Getting Started with Digital Ads with Sarah Murdoch

Is it time for you to supercharge your social media marketing?

Digital advertising is a great way to enhance your marketing efforts, but when is the right time to commit to it?

How much should you spend on Facebook Ads?

And how long do you need to test things for?

I recently spoke with my friend Sarah Murdoch on The Social Brain Podcast to discuss why, when and how to get started with digital ads.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Go here.

A few years ago, there was a lot of buzz from the social media marketers’ community where people were saying that Facebook is a pay to play platform, and in order to get the views/reach/engagement you wanted on your Facebook page, you needed to use Facebook Ads.

But how do you know when to start paying for your advertising or whether you should stick with your organic social media content strategy?

Sarah explains: “Paid ads are really good once you've got yourself established in your business. I wouldn't advise someone who's literally just started out with their business to go down the route of paid ads.

“I would definitely recommend starting off with a really solid foundation from your organic social media. Then, once you can see that what you're doing in your business is working, you can perhaps start feeding in some paid advertising in order to supercharge your business.”

Paid advertising isn’t a quick fix. If something isn’t selling, digital ads aren’t going to make it sell.

Sarah says: “I think that's something that business owners can make the mistake of thinking. They will think, I'm not selling my product or service because people aren't seeing my stuff, so I'll use some paid ads in order to get it out there.

“Whereas actually, I think you need to think of it in a different way. You need to think there's probably a reason why your stuff isn't selling. Whether it's your website, it's not converting, or whether you need to make some tweaks to your product or your service or really get to know who your audience is and make sure that you're speaking to them.

“Get all that stuff in place and you can see that it's starting to work so when you actually do switch on those ads, the ads just basically amplify your message and pour petrol on to the fire.”

What are the benefits of running paid advertising campaigns?

One of the major benefits of using paid digital advertising in your business is the amount of people that you can get your business in front of. There’s something like 2.7 billion people on Facebook alone, so imagine being able to advertise to even a tiny portion of them?

When it comes to Google, there are around 70,000 searches per minute, so when you create the right ads with the right keywords, you have the potential to reach thousands of people with your offering every day.

Another huge benefit is the fact that you can see the results of your ad campaigns almost instantly. As soon as you switch those ads on, you'll start seeing some results coming through in the form of your ‘soft stats’. You can see how many people are clicking on your ads and compare the performance of each campaign.

After a few days, once you’ve given the campaigns time to work, you can switch things up or make tweaks to optimise the ads to ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment.

How do you know when your business is ready for paid advertising?

Before you decide to use paid advertising in your business and explore the many benefits of this channel, you need to have a proven concept. This simply means that your organic marketing methods are working for you – whether that’s email marketing or social media marketing.

If you share an offer or promote a lead magnet and people are signing up for it through your free marketing avenues, then the concept is proven. You've got proof that people do want the thing that you are selling. Whether it's a service or a product, people are starting to buy it, starting to be interested in it.

You also need to make sure that your website is working for you. Ideally, you want to have a conversion rate of around 2% in order to get a decent return on your ad spend. It costs money for each click that you get to your ad, so the cheaper you can get your Cost Per Click (CPC), the better.

Thirdly, you want to make sure you've got your other forms of marketing in place. Facebook Ads can't be used as a standalone. They need to be part of a holistic marketing plan where you've got your organic social media marketing and email retargeting set up correctly, too.

What’s the difference between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?

Facebook Ads and Google Ads can work really well together, but your success with both will very much depend on your budget. If you’re new to paid advertising, you may want to just start with one or the other.

Facebook Ads is what’s known as interruption marketing. People are on Facebook for entertainment or to socialise, yet Facebook Ads interrupt their feed and grab their attention. So, Facebook Ads are good for visual products and work well for e-commerce, too.

When it comes to Google Ads, people need to know about your product or service for them to be able to actually see your ads. They need to type your particular product or service into Google in order for your ad to come up.

Sarah shares: “If you’ve got a brand new concept, a brand new product that no one's ever heard of, then Facebook is probably going to be more your kind of platform because someone's not going to type that into Google in order for your ad to come up.

“Often Facebook can work really well as your top of funnel. You can retarget as well on Facebook, so it can work for all stages of your funnel, but it can work really well for growing that brand awareness, getting that interest going, and then your Google Ads are more your middle of funnel, where people are actually interested in or ready to buy your product or service. They're actually typing it into Google and they're ready to go ahead and buy.”

What’s an ideal ads budget to get started with?

Your ads budget will depend on your ad goals. Some people may want to run their ads to grow their email list, whilst others will want to use them to sell their products directly. If you’re driving traffic to a lead magnet, £10 a day is a good starting point to help you gather data and test to see what does and doesn’t work for your business.

For an ad campaign where the purpose is to sell a product or service, you may want to start at around £20 a day and see how you get on. You can use this across a mixture of initial ads to a cold audience and then retarget ads to the people who have shown interest in your initial ad.

Some people may even use Facebook Ads to grow their Facebook page. These ads are usually much cheaper than ads to sell a product.

Whatever ads you decide to run, you’ll need a decent budget to make running them worthwhile.

How long should you test different ads for?

As with any type of marketing, you need to test your strategy for a considerable amount of time before you can ascertain whether your campaign is or isn’t working, and really start to see the benefits from your digital ads. You’ll also want to test different ad objectives and creatives to find the thing that works best based on your goals.

Sarah recommends giving things a minimum of three months. She says: “That gives us enough time in order to set up some ads, test out different ads, test out different audiences, and then you really start seeing the results coming through.”

“The great thing about Facebook and Google Ads is that you can learn from all the data you’re getting on each ad you’re running. You can then use that data to create more successful campaigns moving forward.

“Three months is a realistic time to test things for and is actually the amount of time we recommend you test out your organic social media marketing strategies for as well.”

Should you boost posts on Facebook?

The age-old question: Should you boost posts on Facebook or should you create them in Ads Manager?

Sarah explains: “Boosting posts is a way of allowing people to spend a bit of money in order to promote their business really, really easily. Essentially you just press a button, put in a few things and then that's it. It's super, super easy to do. The problem is, it’s really hard to learn anything from the boosted posts. And one of the huge things about running paid ads is that you need to be able to use that data in order to improve your ads.

“If you have a business in a local area and you just want to quickly grow a bit of awareness, then sure. You could spend £10 or whatever just boosting a post, especially if you don't have the budget to be able to run ads long term and you just want to get a really great post out there further, then yeah, you could do that.”

Sarah advises that setting up an ad in Ads Manager is better because there are many different options that you can use. You can be much more specific with your targeting, and you’ll receive much more helpful data from running ads through Ads Manager. This will allow you to tweak things to get the best return on investment possible.

Should you spend the ads credit Facebook offers you?

Some people believe that Google and Facebook have an ulterior motive to offering you free ads credit and whilst, yes, they may do it as it encourages you to spend money with them in the future, you’re effectively getting the opportunity to market your business to a new audience for free. So, take advantage of it!

One thing to always remember is to read the terms and conditions before accepting the free credit. Make sure there are no minimum spend terms or conditions that are out of your comfort zone.

Sarah Murdoch is the Founder of Let It Go Social and a Digital Ads expert, specialising in Facebook and Google Ads. Sarah works with business owners to supercharge their marketing efforts so they can increase brand awareness, improve lead generation, and make more sales of their products or services.

Follow Sarah on Instagram, visit her website here and download your free Facebook Ads Checklist here.


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