Digital Marketing

5 Hacks to Speed Up Online Ad Optimization

Managing online advertising campaigns can take up a lot of your time, but with a few tricks, you can quickly optimize your campaigns.

Building an ad platform, we talk to some of the smartest advertisers around about things they do to get the most out of their campaigns. Here are 5 hacks you can start using today to get you started.  They’ll cut down the time you spend monitoring campaigns and help you optimize.

1. LinkedIn

Limit your number of ads and launch new campaigns often

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is an awesome network with targeting options that no other network offers. For instance, you can reach niche audiences by targeting people by job title and seniority. This can be useful if your product or service is relevant to only a particular set of users or if you're looking to bring on a new hire. We saw success ourselves on LinkedIn by narrowing down our targeting to make sure we hit our niche audience of businesses that might be looking to advertise online.

It’s important to understand the differences between LinkedIn and other networks. LinkedIn Ads is a newer network and it has much lower volume than Google AdWords or BingAds. As your campaign gets going, LinkedIn tracks your ads to serve your ads with a higher CTR. That’s similar to the optimization AdWords offers, but advertisers may face problems with low traffic and inactivity when they’re first getting started on LinkedIn. To avoid this, stick to a few rules we’ve learned about creating an effective campaign.

Actions:

  • Campaigns should have 3 to 5 ads. LinkedIn recommends using at least 3 ads. If you're going to use more than 5, create a separate campaign.
  • Launch new campaigns often, reusing the highest performers and experimenting with new copy, headlines, and targeting - this gives your ads a fresh start.

Here is LinkedIn's best practices guide - their tips will help you build a strong campaign.

2. Google

Include search partners to understand where you're getting the most ROI

It may surprise some of you to learn the Google powers the search engines for big companies like AOL and Ask.com. (And Bing powers Yahoo! Search.) If you haven’t experimented with including these search partners in your campaigns, you may be missing out on a big opportunity to reach a larger audience and reduce the cost of converting customers.

All it takes is checking the "include search partner" option when setting up your search campaigns.

Action:

  • Include search partners in your next campaign and after a week, check reporting to see if Google Search or Search partners are bringing you the best value for your campaign. You may learn that you have a higher CTR and lower CPC on the search partners, or you may learn that search partners perform poorly and you’ll want to exclude them from your campaign. In either case, you'll optimize your campaigns by identifying the best channels for your ads.

google and search partners Google's search segmented by network

  • Note: While Bing doesn’t offer segmenting to show search partner performance, you can tag your URLs and setup a custom segment in Google Analytics to get the same effect.  (Here are some instructions to set it up)

3. Facebook

Demographic targeting reports

You’ll get a nice overview of the key performance metrics on Facebook by looking at their main dashboard, but for a little more information, dig through their reports. To understand the audience that is seeing your ads, use Facebook’s responder demographics reporting feature.

This will tell you who (by age, gender, and location) is seeing your ads for a given campaign:

Facebook demographics reporting Demographics Reporting

This is incredibly useful data to track, for quickly understanding who is seeing the majority of your impressions.

Actions:

  • If you make a targeting change, use this report to see how your audience impression share has changed. Be sure to exclude any segment of your audience that you don’t want seeing your ads.
  • For instance, above we see that over 18% of the impressions for this campaign are showing to people in Illinois and Colorado. If we decide those regions are no longer part of our target audience, we'll want to update this campaign to exclude those states from our targeting.

4. Google & Bing

Use the query report to identify keywords and negative keywords to add

Google (Campaigns>Keywords>Keyword details>All) and Bing (Reports>Query Report) both offer a nifty tool that lets you view the search queries people use before clicking on your ads.

Actions:

Use the search query report for two purposes:

1. Look for irrelevant queries that trigger your ads, and add negative keywords using those queries to prevent them from costing you money or hurting your CTR.
2. Look for profitable queries and add them as exact or phrase match keywords

google search query report Search Query Report

The screenshot above is a good example of example of a few bad queries:

  • "Advertising jobs" and "free advertising online" are irrelevant queries for AdStage so we should add “jobs” and “free advertising online” as negative keywords
  • If the other queries are profitable, we should add them as exact and phrase match, since they are currently broad and have a lot of traffic.

5. All networks

Run experiments

AdWords has the best built in functionality for running experiments, but don’t let that keep you from running experiments on the other networks as well. Test different changes to address particular problems you are trying to resolve and be disciplined about recording your test results, so you can measure and learn from your tests. Each test will give you an understanding of how you can tweak campaigns to get the most value from your ad spend.

Actions:

  • Good experiments to try in AdWords include: using new keywords, new ad text, different keyword match types, and bid adjustments. (Here's a good list from Google of what you can and cannot test.)
  • Every week, pick a day to take a few hours to review your campaigns with these hacks in mind - they come from experience, working with the best advertisers around, and from understanding the each network and their differences. Applying these tips will get you well on your way to optimizing your ad campaigns.

Bonus: Ultimate hack

Use AdStage

If you’d like to speed up creation and management of your campaigns, come check out the free beta of our new platform. AdStage is built to help you quickly create, deploy and optimize new campaigns simultaneously across Google, Facebook, Bing, and LinkedIn.

[button url="https://www.adstage.io/#get-started" target="_blank" label="Sign Up For AdStage Beta"]

Please let us know if this post was helpful to you. If you have other hacks in mind that might help other advertisers, please share them with us!

AdStage Team