Digital ads are one of those things every brand knows they need to be doing. However, there are so many levers to pull when running digital ad campaigns that it can be tough to know where to get started, how to find success, and even who to work with to help you achieve success. 

Let’s tackle those together over the next few minutes!

Picking The Right Platforms

There are a dozen ad platforms you can use to advertise on. So how do you pick the right platform for your business? Find where your customers spend most of their time online. The obvious choices are  Facebook and  Google ads, which are vital to any digital ad strategy. However, if you have a few different customer personas that are niche in nature, you might find way more success on a different channel. 

We ask clients to share their three most important customer personas. Often,  founders and CMOs tell us “everyone is interested in XYZ,” but that doesn’t really tell us anything. 

It might not be 💯 relevant to your brand, but for example, tons of B2B marketers, product designers, and startup founders hang out on Twitter. Probably more relevant to you, tons of fashion enthusiasts spend hours on the Pinterest platform. Another example would be makeup enthusiasts using Youtube.

A simple guideline for picking  the right channel is as follows:

1. Make a list of the sites where your customers spend the most amount of time online. 

2. Narrow down the sites on that list to the ones your customers might be in the mindset to learn about your product (if you are selling beef jerky, for example, don’t advertise on Pinterest because the platform tends to focus more on clothing and fashion than food recipes).

3. Determine your budget and research the cost-per-clicks (CPC) on the platforms you’ve decided on. 

4. Make sure your budget will get at least 300 clicks a month based on their average CPC.

A Starting Budget

That 300 click rule of thumb is a great segway into budget. One of the most commonly asked questions we get is, “How much does one need to spend to make an impact with digital ads?”

If you are just starting with digital ads, there is no exact answer. I wish I could tell you it’s exactly $100 or $500 to know what success looks like, but the reality is it depends on your Cost Per Conversion. 

Whether you are trying to get purchases on an e-commerce store or form fills to schedule a demo, on average, the Facebook and Google ads algorithms need 50 conversions to begin properly optimizing. Other platforms vary, but Facebook and Google need that much data to start showing your ads to the right people. What does that mean exactly?

Facebook and Google ads know the actions people take on their websites and others. So they know who is most likely to click on an ad, land on a webpage, then X out. Or they know who is most likely to click on an ad, add something to their cart, and then X out. Most importantly, they know who is most likely to click on an ad then purchase something. But, not only do they keep records in your consumer behavior like that, they know who is most likely to click on an ad then purchase products in a specific industry, at a particular price point, and of a certain color. 

So the algorithm needs to record at least 50 people converting on your website before they can start identifying the type of people who are likely to take that conversion on your website. 

What does this all have to do with answering the budget question? You need to spend enough money to figure out what your Cost Per Conversion (total advertising cost / total conversions for a given period) is after 50 conversions. For most companies, this number falls around $1,500 in total but varies GREATLY depending on the industry.

Cost Per Conversion 

Once you have figured out your Cost Per Conversion, it’s a matter of identifying the creative that delivers the lowest cost per conversion. Your Cost Per Conversion really shouldn’t go up significantly after those 50 first conversions unless the market changes. 

Your goal is simply to continually decrease your Cost Per Conversion by always testing new ads and audiences.

Freelancer, Agency, or Yourself?

One of the other biggest questions we get is, “why can’t we do this ourselves?”

The absolute truth is you can! Running digital ads is not the most complicated thing to learn. But if you are looking for help for whatever reason, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each.

Freelancers:

Pros: Less expensive, nimble, flexible, can be used on an as-needed basis

Cons: You may not be their only client and they charge hourly rates

Agencies:

Pros: Lots of experience, consistent pricing, a large network of experts

Cons: Expensive, long contracts, consistent upwelling, hard to pick

In-House: 

Pros: Dedicated to your brand and solely focused on achieving your goals 

Cons: Very expensive compared to an agency and takes time to find the right person 

Wrapping it up

Starting out with digital ads can seem intimidating or overwhelming but in summary:

  1. Pick the social/content platforms your target audiences spend the most time on
  2. Spend enough to figure out what your Cost Per Conversion is at 50 conversions
  3. If you can afford to get in-house, do so!

I hope this gives you a great starting point and guidelines for finding success with digital ads.


About the Author

Hell's Creative Marketing Agency

Hell’s Creative is an award-winning digital ad agency out of Hell’s Kitchen, NYC that works with brands of all sizes to maximize ROI on digital ads. Their Growth Advertising Method, which uses smart persona targeting & rapid creative testing, averages a 4X Return On Ad Spend across 100+ clients and counting.

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