Paid traffic is big money these days. According to TechCrunch, global spending on Internet-based paid media will be $140.5 billion in 2015. As a business owner, you should take advantage of this advertising method to grow your business. But you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.
I talked about the basics of how to promote your landing pages with paid traffic in a previous blog post. In the next two “Now What” articles, I’m going to take a closer look at different kinds of paid media and how you can use them to drive traffic to your landing page.
There are two different types of paid traffic ads:
- Interruptive: Ads that pop up in your social media feeds or on websites that have display ad sections. These ads are typically either “broadcast,” meaning the advertisers are trying to get their products in front of as many eyes as possible, or they’re targeted ads that advertisers believe will appeal to you. The ad viewer is not actively searching for information when the ad is displayed.
- Intentional: These are the pay-per-click (PPC) ads you see at the top of your search engine results page (SERP), and contextually on relevant websites. Typically they have little yellow or grey “Ad” labels at the beginning. The ad viewer is actively searching or exploring a topic when the ad is displayed.
But which one should you choose to drive traffic to your landing page?
I’ll dig into intentional ads in the next blog post in this series. Right now, I’ll dive into interruptive ads: how they work, where they show up, and how to use them most effectively. Equipped with this analysis, you’ll know which (one or both) to use for your business goals and budget.
This is the question many social media users and web surfers keep asking themselves when they see random ads pop up in their feeds or on the blogs and news sites they frequent. Sometimes the ads are for random products they may never even consider buying. Other times the ads feature products from websites they’ve visited.
These ads are all considered interruptive media. They “interrupt” our daily lives, showing up in one form or another to distract us from what we’re doing. Sometimes they interest us, sometimes they don’t.
These ads are typically lumped in with things like telemarketing, email spam, and junk mail. But, as with these other interruptive marketing methods, they can be effective. The trick with interruptive ads is to get the right content in front of the right audience. This drastically increases the odds of your campaign having a positive return on investment (ROI).
Interruptive ads can be found in:
Your feed on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin:
On the right side of the page in Facebook (also referred to as “right-hand column” ads):
On blog sites, news sites and other websites that sell advertising space on their pages as part of a display ad network:
So do these ads really work?
Yes, they do—if you use them right.
If you’ve flipped through a magazine or spent more than 5 minutes on the Internet, you have been exposed to both types of ads.
The ad you see directly above in my Huffington Post example is a broadcast ad. This ad shows up to millions of people, most of whom have no interest in getting Verizon’s service. Ads like this may catch your attention for a moment, but you’ll probably ignore them, because they don’t apply to you.
This method is also referred to as the “Shotgun Approach” or the “Spray and Pray” method. These ads blast a random message out to the masses in hopes of hitting the mark at least a small portion of the time.
Unless you have an unlimited advertising budget, you should avoid this approach. Most advertisers in this space are trying to pay as little as possible to get their ads in front of as many people as possible. The metrics they use to track their campaigns are very different.
Network display ads have become very common and are one of the income streams bloggers and website owners use to boost their income. They sell ad space on their websites and choose a platform to advertise with. That platform matches display ads to the space available. Common platforms include Google Display Network, Yahoo! Audience Network and Microsoft Media Network.
People offering the advertising space can choose to display ads that are complementary to their own products or the subject of their blog, like the UPS ad below (found on the Entrepreneur.com website), or broadcast ads like the Verizon ad (above).
Regular readers of Entrepreneur.com are probably running their own businesses or involved in businesses that may need services from UPS. This is a better use of broadcast advertising, as this ad will probably reach more people who are interested in what is being offered.
Targeted advertising is different. If you are doing targeted advertising, you decide ahead of time what the audience will look like so your ads are seen by the right people. These are the ads that show up in your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. The ones that seem to know what field you’re in, where you live, even your favorite hobbies. For example, I work in marketing, so the Hootsuite and Domo ads pictured above are actually targeted at me.
You can also do this with network display advertising. For instance, if you sell a golf product, you can make sure that your ads show up not only on golf websites, but also in front of people who have visited golf websites in the last few months.
Another form of targeted ads are the ones that seem to follow you around the Internet. This often happens if you search for something, then go to one (or several) of the websites that come up in the SERP. You may notice that ads for that product show up almost everywhere you look for the next few months.
That’s because you have been tagged.
Yes, tagged. Kind of like a catch and release program to study animals in the wild, but with a tracking pixel that lets marketers follow you around the Internet so they can advertise to you. This is commonly called retargeting or remarketing, and a lot of companies do it.
If you put a tracking pixel (Facebook calls them Custom Audience Pixels) on all of your website pages and landing pages, you can “track” people who have landed on your website or landing page. The information from the tracking pixel lets you put social media and network display ads in front of them for up to 6 months after they visit your site.
For the purposes of research for this post, I went to the Home Depot website and looked at a random refrigerator:
And lo and behold, this ad just showed up on my Facebook wall on the right-hand side:
You don’t have to be a huge company to use retargeting pixels. Our Marketing Educator, Bob Jenkins, has created an entire course on Facebook advertising, which you can download for free, right here. Bob will teach you all about how to create custom audiences in Facebook Ads that allow you to retarget people who have visited your site, as well as how to build a targeted audience of new viewers that you can use to drive traffic to your landing page.
