or “Free” – clear incentives should improve your conversions
  • Use Google’s keyword suggestions (shown below in right-hand column)

Adding keywords to AdWords

The next page is a view of my ad group where I can see my ads, create new ads, add keywords, change settings, enable or disable my ad group, change my default bid, and much more.

AdWords ad group

That’s the process of setting up a social campaign and a search campaign. They are slightly different, but with the Facebook and AdWords examples you can replicate the process through BingAds and LinkedIn as you wish. The best way to get a feel for setting up campaigns is to simply explore the interfaces yourself.

Now that I’ve setup campaigns, I want to track their performance. Check out Part 3 to learn how to hook up Google Analytics and AdStage for tracking the success of my campaigns.

Thanks for reading and check out AdStage if you would like a great, simple way to compare your campaigns and get insights to improve your campaigns in one, well designed dashboard.

If you have any questions or need any help with your campaigns, please let me know. You can reach me at with anything on your mind – questions, comments, critiques, suggestions for future posts, or just to say hi.

Part 3learn how to hook up Google Analytics and AdStage for tracking the success of my campaigns.

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