Your ecommerce brand is probably no stranger to using Google’s AdWords to drive people who are ready to buy to your site. But, wouldn’t it be great if you reached people who weren’t ready to buy yet, and captured their information? Now, you can build a pipeline of people and influence their decision using lead nurturing campaigns, dynamic web content and smart CTAs.
This is where promoted (i.e. sponsored) social posts can make a difference. Each social network defines this type of pay-per-click advertising slightly differently. To keep things simple for now, remember that a promoted post/tweet is just that –– a post or tweet designed specifically to appear in the newsfeeds of a social network’s users.
Here’s a quick start guide, along with some specific tips to get you going:
1) Clarify Your Campaign’s Objective
Decide what makes this campaign a success. Some options include increased traffic, engagement, leads generated or clicks. Each network’s metric choices will be slightly different, so be sure you are measuring the success both through the network and via your ecommerce site’s sales, traffic and other relevant areas expected to see a bump due to a promoted post.
2) Choose the Type of Advertising you Want
Your campaign’s objective determines the type of ad you’ll run. There are basically two types of ads:
- An ad that gives the appearance of being “organic,” for example, boosted posts on Facebook, sponsored posts on LinkedIn, or a promoted tweet on Twitter. These have no tracking tokens. It is content you have already shared with your followers.
- An ad that is sent specifically to a targeted audience, i.e. it does not appear on your business page or newsfeed. Examples of this include promoted posts on Facebook, promoted tweets with tracking token and direct sponsored content on LinkedIn.
3) Pick Your Audience
The great thing about social media is that it’s a huge market research petri dish. There are millions of people out there giving away their preference data (i.e. which movies they like, which brands they follow, which geographical areas they frequent). All of that data is essentially available to you on a platter.
Use each network’s data targeting information to be specific about your target audience. Each network offers different ways to segment their data. Make sure you’ve got a clear definition of your ideal buyer persona before you start, including demographics, psychographics, interests and more.
4) Set Your Budget
Know your spending limits for the campaign. Set a daily budget for the first week and a total monthly budget. The first few days are critical and monitoring ad performance is essential. Assuming you’re doing CPC (rather than CPM), if your ad doesn’t generate enough clicks, the networks will begin fading your ad out of prime network ad time. Clicks are how they make money, after all. If that happens, it will take you longer to figure out which ad, if any, is truly working.
5) Design and Create Your Ad
Each network has different requirements for the content of their ads — number of words, images and sizes, etc. Prepare several different versions of your ads so you can perform A/B tests to see which is most effective. It will take some close monitoring and tweaking, but it’s worth it to get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are a few of the most common design requirements per network:
- Image size: 375 x 375 pixels
- Video size: 435 x 244 pixels
- Promoted tweet: 140 characters including links
- Profile picture: 81 x 81 pixels
- Header image: 520 x 260 pixels
- Recent image: 90 x 90 pixels
- Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
- Image ratio: 1.9:1
- Text: 90 characters
- Headline: 25 characters
- Link description: 30 characters
- Your image may not include more than 20% text
- Image size: 50 x 50 pixels
6) Check Your Results
This is an essential step to understanding the process of using a PPC campaign. You must examine the results. Here’s how:
- Come back to your campaign objective: Did you get the results you wanted? If so, what was the ROI?
- Check the stats by network, by ad type, by ad: Visitor to lead conversion rate? Lead to customer conversion rate? Visitor to customer conversion rate? Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t?
- After seeing the results, do you want more of the same or something different?
- If it didn’t work, what went wrong? Ad? Landing page? Segmentation? Budget?
- Check everything and try again.
CAUTION: Don’t bankrupt yourself with PPC. Make it one of many ways you’re driving traffic and sales on your website. PPC doesn’t work for every brand, every product, every audience, every time. And it rarely hits a homerun the first time out. Test, learn and try again.
Tips for Running a Successful PPC Campaign on Social
- If your goal is to capture leads, choose the CPC option (cost-per-click). Paying for eyeballs (CPM) is a waste of money.
- Choose the ad type option that lets you have a unique tracking token at the end of the URL for each ad. You want to be able to test ads and see how many visitors came through, how many visitors converted, which ads converted and more. Without that information, you won’t know where to keep investing your money to optimize for ROI.
- Match the language of your campaign offer to the language on your landing page. If they’re different, you’ll confuse the visitor, and a confused visitor is an immediate bounce.
- Assure quality. Double check that there are no typos in the copy, and that your ad images are the proper sizes. Test to be sure each tracking URL goes to the right landing page.
- Choose the option to do A/B testing whenever you can. This way you can keep testing the best version against another version and continually optimize to extract the greatest number of leads from your campaign, and thus the highest ROI.
- Test different types of ads (sponsored post vs. non-sponsored) to see which ones pull in higher traffic, leads and/or conversions for your campaign.
- Balance how you target your audience. Your target audience needs to be large enough to give you a reasonable rate of response, so don’t segment in too niche a fashion.
- Set a daily budget high enough in the first few days to get an ample amount of users to see your ad and begin clicking on it. Remember how fast social media feeds go –– it can be easy for people to miss your ad. Without proper reach and frequency, you won’t know how well your sponsored post/tweet is working.
Social media is a treasure trove of potential new customers, and a little spend can go a long way. Just make sure you aren’t spending money on campaigns that aren’t providing ROI. Test, track and measure your campaigns to get the most value out of your spend, increase your customer base and scale your ecommerce business.
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