Top 21 Google and Facebook Ad Strategies from CEOs, Tech Founders, and Educators that will enhance your small business’ campaigns.
Navigating Facebook vs. Google Adwords pay per click campaigns can be hard. I know!
There are so many details to keep in mind: Ad types, demographics, offers, sales copy, timing, keyword cost, retargeting, etc…
Not to mention the landing page! And looking online for advice can take hours (let’s face it – years) too. To give you some clear answers on what the best ad campaign may look like, I went straight to the top.
I asked top CEOs, Ad Tech Founders and advertising experts who spend every day with Google and Facebook ads for their best strategies and tips. That way:
You know you’re getting advice that works.
All of the tips they shared below are steps you can start applying in your business today. But…
…I also made something else for you too.
After reading through all of our expert’s recommendations, I gathered their top 10 most suggested Facebook advertising and Google AdWords tips and put in an infographic for you.
Here you go:
Now, let’s look at what experts had to say about social media marketing and Google advertising campaigns.
Firstly, here’s the question I asked them:
Here’s what the industry experts shared in response:
Emeric Ernoult, CEO, AgoraPulse
“Retargeting on Facebook is the safest way to see results.”
There’s no one size fits all approach to get successful ad campaigns. I can only share what worked and didn’t work for us!
First advertising is costly, whatever the platform. I always favor organic growth against paid growth. Most of the money we’ve spent on advertising has been wasted. Keep that in mind as it’s probably going to be the case for your business too!
Something that has worked for us is Facebook retargeting. Not Google (it was a disaster), just Facebook. Try as many retargeting experiments as possible, because some will work great and some won’t. But overall, retargeting on Facebook is the safest way to see a positive result.
If you want to compete and win in 2017, you need to implement a coherent video marketing strategy on Facebook. A senior VP of Marketing recently announced that “by 2020 our consumption of content will be all videos and all mobile”. Facebook Ads are still the cheapest for now and I would certainly recommend that a small business leverage the power of Facebook targeting ability. The capacity to pinpoint your target consumer on Facebook is simply amazing. So get good at producing videos, and become a ninja at Facebook Ads would be my recommendation (or find someone that is).
Ian Cleary, Founder. Razor Social
“Outsource your ad campaigns”
I think small businesses should outsource their ad campaigns to get best results because they typically do not have the time or skills to get them performing well. If they are not outsourcing they need to invest their time in testing and analytics. That’s the only way of improving your results.
Marco, Content Marketing, LeadsBridge
“Use These 3 Facebook Features: Lead Ads, Retargeting & Instant Articles”
As well known, it is always a must for small businesses getting consistent and stable results in order to keep alive your business. I also understand, that you are looking for the best practical, low-cost solutions for your business and therefore here are the key points to focus on in 2017 in order to collect remarkable results in your ads campaign:
- Use Facebook Lead ADS campaign: Facebook Lead Ads is a cost-effective tool. In fact, it is cheaper than traditional Facebook Ads when driving traffic to a landing page. From experience, using Facebook lead ads has cost 8 times less compared to other online advertising channels.
- CRM Retargeting & Dynamic custom audience: A solid integration between your CRM and your Facebook ads campaign is a must. As explained in this post, those on the CRM mailing list who also saw Facebook Ads were 22% more likely to complete a purchase. The dynamic custom audience helps you to increase the performance of your campaign. In fact, it enables you to build smart ads campaigns, where the target audience always sees the right ad. This leads to another benefit: targeting the right audience with the right ads unquestionably decreases our ads cost due to the higher ad relevance.
- Facebook Instant article with Newsletter prefilled form: this new Facebook feature will allow you to collect more leads with your content marketing strategy. I think that it is a great update for every business that operates a mobile marketing strategy. In fact, recent stats reveal that there are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users on Facebook, which represents the 90% of total Facebook’s daily active users. Why not trying to catch them? Thanks to this new Facebook integration our marketing content strategies has never been so effective before. In fact, we will be able to promote our brand new content and at the same time collect qualified lead for our campaign.
Colette Nataf, CEO, Ligthtening AI
“Don’t get distracted by Superficial Marketing metrics. Focus on Revenue!”
Small business owners need to be prepared. Ad campaigns mean companies are going to increase their traffic – to a website, an office or store.
Start thinking holistically about your product. If you’re sending users to a website, what is the action you want them to take? Is it easy for them to complete that action?
