How We Create Effective Google and Facebook Ad Campaigns

Creating effective PPC ads that generate useful leads and sales is a challenging process. How do we manage it here at Post Modern Marketing?



At Post Modern Marketing, we believe that it’s important to give business owners the information and tools they need to attain success. Following this line of thought, we previously discussed what you need to know before developing a Facebook ad campaign, and some time ago built a lead value calculator that determines how many leads an ad campaign needs to generate in order to justify its cost.

Obviously, while we provide these tools free of charge, we also make a living by creating and managing online marketing campaigns and PPC ads for our clients. Businesses come to us for assistance because, while it’s quite possible to self-manage your advertising and make a profit doing it, it’s difficult to:

  1. Manage the day-to-day requirements of your business, while…
  2. Investing significant amounts of time into developing an understanding of how online ads and analytics work, and then…
  3. Applying that knowledge to your advertising analytics, and then…
  4. Developing ad campaigns that take that data into account.

We have the expertise, skill, and time necessary to create online ads that are more effective than the typical business owner can put together in their spare time.

What can you expect to achieve if you put your business’s advertising campaign in the capable hands of Post Modern Marketing?  To give you an idea, here’s a brief overview of how we create an ad campaign.

First, you have to establish a baseline for your website’s organic and paid traffic.

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Before we develop a new ad campaign, we take time to examine site analytics from previous ad campaigns (assuming there have been previous ad campaigns). When we do this, we look at both organic and paid traffic to the client’s website.

In case you’re unclear, organic traffic is comprised of site visits you don’t pay for: people finding your site through search engine queries, article shares on Facebook and Twitter, clicking a backlink, or directly visiting your site by typing in the URL.

On the other hand, paid traffic is just that—visits resulting from ads you’ve paid for on Google, Facebook, and elsewhere.

Our examination of organic and paid traffic allows us to set two baselines: how your site performs when you’re not advertising, and how much paid traffic you’ve earned in previous ad campaigns. When we launch a new ad campaign, we can use these baselines to determine the ROI of the campaign, as well as how much we’ve improved on previous campaigns.

These are both important metrics. It’s great if the ROI is good, but not so good if we’re underperforming compared to previous campaigns.

When you’re an experienced marketer and know what you’re doing—as is the case with our Digital Marketing Specialist Katya Allison—this part of the process takes about an hour.

But that’s just the research part. Then you have to actually, you know… make an ad. Which in turn raises further questions.

What is it you want customers to do in response to your ad?

Obviously, the end goal is to get people to give you money. But you can’t get ahead of yourself. It really is important to determine what exact choice or action you’re looking to cultivate with your advertisement. Not knowing ahead of time what you’re doing leads to randomly boosting Facebook posts and creating overly broad (and expensive) AdWords ads that are linked to your site homepage and accomplish nothing.

Some examples of good, concrete advertising goals include getting visitors to:

  • Buy a product or service.
  • Request a call-back.
  • Sign up for a subscription service.
  • Click on a “learn more…” Facebook ad button.
  • RSVP for a special event.
  • Book a reservation.
  • Take advantage of a limited time offer.
  • Visit your site.
  • Sign up for a newsletter.
  • Create an account on your e-commerce site.
Example ad with a specific goal
An image from a recent ad we created. This is a great example of an ad that has a very specific goal: to get the viewer to book an appointment.

While these all boil down to more or less the same thing—getting people to give you their money or get that much closer to doing so—you have to really think realistically about the level of commitment you’re expecting from customers, in proportion to what that commitment means for them.

If you sell a $10 product or are running a half-off special for a $100 service, then it’s reasonable to try and get a potential customer to crack their wallet right then and there. If you’re looking to get people to take advantage of your limited time 10% discount on $400,000 timeshares, then you should proooooooooobably focus on getting people to commit to call backs from you to learn more about what you have to offer.

Once you know what your ad’s call-to-action is going to be, then you can build your ad around that goal. Generally speaking, we create ad campaigns for two platforms: Google and Facebook. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but there isn’t enough time to get into those distinctions here. Instead, let’s look at the commonalities of creating ads for these platforms. This makes practical sense, as we often create campaigns for both platforms to achieve a single goal, rather than picking and choosing between the two.

Google AdWords: You have less than a tweet’s worth of text space. Make it count.

As of late 2017, Google AdWords ads have two headlines which are shown side by side, separated by a hyphen (i.e. HEADLINE ONE – HEADLINE TWO). Each headline can contain up to 30 characters. Below that is a “display URL” which doesn’t have to match the actual URL, but which can contain up to two path fields to give context for what you’re offering (i.e. Finally, below that is the description field, which can contain a maximum of 80 characters.

AdWords doesn’t give you much room to work with. You need to think in terms of keywords: make sure that the headline and description contain specific keywords that tie into whatever you’re offering. Ads need to be specific.

You do not want to create an ad for your store as a whole. Rather, you want to create an ad for a specific product or service. If you’re a mechanic, a good headline might be, “BMW Oil Changes – Limited Time 20% Discount,” with a description that supports the headline. Then, the ad needs to link to a landing page on your site that describes your discounted BMW oil change special. Do NOT create an ad titled, “Automobile Repair – Call Us Today,” that links to your homepage. It will match with too many overly broad keywords, generate few to no clicks, and provide you with a low quality score, which affects the cost and placement of your ad.

