A lot of times we’re asked to form proposals for companies that wish to enter the digital foray for the first time or are seeking out improvements beyond Google indiscriminate targeting that comes with “Smart Campaigns.”
The inquiry usually calls for a combination of brand awareness efforts and lead generation. To keep things simple we’ll avoid getting into ecommerce solutions for this example. There are three main components that go into a successful online advertising campaign:
- A website with a specific landing page set up for your campaign destination url
- Tracking code installed
- The Ads campaign itself
The Landing Page
Before we can think about purchasing ad traffic we need to ensure we have a place to send it that is set up in such a way to achieve your goals. Whether that goal is branding and communications oriented or more action oriented is up to you. Whatever your goals are, they need to be clearly communicated above the fold on the page where they land.
If the primary goal is lead generation, make sure you have a prominently featured call-to-action prompting users to either click-to-call, click-to-email, submit a form on page, sign up for a newsletter or book an appointment to name a few.
You need to know what your users are doing once they land on your page. There’s no good spending hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars on clicks and impressions if you don’t know if your users are engaged or immediately bouncing of the page. To gain some insight on such behaviour, it is considered best practice to install tracking code on to your website.
The most common analytics suite is, you guessed it: Google Analytics. This is a free service offered by google which allows you to determine what users are doing once they land on your website after installing a few snippets of code which they supply.
Google isn’t the only company that offers analytics tracking software and in order to clean up some of the mess that would be caused by installing half a dozen sets of code on each page, they have come up with a clean solution in Google Tag Manager. Tag Manager acts as a “container” where you install this on your site once and then any new tracking you decide to use can be configured offsite through Tag Manager’s own interface. It may sound redundant, but it makes future changes a lot easier and less time consuming.
Once your tracking code is installed we need to set up conversion actions. A conversion action can be anything such as a button click (phone number, email, url, form submission, add to cart, etc), scrolling action, app downloads, in-app purchases, streams… just about any sort of action that could be taken on your site. When the tracking code is set up to count such actions, we’ll then be able to determine which component of our advertising campaign is responsible for the converting action.
The Ad Campaign
Going into all the different campaign types can get pretty in depth, especially considering Google offers seven different types on its platform alone but we’re keeping things simple today, so we’re just going with the meat and potatoes.
- Search engine ads
- Content network display ads
Sorry Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bing, LinkedIn and the rest, but we have to remain focused today. The tried and tested Google Search ads are a fixture at the top of their search engine results page.
Perform some keyword research to discover what search terms people are using that is relevant to your business and show your ads beside the top organic search results. Similarly you can also bid on competitor terms, just don’t put any brand names you do not own in the ad text itself or else it will be disapproved.
Google-display operates differently than the search engine marketing ads. For display ads you are not limited to a text only medium like with the search campaigns. Instead you can run images, text, a combination of both or even in-banner video creatives.
Display ads targeting can be segmented by demographics, content topic, predefined user affinity, in-market purchase intent, life events and even more customized audience segments such as past search engine queries or website visits.
Once your campaign is set up it’s important to keep vigilant and remain on the path to campaign optimization with regular analysis and adjustments to the various traffic delivery settings.