3 Tips to Increase Engagement with your Social Media Ads

A few months ago, I organized a simple social media ad campaign to promote a webinar. I gave our social media expert all the relevant keywords, audiences, and specific countries we wanted to target and waited to see the results. After the first week of running the campaign, I noticed that the clicks we were getting were from outside the set parameters. I investigated and understood what went wrong. Based on the data analysis, we tweaked a few items in the keywords and the audience and tried to target even more specific locations. I waited another week, and the campaign was on track, receiving hundreds of clicks from our desired customers.

Could I have avoided this “mistake” at the start?  What could I have done that would ensure this didn’t happen again with future campaigns? How do we make sure that we get our PPC ads in front of the desired audiences?

In a world where everyone is clamoring for limited ad space believe it or not, it’s getting more and more difficult to get people to stop scrolling and engage with an advert. Therefore, it’s so important to prepare your campaigns properly, so you don’t waste impressions or clicks on unwanted audiences.

Here are 3 pointers to direct your social media ad campaign targets to yield higher results.

  1. Dig into audience research and create a buyer persona
  2. Find out where your audience spends their time online
  3. Build a strategy to maximize your budget and get the best return on your investment
social media ad campaign targets to yield higher results

Audience Research

If you’re lucky, your marketing team already worked with your sales team to create a buyer persona. If not, I highly recommend going through the process of creating one. This is just the first step to understand your desired audience for a campaign. Actually, what I would recommend is going back to your buyer persona’s drawing board and extract the terms and characteristics that just didn’t make the cut and create a list of categories to include for the campaign. The buyer persona will give you a very specific group of people and sometimes you need to add more terms, like categories or characteristics to broaden your audience.

Once you have all these categories or characteristics, the next step will be to look at your target location. Many people, and even from my story above, make the same mistake. I’ll add the USA as my target location, and I will get people from the USA. Don’t let the channel choose where in the USA the advert will show up, as you might not reach relevant people in the USA even with the other set parameters. Pick specific states and cities. The more specific you are with your locations, ensures that your ad will show up on your desired audience’s feed.

If you would like to go one step further with your research and targeting, you need to dig a bit deeper into the analytics. The two important issues to research are the social media channels your persona uses most and the other websites they visit. There are some great tools out there to help you get this data to refine your campaign targets.

Know Your Channel

Once you understand who your audience is, you need to find out where they spend their time online, so you can choose the best channel to reach them. Also, just because you have a great ad, it doesn’t mean it’ll work on every channel.

Each social media channel has their own style. Make sure you prepare your ad based on the expectation of the user on the channel. A great example is, you don’t post a picture of what you ate for dinner last night on LinkedIn, it just not what the user is expecting on that channel and therefore won’t engage.

Just like you want to speak the language of the audience based on their industry they work in, you want to make sure that you are speaking the right language for a specific channel.

Marketing campaign ads strategy

Build a Strategy

So now you have a target audience, and you know where to find them, now comes the challenging part, the strategy. 

When PPC ads just got started there were so few parameters to choose that people got used to just running their campaigns for a period of time at a set budget, and that was it. Now you can really sink your teeth into the nitty gritty details of timing, budget and segmentations. 

Therefore, you need to create a strategy that brings together your audience, the location, and your channel. This will help you maximize your budget and get the best return on your investment. 

The best example I can offer that will illustrate the point, is how to do remarketing ads. When you start budgeting and setting the schedule, you don’t want all your campaigns to start at the same time. With remarketing ads, you want to build up your traffic to your website or landing page before you start remarketing. If you don’t wait, your list might be too small to reach anyone at all. Start by building up campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook for example, and then, once these campaigns have been running for a few months, you can build a campaign to the people who were interested but didn’t make the decision yet to purchase. 

As you can probably imagine, the message in your ad on LinkedIn and Facebook should be different than your remarketing ads. The people seeing the remarketing ads already saw your first pitch and therefore, you need to address a reason why they didn’t bite the first time around. 

Another important part of the strategy is understanding each vertical you’re trying to target. Try not to lump everyone together. Each vertical might need to address a specific pain point or use terminology that speaks to them. This doesn’t mean you need to create a whole new campaign, for each vertical, it means you should tweak the text to match the audience. 

The Next Step

Lastly and most importantly is where to send someone once they clicked. The click means that they are interested, and obviously your advert didn’t give them the full story about your product. This is where a big debate will come up in marketing circles. Do you send them to a dedicated landing page or to a specific page on your website? Regardless of which one you chose, the information on the page needs to convince the lead to go to the next step. The content should include these 3 items; builds trust, shows results and creates an urgency for purchasing immediately. 

To answer my questions from the start, getting results in a social media ad campaign isn’t difficult. Even setting up a campaign these days, you don’t need to be a specialist. If you want qualified leads, so you can show a substantial return on your investment from the campaign, then you need to invest the time and effort to plan it out and cover all the angles. 

You may think that all these steps and recommendations will take a lot of time, all for just a simple social media ad campaign. The steps of getting to know your audience, understanding how each channel engages their audience and applying this information to create an effective strategy, however will give you details about your product and company that you can apply to many other marketing campaigns and activities. 

Remember, once your campaign is up and running, don’t just leave it and let it run. Make sure you check on it, learn from the results and make changes as needed to get better results.