Facebook Ads: I’ve got cat pics to look at, so your ad had better be compelling.

Facebook gives you much more leeway when it comes to text length, which isn’t surprising, as ads show up as typical Facebook posts. You can show about six to seven lines of text, after which the text is cut off by a blue “Continue Reading” link that has to be clicked to reveal the rest of the text.

Something to remember is the context in which someone will see a Google ad is entirely different than how someone encounters a Facebook ad. Google searchers are shown ads relevant to their search—they’re already at least somewhat interested in products like yours.

Facebook is more like a billboard: you’re looking to grab the attention of people who weren’t thinking about anything to do with your product until the second they saw your ad. And as with billboards, your audience is on the move, and you only have a few seconds to catch their attention before they move on.

Remember: Your ad needs to push for a specific action. Don’t start off by talking about how you recently remodeled, or your business’s mission statement, or how you like to rehabilitate injured ferrets. Get to the point. Even if you write 200 words, the first 10 need to be compelling and make it clear (1) what you have to offer, and (2) give a compelling reason why the viewer should care. Never forget that you’re communicating with a distracted audience that’s asking, “I was just scrolling through cat pictures and cringing at my uncle’s second cousin’s rants about chemtrails—why do I care about your oil change service?”

The great thing about Facebook is that you can use photos, GIFS, videos, slideshows, and other imagery to grab attention. But you can’t just have Janice in accounting throw together a quick and dirty JPEG image for you. The quality of your imagery matters. In our previous post about creating successful Facebook ad campaigns, we discussed the fact that in one campaign, we saw a 41% increase in clicks and 89% increase in impressions after we hired a new graphic designer and had her design a new image for the campaign.

To be effective, your image needs to make sense in the context of your ad, and be tonally consistent with your branding. If you’re a little on the cutesy or down to earth side, you have some flexibility; in a recent campaign for a prominent HVAC company, we ran an ad for an air conditioner repair special with an adorable dog lolling its tongue out and looking just a little too warm. In this case, a cute doggy photo made sense.

Example of a persuasive Facebook ad
Notice how the image is performing two actions: Making us feel why we need AC, while the outstretched arms guide the viewer’s eyes back toward the promotional text.

But you can’t just throw a cat meme into your ad for a $200 women’s hair treatment product. In that case, you probably need to showcase what your product does (i.e. make hair look amaaaaaaazing) and make viewers need to look as good as the woman in the photo.

This can be very challenging. Amy Ly, our graphic designer, can spend quite a while trawling through stock photos and customer-supplied imagery to find something suitable, and then modifying it in Photoshop to achieve the look she wants. Then Katya, our marketing specialist, will sit down with her and evaluate Amy’s work, make suggestions, and work with her to create a compelling image that dovetails with the text of the ad and supports its overall goal.

Then you actually have to create your Google or Facebook ad, and make sure it links to an effective page.

Once we have our text (and in the case of Facebook, our image) nailed down, we have to actually create the ad. Google AdWords is extremely time-consuming at this point, as you have to identify appropriate keyword groups to target, set your bids, and so on. Facebook ads take less time to implement, but coming up with the ad content is more laborious.

Between analytics research, conceiving of an ad idea, writing the ad text, creating an image (if advertising on Facebook), and implementing the ad on Google or Facebook, a single digital ad can take around 4 hours. As mentioned at the top of this post, we often create both Facebook and Google ads for a single campaign, which means we can eat up most of a standard business day before we’re done.

On top of this, we make sure that the ad links to an appropriate landing page, or targeted, content-rich product page. You cannot link an ad to a bare bones product page that has nothing more than a couple photos and a “buy now” button, or the homepage of your site. You need to have a landing page that is specifically designed with your ad in mind, and which supports the specific goal of your ad. (Keep in mind that Facebook also offers a variety of advertising options that don’t involve linking to a landing page, such as Lead Generation forms—we’ll discuss those another time.) Failing to do so can affect your ad’s effectiveness, how often it is shown, its cost-per-click, and its overall ability to convert.

All in all, an effective online ad needs to answer three basic questions (in this order):

  1. What?What are you offering? What’s this about? If you don’t make this crystal clear right off the bat, no one will care.
  2. Why?Why do I care? Why do I want to spend my money on you? Maybe it’s a discount, or your product is just that darn good. But you need to give a compelling rationale for why I care about your offer and not the 5,000 other ads competing for my eyeballs.
  3. How?How do I act on your offer? If I have to spend more than half a second figuring out how to take advantage of this opportunity, I’m probably going to lose interest. So clearly and concisely show me how you want me to respond.

Creating successful, profitable ad campaigns is a serious, significant time investment. That’s the difference between self-managing the ads for your business in your spare time, quickly throwing ads together when you have the odd minute or downtime in the evening, and having a dedicated online marketing agency handle your advertising: the research, the level of effort, and the expertise of skilled marketers and designers.

And odds are, you have competitors who have professional marketers—like us—working for them. Can you keep up on your own?

If you want to know more about how Post Modern Marketing can help you craft a compelling Google or Facebook advertising campaign, click the “Get in Touch” button below, or give us a call. What are you waiting for?

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