Free channels will get you so far, obviously maximise these before moving onto paid channels.

One you have your website or mobile site live and analytics such as Google Analytics enabled you’re ready to start simple paid marketing campaigns. The aim is to run campaigns that provide a positive ROI – so don’t chase ‘likes’, focus on engagement stats and target sales data.

Start with small budgets, so £20-£50, to test and learn. Once you have positive ROI it should be able to run automatically with a check in every few days.  Master one channel at a time, say for 2-4 weeks before moving on to the next. You probably don’t need to be active on all of them as a SME as you are unlikely to have the resources to commit to all of them so be choosy about the one that fits your brand and audience profile.

All of the following can be executed by a junior digital marketer once the brand strategy, Tone of Voice (TOV) and metrics have been set. Key objectives for most brands are sales on site, or it not that visits. Some require investment in brand photography or video.

So the simplest first:



Use Google Adwords (70% of global search market), or Yahoo’s Bing (11% share) to set up your Adwords campaigns. Select your brand and keywords, write action orientated ads, cap cost limits e.g. 10% of sale value.

Ad formats can be enhanced to pull out key information like contact details and key products. Test & learn and read this great how guide.


Google Shopping Ads

If you’re an ecommerce brand you should be using Google Shopping ads, it generally has above average conversion rates. Also ensure you’re attracting local shoppers if you have a physical presence.


Gmail Ads

Use your Google Adwords account to set up Gmail Ads. There are a few standard formats for Gmail Ads. Reach your own email base and new audiences. Target your brand, competitor’s brands and keywords. Great to get awareness for new brands.


Display Ads

With an average CTR of 0.1% these can be a massive waste of money if you don’t know what you’re doing. With the rise of ad blocking and viewable rates dropping to 50% build this into your financial model.

If you’re going to invest in display ads do select the best ways; retargeting, micro targeted, local and native. Most display networks conform to the IAB standard unit sizing which helps keep ad production costs down. The guide also lists the main display ad networks, chose the ones most suitable for your target audience. To optimize and buy across multiple networks you need access to a Demand Side Platform (DSP) via an agency. It’s easy to start with Google Display Network (GDN) using your Google Adwords account to run text, image, video ad formats that are targeted at your user’s interests and geo-targeted. Everything you will ever need to know about display advertising.


Facebook Ads

Think of Facebook as one of the world’s single largest media channels. Its key strength is that nearly everyone is on it, although its become less attractive to younger age groups. And its hyper targeting, in particular the ability to layer targeting options

Really useful is the ability to target down to 10 miles which means it’s great for shops and events. There is plenty of advice on how to create Facebook campaigns that work.

Facebook has recently launched live streaming.

Average conversion rate is 1.85% and here are the Facebook Ad formats.


Instagram Ads

Instagram is a visual platform so its easy to see why brands have higher engagement rates than on Facebook or Twitter. Average conversion rate is 1.08%.

As its owned by Facebook, Instagram offers the same targeting options. It offers only one photo, video and carousel format keeping things simple. This is an easy to follow how to guide.

There are ways to make Instagram ads shopable you’ll need 3rd party software provider such as one of these alternatives one, two, three.


Twitter Ads

Twitter is very strong on real time messaging. It’s my go to channel for messaging around events. It’s also strong for product launches, essentially any new ‘news’.  Average conversion rate is 0.77%. It lacks layered targeting possibilities but it does offer competitor brand targeting and keyword targeting.  There is some concern that Twitter advertising is getting more expensive. A good how to guide. To track sales you’ll need to insert code on your website but as its a weaker social channel for sales than the others, watch your investment.


Pinterest Ads

Pinterest is the newer kid on the block and a beautiful visual platform as they enforce strict guidelines about the Promoted Pins creative messaging they allow. Pinners are typically saving pins about discovery, so pinning what they will do or buy next, 80% accessed on mobile. Some brands are having success selling on the platform, with the right product, messaging and targeting. Targeting is by key words.

It’s recently launched new paid products including paying per action rather than per click, cinematic Pins (video), and a team that can help create Pins ‘Pin Factory’. Average conversion rate is 0.54%. A good how to guide for Pinterest adsHow to set up sales conversion tracking and an interesting casestudy on using Pinterest for direct sales.


Linkedin Ads

Great for B2B businesses. Target ads at specific professional jobs titles or companies using Linkedin’s Targeted Status Updates. A typical case studyLinkedin Ad specs.


YouTube Ads

The same targeting and correct messaging applies to YouTube as the other social channels.

In-stream Ads (otherwise known as pre-proll) are the most popular ad format, the one where you need to wait 5 seconds before skipping. If the viewer doesn’t watch at least 30 seconds you don’t pay. There is the ability to retarget based on previous YouTube views or across Google Display Network (GDN).

It also provides the ability to attach your videos to competitor brand’s content. Nuts & bolts guide of all the YouTube ad formats. If you have an engaging brand with great assets YouTube can work very well for you in search as it’s not as competitive for keywords as Google Adwords and it’s the 2nd biggest search engine after Google. Do create your own free YouTube channel so you can share ongoing uploads.


Paid Content Syndication

Pay to get content such as articles, images, video content, or your website out to third party sites like Time and CNN. Be clear what the end objective is. Costs tend to be low $0.10- $0.30 per click and the content should be placed in contextl. However, providers often need content formatted like custom RSS feeds. Big syndication players include Outbrain and Taboola.  A good syndication how to guide.


Paid Influencers/ Bloggers

Influencers/bloggers will be covered in another article as the approach is different to these simple paid marketing campaigns.

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