Every company is going to be different – so start thinking about your marketing funnel. How are people coming to your website? What actions are they taking on your site and how do you actually gain revenue? Make sure you can track each of these actions, whether you’re using Google Analytics, Mixpanel or Segment. You need to be able to see what your users are doing so you can make the best decisions possible.
Ensure that you have a budget to start using for advertising, but use that budget to actively make decisions. If you have 200 users who have visited your site and no email submissions, what does that mean to you? Don’t get distracted by superficial marketing metrics – small businesses especially need to focus on revenue, not just likes and clicks.
Best of luck! Marketing can seem tough at first, but it’s amazing the powerful differences strong campaigns can make on your business.
Mark Stephenson, Digital Director, ColDesi Inc.
“Small businesses need to spend time educating themselves and improving their ad campaign sophistication”
This year there has been and will continue to be, an increased need for sophistication, education, and dedication to pay per click for a small business to get good results. As recently as last year I think that a smart small business person could delve into FB Advertising, Google or Bing and do pretty well, depending on the niche, market area, etc. Now I’m not a certain.
All of the PPC platforms have been getting better at a variety of things that professional marketers need, appreciate and take advantage of, but as each layer or feature gets added the best results get farther and farther away from the capabilities of most small business people.
With all that said, here are my tips for a small business to get the best results:
- Your landing page has to convert – I’ve run what I thought were very successful campaigns only to tweak and test the landing page and get an addition 50%+ conversions off of the same ad. Spend just as much time on the landing page as you do on the ad.
- Facebook Video ads – if you’re not doing this right now, just stop the rest and focus on learning this platform and skill
- STAY informed – it seems like there’s a new feature or interface change every month on every platform. Pick a few podcasts or other education methods and stay tuned.
- Take advantage of every feature in every ad, especially for Google AdWords – phone number, review… everything.
Amy Hebdon, Paid Search Director, Blast Analytics & Marketing
“Define goals to reflect the ideal action you want customers to take”
Before anything else, set your goals based on what’s most relevant to your business. Many small businesses are only focused on click volume, which is nuts in 2017. Your goals should reflect the action you want your ideal customers to take. Make sure your offers, landing pages, campaigns, and tracking specifically support your defined goals.
Todd Saunders, CEO, AdHawk
“Industry keywords can be expensive. Look for alternative bidding strategies”
Industry specific keywords can get extremely expensive & not profitable for many small businesses to bid on. You must look at alternative strategies. Bidding on competitors’ brand names is a good way to drive relevant traffic to your business without having to bid on the costly industry keywords. You can also use Gmail ads to target people who are getting emails from your competitors. These are both cheaper ways to drive relevant traffic to your website.
Wijnand Meijer, Co-founder and CEO, TrueClicks
“Save your Budget for the most attractive prospects”
Sculpt your traffic
As a small business, you probably don’t have enough budget to show ads at all times to all your potential customers. But instead of lowering bids and budgets overall, try to exclude segments of traffic that are least profitable or maybe even irrelevant.
That way, you save your budget for your most interesting prospects, where you should be able to bid high and show your ads most of the time.
Some segments you can exclude from your campaigns:
- Geographical locations
- Time of day and day of week
- And add plenty of negative keywords obviously
Michelle Bridger, Founder, Michelle Bridger Consulting
“Advertise with an investment mindset. Be tenacious. Speak to your client’s struggle.”
Here are my 4 Tips for Facebook advertising. (In my opinion, Facebook is the best online advertising platform).
1. Go into it with an investment mindset.
2. Be tenacious. It takes testing to get the offer right.
3. Go into it with a ‘give’ mentality. See what you can give first to benefit your ideal client to increase knowledge, like and trust. Then after giving value, you can ask for the sale.
4. Speak to your customer’s struggle in your ad-copy, and the benefit you can provide that can help them out of that struggle.
Ann Marie Hanlon, Sr. Lecturer in Dig. Marketing, Derby Business School
“Have clear objectives for all your ad campaigns”
Only start an online ad campaign when you have clear goals. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you want to raise awareness of your product or service? If yes, to whom and why?
- Do you want to increase conversions on your website? If yes, by what percentage?
- Do you want to increase retention with existing customers? Again, by what percentage?
Having clear objectives from the start makes for a focused campaign with a clear purpose and it’s easier to measure the results.
Patrick Heer, Social Media Expert, Freelance Consultant
“Social contests are powerful. Everyone loves to win something.”