I’m going to talk a bit more about that last part right now.
If you’re going to use paid traffic, you’ll want to build a targeted audience for your campaign.
When you go into your campaign builder, you will be given the chance to choose the demographics of the people you want to target. Depending on the system, you can define who you’re looking for with surprising precision. You won’t get actual names, but you can create a great profile of your ideal customers. If you want to target 30 – 50-year-old women living in Dallas, Texas, who have kids and drive a Chevrolet Suburban, you can get that specific.
For instance, Facebook lets you define your target demographic by factors ranging from age and gender to life events. (And yes, Facebook, Twitter and other data collection systems are collecting all of this information on you, even as they let you use it to target your potential customers.)
Facebook also lets you target people by their interests:
A few of the interests in the Facebook demographic arsenal. You can drill down into each of these topics.
And by behaviors:
You can target your potential customers by everything from where they work to how they purchase and which mobile device they use.
Every online advertising system is different, but most of them will let you create a detailed profile, similar to what Facebook does in the examples above.
Very few people will say they enjoy being tracked like this. At the same time, most people prefer seeing ads that feature products and services that are actually relevant to them. And, of course, this approach can save you a lot of money by sending your ads to the right people. So go ahead and take advantage of all the information people are giving away about themselves in exchange for taking the latest quiz or watching a cat video.
Once you’ve created your target audience, you need to think about your ads.
Each system specifies its own format for your ads. For instance, Facebook only lets you use text in 20% of your ad; the rest must be an image. But here are some factors that you will want to consider, regardless of which system you’re using:
Does the person seeing the ad know anything about your product or service?
If the answer is no, you’re going to write your ad copy and corresponding landing page very differently than if the answer is yes. For instance, here at Leadpages we send our first-time paid traffic click-throughs to blog posts, like this one. That way they’re getting valuable content instead of just being shown a sales page. Once they’ve visited our blog, they start to see ads that will send them to webinar registration and/or sales pages instead.
You can send first-time click throughs to your blog, or to a high-converting landing page that gives away a lead magnet you promised in the ad.
Do you know this person’s level of intent?
If this person has been to your website, their intent may be different than someone who has never heard of you, even if they’re just browsing. I will confess to clicking on ads for products I’ve never seen before, just because they catch my eye. And yes, this does make me more inclined to go back to those websites afterward, even if I am just browsing.
Has the person actively searched the Internet using keywords that relate to your product or service?
Then this person has a different state of awareness than someone who has not searched with these keywords. This person is in either a research phase or a buying phase. You can target the language in your ads to accommodate each of these phases.
You can create different ads to match each of these states of awareness. And as you learned in the first “Now What” post, always make sure your landing pages match your ads.
This may mean that you need to create several landing pages to match each of your different ads. Many businesses make multiple ads but only have one or two landing pages. This is lazy advertising. When you’re going through all the trouble of building a targeted audience, you need to follow that through to the end and make sure that all of your marketing is targeting that specific audience. Yes, it’s more work, but it will result in better conversion rates.
Leadpages lets you easily duplicate your landing page so you can quickly make variations for each of your paid media sources. You can also do this to create multiple landing pages for one campaign, based on which ad your end users click on. That way Facebook users can see the special “Facebook Only” deal you created while Twitter users will see the “Twitter Special.”
The actual offer may be no different, but you can change the language and colors to match the platform mentioned in the ad.
Along with an appealing ad and landing page, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving away a lead magnet your prospective customers will find useful. They need a reason to click on that ad and that opt-in button, beyond curiosity. Your lead magnet can be as simple as a resource guide or as complicated as a video series. If you want more ideas on how to create great lead magnets, go here.
Once you get your paid media campaign set up, you’ll want to track how it’s doing so you can make adjustments, turn off ads that aren’t working and push more traffic toward those that are.
Neglecting to track results is the single biggest reason business owners’ advertising campaigns fail. It’s essential to know your numbers, then revise your campaigns based on real data.
The key metrics to measure are: cost per lead (CPL), ad click-through rate (CTR), initial return on ad spend (IROAS), and landing page conversion rate.
In the Facebook Advertising System course, Bob walks you through how to track your campaign to see where it needs tweaking and how to assess the success of each ad, so you know whether it’s worth testing a new picture or headline, or whether you should just turn it off and start over.
Leadpages can also help you track the success of your campaigns with our built-in analytics system. You’ll be able to see how many people made it to your landing pages, or clicked on your pop-ups if you sent them to a blog post. You can also use the Leadpages split test tool with each of these assets to make sure they’re converting at the highest level possible.
Bob also talks with Facebook experts and Leadpages power users Amy Porterfield and James Grandstaff about how they each run their campaigns. The information Amy and James reveal in their respective interviews covers everything from split testing ads to how to determine success. This knowledge can drastically reduce your own trial and error period and get you on the road to success much faster.
We want to hear how you’re using paid media to promote your business. Please let us know about your successes, or ask us questions in the comments section.