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 www.facebook.com/ads/create (assuming you have a Facebook account) and pick a destination site.
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.
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.
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 adwords.google.com 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with anything on your mind - questions, comments, critiques, suggestions for future posts, or just to say hi.
Part 3 - learn how to hook up Google Analytics and AdStage for tracking the success of my campaigns.