“Everyone loves winning stuff. That’s why contests are so powerful. If you aren’t already using social media contests then you should test them out. For example, you could run a hashtag contest on Instagram and use ads to reach a larger audience. It’s one of the most engaging ad campaigns you can run.”
Justin Obrien, SMM & SEM Expert, Coursenvy.com (70K+ students on Udemy)
“Split test everything. No matter if it’s your 1st or 500th campaign.”
We a Coursenvy.com are always telling our students to SPLIT TEST! Too many times a newbie (or tenured) marketer will create a single ad and await results. Even if it is your first or 500th ad, you should at a minimum always split test two ads. And by split test, I mean test ONE variable difference between the two+ ads.
Ad #1 – Location: USA, Age: 18-34 (men and women), Interest: “Social Media Marketing”, Ad creative: Single image
Ad #2 – Location: USA, Age: 18-34 (men ONLY), Interest: “Social Media Marketing”, Ad creative: Single image
Ad #3 – Location: USA, Age: 18-34 (men and women), Interest: “Social Media Marketing”, Ad creative: Video
Ad #4 – Location: UK, Age: 18-34 (men and women), Interest: “Social Media Marketing”, Ad creative: Single image
Ad #5 – Location: USA, Age: 18-34 (men and women), Interest: “Facebook Marketing”, Ad creative: Single image
By testing one variable at a time, we are able to look at our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators — such as cost per click) and determine which ad variables are getting the most favorable results. Then start new ad campaigns split testing the BEST variables from this first round of split tests! I compare ads to the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule). This rule states roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So split test your ads to FIND the TOP 20% results… then crank up the ad spend once you have concluded that optimal target market (but keep the content fresh as even a PERFECT target group can get burnt out on the same ad creative).
Purna Virji, Senior PPC & SEO Training Officer, Microsoft
“Audience targeting makes the most out of every dollar.”
I’d highly recommend focusing heavily on audience targeting to make the most out of every dollar spent. Both Bing Ads and Google AdWords provide options for Custom Audience targeting, In-market audiences and Similar Audiences which are incredibly easy to set up. Small businesses can layer on bid modifications such as geotargeting to get increased benefits.
Ryan Kulp, Founder, Fomo
“To get fast results, start advertising for your competitor’s brand name.”
If you’re just getting into SEM (AdWords), it can take weeks to dial in the best keywords for your brand. To get results faster, start advertising for your competitor’s brand name, exact match. If that earns clicks/conversions, you at least know that SEM works for products similar to yours. Then you can spend a few minutes typing in keywords you believe in, and see if your competitor shows up for them. Maybe they don’t, and maybe it’s because they figured something out on their own dime that you can learn from.
John Morton, Director of Sales, Archive Digital
“Optimize your ads for mobile.”
Here are my 6 steps to optimizing your campaign.
- Make sure your ad is speaking to an identified, proven and tested “persona” that will get value out of your ad!
- Make sure your ad is value driven vs sales related!
- Turn on frequency capping!
- Optimize all your ads for mobile devices!
- Test multiple variants!
- QA and test your conversion pixels ahead of time, and attribute dollar amounts to your KPIs so you know what your investment is doing!
Jeff Sauer, Founder, Jeffanalytics.com
“Focus on areas that go under the radar. Use RLSA to find similar audiences.”
Instead of trying to compete with the big-spenders, play small ball with your budgets. Big budgets target broad, unqualified masses. You can never compete against their inefficiency. It’s a war of attrition.
Focus on the areas that go under their radar in order to succeed. Instead of targeting all searchers, use RLSA and similar audiences. Instead of treating all devices equally, focus on the one that moves the needle.
Play to your strengths. Avoid weaknesses. Your budget is small enough that you can maximize results from a position of strength. As long as you don’t let vanity or delusions of grandeur get in the way.
If your strength is in your sales process, drive people to call you on the phone. If your strength if your local presence, use location extensions to drive traffic. If your strength is customer satisfaction, draw attention.
Instead of trying to “do all the things” just focus on doing a few of them exceptionally.
Mark Irvine, Senior Data Scientist, WordStream
“Focus your ad copy to highlight benefits to the end user.”
Where I see too many small and medium businesses failing on search is in trying to be everything to everyone. Amazon and eBay may be able to afford a team to manage millions of keywords and dominate every SERP, but unless you’ve got a similar budget, you’re going to need to plan your PPC differently. Outthink – don’t outspend – the bigger competitors. Even in the most competitive markets, there’s room to own a strategic segment of the market.
