Paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and other popular ad platforms can be one of the most effective ways to promote your business. However, some paid digital advertising can also be a massive waste of money if your ads say the wrong things to the wrong people. 

How do you know what works and what doesn’t when running PPC (pay-per-click) ads

Three Components To Master

Whether it’s your first time running a paid search ad or your hundredth, the process that goes into creating an advertising campaign is always the same. Focus on the basics, and then edit and enhance as needed. 

Start with mastering these three key components: your messaging (the words you use), your creative (image, videos, or graphics), and the ad’s targeting (who sees your ads). 

1. Messaging

Words and messaging are a powerful tool in advertising. When you have a clear and concise message, you connect directly with your audience.

Use messaging that tells a story and speaks directly to your audience. Speak as a guide that helps meet your target customer’s needs. Use simple, clear messaging in a voice that reflects your brand and resonates with your audience. Help your customer be the hero of their own story, and guide them to their own success. 

2. Creative 

Use creative that connects and engages with your audience’s emotions. Try incorporating images that support the message and help the viewer envision themselves with the outcome they want to experience. Sharing empathy through imagery is also extremely important to consider. 

When you’re choosing creative, select benefits over features. Focus on the benefits of what your business has to offer instead of the features included in your product or service. Viewers will better connect with your ad when they see real people’s faces in your photos and creative. 

3. Targeting 

Targeting your audience helps dictate who sees your ad and helps cater your content to a specific group of people. 

Target your ads with purpose. Choose the correct platform where your customers congregate to run ads. Then, identify who your primary customers are and what their characteristics include. Use ad targeting settings to isolate your audience’s persona using demographics, behaviors, locations, and keywords. 

Targeting your ads helps ensure you’re not wasting your campaign’s budget. If your ads are targeted to the wrong audience, you will lose money on the advertisement and waste the time investment spent in customizing your messaging and creative. 

Custom Ads For Each Audience

If you have more than one audience (which you probably do), you should have more than one ad. This means that your messaging, creative, and targets should speak directly to that audience. For example, a campground with audiences, including parents, campers, and counselors, may want to utilize different phrases, imagery, and targeted age groups for each ad set. 

Enhancing Your Ads

Now that you’ve created your ads, it’s time to enhance them. Don’t just publish the ad and think that’s the end of the process. Remember these important best practices:

  1. Don’t worry about perfection. It’s important to test and then evaluate, tweak, and test again. 
  2. Don’t “set it and forget it.” Measure the performance of your ads, adjust your messaging, creative, and targeting as needed. Then, measure again.
  3. Learn from your competition. This is an easy way to see what’s working and what’s not. Review ads from similar companies, adopt what works, and improve upon the items they’re using. 

Boost Your Bookings 

Advertise with a purpose. Plan your campaigns by identifying your target audience, your voice, your creative, and your products and services. When you’re ready to run an ad, we encourage you to do your own keyword research and track down where your ideal audience frequently visits 

Use analytics and conversion tracking to measure the success of your campaigns and collect data. Regular maintenance and testing will also help you tweak your ad to the most effective version possible. Promote the things that do best and pause the things that don’t work well. 

Your ads may take a few rounds of tweaking, but if you put a clear focus on your messaging, creative, and targeting, your analytics and results will reflect that.

Connect With Improve & Grow

As you create ads and work through your messaging, creative, and targets, you may come across other questions. We suggest you reference the variety of free resources available to you in our meetup conversation on boosting your bookings

If you’re looking for further support or assistance in running an advertising campaign, our team is always happy to help. Feel free to schedule a discovery meeting with our experts to answer any of your questions and assist with your digital advertising. 

Meet the Author:

Skip Lefever

Skip Lefever, Digital Marketing Services Director

Skip is our Director of Pay-Per-Click marketing services, where he helps our clients turn clicks into revenue. Skip also has a background in executive leadership, management consulting, leadership development, strategic & business planning, process improvement and project management services for business owners and executives in for-profit and non-profit environment. He is an expert analyst and with a track record of driving continual improvement.