Online Advertising: Tips and Strategies

Online advertising can be a daunting task. What does a successful ad look like? How do you analyze the effectiveness of your ad campaigns? What are some key performance indicators? We teamed up with Aphrodite, a revenue analytics software company, to help you understand the numbers a little better and show you the fundamentals of online advertising.

Keep an eye on CPM 

You’re not the only sheriff in town. Behind the scenes of every Facebook feed are thousands of advertisers “bidding” to show up on one person’s screen. What this means is that depending on the time, location, and settings, you may pay a lot to show your ads. (If they’re cost capped, they might not even show at all.) This is why advertising costs are much higher in Q4, which is the holiday season.

CPM is a universal metric that stands for “cost per thousand,” or the amount of money you spent to achieve 1,000 advertisement impressions. While you should generally try to keep your CPM low, it’s not exactly that simple, either. For example, it might cost less to advertise in certain areas, but ad viewers could be less qualified to buy. Keep an eye on your CPM as a general measure of your ad campaign’s performance, but note the factors that might contribute to a higher/lower CPM.

Get your ad click-through rate (CTR) above 1%

Most people browsing social media platforms have an automatic “ad” detector, and just skip it without looking. Think about how you might scroll through your newsfeed or Instagram stories, and how you instinctively scroll or press “X” as soon as you realize you’re seeing an ad.

You didn’t even take time to read it; you knew it was an ad and clicked away. That’s what you have to work against: out of 100 people who encounter your ad (impressions), make sure at least 1 person clicks. This is called the CTR, and it’s the first indicator of your ad performance. Remember, a great ad stops your audience in their tracks.

Leverage the power of social proof in your ads

“Social proof” is a psychological phenomenon in which people follow what others are doing. In digital marketing, it refers to the “social” evidence you provide to customers. It’s proof that other people really like your product and are writing positive reviews. Influencer and media reviews are especially important in providing that 3rd party validation from someone your target audience trusts.

Proof type 1: Add a concise but compelling quote (from a previous buyer or a quote from the media) in your ad. Make sure you’re not detracting from the eye-catching image you’ve picked.

Proof type 2: Enable post sharing. Make sure that the comments, likes, and shares (natural social proof) are visible. You can also compile comments, likes, and shares across different ad campaigns on Facebook, so that the total number of interactions shows up on each ad.

Keep consistent (fonts, colors, product promises)

Make sure that the front door and the inside match. In other words, double check that your ad and your landing page have the same stylistic elements and make the same promises with regards to the product. People instinctively become suspicious and don’t trust what you’re selling if there’s a noticeable difference. 

What to do? Use similar colors, copy, and repeat the offering and tagline in the ad and landing page. Don’t mix and match fonts and styles.

Do A/B testing

In short, A/B testing is the process of comparing two different ads. By analyzing their conversion rates, you’ll get an idea of what kind of ad is a better match for your target audience. 

Be deliberate in your choices. In other words, make thoughtful decisions when you’re designing your two ads. What catchphrases, visuals, and concepts do you want to test? When you get your results, take note of what worked, and what didn’t.

Branch out beyond the Big 3

Facebook, Amazon, and Google are the big kahunas in town, but they’re not the only places to be. Almost every platform now has a self-service feature.

In addition to Facebook and Google, don’t be afraid to try Snapchat,YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, Outbrain, and even no-name platforms with barely any support (where ads are cheap). If you’re selling gamer chairs, Reddit is the place to be. If you’re selling yoga mats, try Pinterest. Your customers don’t just use Facebook; they’re all over the internet.

Like what you’re reading? Check out for eBooks on crowdfunding, ecommerce, and ads analytics.




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