Target your audience strategically. Sure, anyone can become a customer, but your target audience shouldn’t be everyone in 2017. Think of how different demographics and users may be looking for entirely different things when a search for the same keywords and how you may want to target these audiences differently. Your past visitors and purchasers will nearly always be more valuable than new searchers, so be sure to dedicate more budget and higher bids for these loyal customers and allow yourself a separate budget to attract newer customers. Use the data within your account to see how searchers of different genders, ages, incomes, and parental status convert on your site to refine your targets and optimize your campaigns.
Write your ads for your audience, not your keywords. Writing a relevant ad for a user’s search is important, but it’s too easy for advertisers to forget that ads aren’t served to keywords – they’re served to people! Focus your ad copy on highlighting the benefits of your product to the end user, instead of promoting details of your product’s features (i.e. “Lose 10 lbs by Summer” will always outperform “Complete Diet Plans”). Also, as your refine your audience targeting, consider serving different ads to different audiences to provide a more significant offer and call to action for different users.
Finally, prepare to be surprised! You may think you have a very good idea as to who and how people search for your product. Use that insight to set your campaigns off on the right foot, but if you discover that unexpected audiences or keywords perform better for you, then good! Use new data and insights from your search campaigns to revise your strategy. You may learn something about your customers that changes not only how you target them on paid search, but across your other marketing channels as well!
James Svoboda, CEO& Partner, WebRanking.com
“Focus on your most important audience.”
For Small Businesses to succeed in PPC ad campaigns in 2017 they need to focus on their most important audience. They can do that best by leveraging campaign settings and targeting options in the following way.
1. Focus Campaigns by Location to help you improve ad relevance and control your ad spend.
2. Run Ads by during prime Days of the Week and Hours of the Day to use your budget effectively.
3. Use Demographic Targeting for Search to reach your desired audience by gender and age.
4. Add Remarketing Targeting to Search campaign to help reconnect with customers who are still looking to make their final decision.
5. Advertise Popular and Profitable Products and Services First, lower and 2nd tier ones later, if ever.
6. Choose Keywords that are well defined and extremely targeted to your Products and Services… “Women’s Running Shoes” is a better-defined keyword than “Shoes”.
Sierd van der Bij, Digital Marketing Expert, Amazee Metrics
“Define your targets, Create content to progress clients and Measure results.”
Small businesses often have limited resources for ad campaigns. They are restricted by mainly two areas: Money and time. Therefore, it is even more important for small businesses to create very targeted and effective ad campaigns. The following five steps help small businesses to achieve this goal:
- Define your target group: First, we advise you to think about who your target group is, what they are looking for, how they research products or services and how they would like to be addressed. The more you know about your target group, the more targeted you can make your campaigns.
- Define your marketing goal: You can only measure the effectiveness of your campaigns when you have clear goals. Furthermore, the goal defines which message and which channels are effective. You should ask yourself what you would like to achieve with your ad campaign: Are you looking to increase website traffic, improve your ranking positions in search engines or do you have specific conversion goals like lead generation or online sales?
- Create the right content: In today’s world, people are overwhelmed by information. To stand out, you need to create content that is valuable for your target group. Create content that assists in every step of the buying process. Typically, a user conducts several informational types of research in the web before making a purchase decision. The sooner users get in touch with your brand, the more likely they are to complete your conversion goals.
- Choose the right channels: When you know your target group and goal and once you have created the right content, the next step is to think about the channels. Does your target group use Google to find what they are looking for? Then search engine optimizations (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA) will be effective. Are you offering an innovative product that nobody is looking for yet? Then you should rather launch a branding campaign, using, for example, the Google Display Network and Facebook Ads.
- Measure your campaigns: If you have set clear goals, you can measure your campaigns and continuously improve their effectiveness. You can also learn a lot about your target group by analyzing their behavior.
Diego Davila, Director, Up Mind
“Driving traffic straight to an offer is a big mistake.”
I am so grateful for our industry’s experts to have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience with you and I. But…
We would love to hear from you too! What did you think of the strategies? Are you implementing any of the strategies in your own business? Do you have a story to share?
Do you have a Facebook or Adwords strategy or tip that you would like to share with everyone that has helped you?
Let us know in the comment section below!
Thank you again to all our Contributors: