Whether you’re initiating Facebook ad campaigns or distributing your content on Outbrain, paid media is a great tool for getting noticed in an increasingly noisy online world.
But how do you enhance the impact of your paid media efforts if you’re already leveraging ads for content promotion?
Digital marketing consultant Megan Leap says, “If you’re running paid media campaigns, it’s important to adopt an ‘always be testing’ mentality and constantly look for new opportunities to optimize your results.”
Here are six tips for making your paid media more effective.
As you continue to accumulate data, you will need to review it and refocus your efforts to improve ROI. If you’re advertising on social media, which sites are performing best? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn? YouTube?
If you’re distributing your content on Outbrain, Taboola and native advertising platform Nativo, which of these sites is giving you the best return on investment?
The extra time it takes to determine where your buyers are seeking out community and information makes it possible to further refine your paid media efforts, boosting their effectiveness in the process.
Re-examine the content you’re amplifying. Is it an article, video, whitepaper or infographic? Is it the kind of content that will resonate with and engage your audience? Would they find it valuable? Would they willingly enter their email address to gain access to it?
Refer back to the data your campaigns produce, your marketing software or your Buyer Insight Process. What does this data tell you about the kind of content your target audience wants and needs?
It might seem basic to suggest that better content is going to convert better. But it is still an important consideration in your efforts to increase paid media effectiveness. Promote the right content for maximum results.
Your ads don’t need to be promotional to be effective. There are even times when this might be detrimental to the success of your campaign.
Inbound marketing is a value-first strategy. The same mentality can be applied to your ads.
When you think of social networks like Twitter and Facebook, it’s important to remember these are places where conversations are already taking place. Trying to insert a promotion into the mix is akin to interrupting the interaction.
Ask yourself why you should be showing up in your audience’s news feed. And if your ad is more promotional in nature, you need to identify how your offer is valuable to your audience.
Whether you’re advertising on social media or using content distribution platforms to boost the visibility of your content, if your goal is to increase conversions, creating custom landing pages should be a priority.
According to Kevan Lee, director of marketing at Buffer, “Some of the most successful social media advertising campaigns include custom landing pages, where the copy carries over from the ad and the action is crystal clear.”
The advantage of a landing page, of course, is that you can clear away the distracting menus, sidebars and widgets, and get visitors to focus on the message you’re sharing with them. Since they already said “yes” with the first click, they will be more inclined to buy the product or enter their information into the signup form when they arrive on your landing page, so long as the offer is right.
The greater the number of shares, the greater the effectiveness of the ad. Naturally, paid campaigns boost the visibility of your content, which can lead to more shares. But you aren’t guaranteed interaction. If you can encourage a greater number of social shares, the effects of your ad will be magnified.
Digital marketing consultant Nate Shivar explains that running a campaign on Outbrain can help you generate more organic social shares. Since Outbrain ads look less like traditional ads and more like content, visitors don’t have their guard up and are more in “discovery mode” than in “avoidance mode.”
Don’t forget to make your content easy to share. If there aren’t any convenient sharing buttons on your website, there will be fewer people taking the extra step to copy and paste your URL into their favorite social network.
Split testing shouldn’t be a foreign concept to any seasoned marketer. The idea is to try small variations on the same ads to determine how a specific button color, headline or other element affects click-through or conversion rate. This is a great way to further optimize your ads.
Rocco Alberto Baldassarre, founder and CEO of Zebra Advertisement, says it’s important to “test combinations of different split tests. For example, take the winning headline and put it with various descriptions to determine the winning description. Now put the winning description with one of the other tested headlines to see how it does. It might even outperform the winning headline/description combination.”
The exact specifics of ad setup depend on the platform you’re using, but in most cases you can change the headline and accompanying image to fine-tune how your target audience is responding to the ad.
Similarly, you can run split tests with your landing pages and offers to determine what variation leads to the most conversions.
Once you’re up and running, paid media is mostly a matter of fine-tuning. As you track, measure, review and iterate, you’ll find meaningful insights and patterns that allow you to boost clicks and conversions.
Robert Rose, chief strategy adviser of Content Marketing Institute, confirmed the value of this approach when he said, “Those who are using paid methods and finding them effective do so with wide experimentation, collaboration with cross-functional teams, a meaningful budget and more focus on building an audience as a measurement of success than their less effective peers.”
Paid media is an audience-building tool. Don’t just measure engagement—measure your effectiveness in growing your audience.