From Facebook to AdWords, it’s important to have a strategic and effective digital strategy because it is impossible to compete with the big advertising players like Pampers, Gillette and L’Oreal. These brands spend upwards of $8 billion per year, which is just a tiny portion of their overall revenue.
Small and medium businesses need to maximize modest budgets in digital advertising to achieve ROI. But, more than that, without a meticulous understanding of digital ad auctions and algorithmic patterns this budget will be wasted.
Where many businesses go wrong is in their understanding of digital advertising platforms and their long-term strategy. When deciding to run ads online, you must budget carefully. To budget carefully and create successful ads, this is what every small and medium business should know:
The two digital advertising platforms that utilize auction formats are Facebook and Google AdWords. Before embarking into the digital advertising gladiator arena, it’s important to understand how your budget will be spent and the criteria used to display your ads.
Another strategy worth mentioning is Header Bidding. This alternative helps publishers have direct access to the advertisers buying digital ads because publishers run a pre-auction before the ad server to create a fair playing field for demand. It makes a combination of smaller ad networks function more like one larger network and increases your exposure to advertisers.
When a person submits a Google search AdWords finds all applicable ads for the matching keywords. Ads that are filtered out include those targeting a different country or those that have disapproved. Once the filtering is complete, that pool of applicable ads will be organized by those with the highest Ad Rank.
IMPORTANT: Ad Rank is a combination of your bid, ad quality and previous performance data to that landing page. Google’s sophisticated algorithm quantifies how a person behaves when on your landing page. If that person clicks on your ad, goes to your website and then immediately bounces off, Google takes this performance data into account.
Cost per click (CPC) is determined by the ad rank of the next highest ad below you divided by your Quality Score. AdWords penalizes advertisers with low quality scores because it does not view the content as relevant or useful to searchers.
Your goal as a small or medium business should be to acquire high quality scores to get higher ad ranks and lower CPC.
Facebook advertising is a similar auction format, but with the following exceptions. Since Google AdWords is serving ads to people that have submitted a search there is inherent user intent that Google is trying to accommodate. Facebook users are simply perusing their Newsfeed, but granular demographics data and user targeting attempts to display ads to very specific audiences.
This is important because Facebook is not placing as much emphasis as highest bid in its algorithm, but the ad most likely to create the overall value.
For each ad impression, the auction selects the best ads to run based on maximum bid and ad performance. All ads on Facebook compete against each other with Facebook’s algorithm determining the winner based on the ad that the audience will find most valuable.
It is a mathematical guess on which ad will have the best reaction.
Facebook has its own version of quality scores that are called Relevance Scores and this metric is important for guessing which ad a certain audience will find valuable.
IMPORTANT: Unlike Google, Facebook does not take into account how people react after clicking on your ad, simply garnering how people respond in terms of clicks, reactions, comments and shares. People also have the ability to respond very negatively to your ad by clicking the top right corner under “Hide Ad” or “Why am I seeing this ad?”
There, if they don’t think the ad is applicable to them they can “Hide All Ads from Advertiser” and this will impact your relevance score.
Now that you understand the auctions for display advertisements involve an analysis of relevance in combination with bid price, you might think this makes it even more difficult for modest businesses to compete. But, the secret for small and medium businesses is to have a very granular outline of their target audience.
This not only allows you to compete with less advertisers in the auction, it will dramatically increase your relevance or quality score because you understand the psychology of your target.
The first software necessary to create and verify your target audience is Google Analytics. This is THE most fundamental tool for digital advertising because it easily segments data to understand behavioural patterns, demographics, age, and interests.
It will also provide the data to verify the best platforms to advertise on, including Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit.
Another important element, social media analytics also allow you to understand who has been engaging with your profile — likes, comments, shares, re-tweets, pins, etc. When cross-referencing this data with Google Analytics you can get a clear picture of your target audience AND where they are most actively engaging.
This data allows you to personalize your advertising message to the most granular level to make your most digital ads valuable for that target audience.
As mentioned in our Facebook auction paragraph, relevance score is determined by your targeting and the corresponding audience’s reaction to your ad. Without a defined audience, a high relevance score is not common. Facebook gives its advertisers the targeting options of being as specific as:
- Speaks English (UK)
- Lives in Victoria, British Columbia
- Interested in technology
- Business owners
- Likes Facebook pages Forbes, Entrepreneur and VIATEC
You can also set up an audience like this as a Custom Audience so it can be used repeatedly. Once you have one or multiple Custom Audiences that match the data compiled in your research, you can use them to create Lookalike Audiences.
A Lookalike Audience is a fantastic way to reach people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to people who already are.
Retargeting is THE most important strategy for small and medium businesses to maximize their modest digital advertising budgets. It is also a powerful tool for finding people that are farther down the sales funnel — so more willing to click on your ads.
Let me explain.
When a person navigates to your website it sets a cookie retaining their information so you can target them by displaying ads on other sites they visit. You can use retargeting through Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords and AdRoll. This allows you to set up customized ads based on specific website interactions such as:
– Added item to cart but did not go to the Checkout page
– Visited the Services page
– Visited a Landing Page without clicking the call-to-action
The advantage of retargeting is that the audience being served the ads are already familiar with your business and understand what services or products you provide. It makes it is easier to convert your target audience because you are publishing an ad that has emotional resonance since it applies DIRECTLY to them.
These tips can provide the foundation for any advertising campaign. By implementing them strategically, your small or medium business is sure to see desired results!