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My Paid Ads Aren’t Converting the Sales We’re Hoping For  — What Am I Doing Wrong?

There are a lot of misconceptions about paid advertising. Many people think that, because Google Analytics isn’t showing significant sales conversions from paid advertisements, the ads aren’t effective. Is it true, though?

We live in an age where information is easily accessible and buyers are conducting research before purchasing especially from a new brand, or if they’re not entirely educated on the service or product. In fact, over 81% of online buyers conduct online research prior to making a purchase. If you’re a B2B company, over 50% of people will consume 4-5 pieces of content prior to purchase decision. That means there are several places your potential customer will go to before filling out a contact form or giving you a call. It’s important to make sure their experience is seamless throughout their journey.

Social media advertising is perceived as more valuable for B2C companies than B2B companies. In fact, 60% of B2C companies reported social media as critical to increasing their online sales and revenues. In comparison, only 46% of B2B companies view social media as vital to their revenues and sales performance. It doesn’t mean that social media advertising doesn’t work for B2B companies it just hasn’t been embraced by the industry yet.

For those who are actively running social media marketing programs, over 60% of small businesses have admitted they’re not able to track an ROI on social media activity. So what’s the deal?

No One Wants to Be Sold to in Their Free Time

Many businesses forget what social media was intended for. Social media is just that: a place to be social. 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content, and are looking to unwind and lay back. If your ad should pop up, it had better be engaging, rather than salesy, if you’re hoping to get them to interact with it. If they’re just hearing about you, you can bet the likelihood of them purchasing immediately will be low.

All of your paid advertisements are at the top of the funnel. This is where your customers learn about who you are, what you offer, and they will determine how your products or services fit with their desires and/or needs. This is where you’ll introduce yourself to them. It’s unlikely you’ll convert your website visitors into buyers immediately. They want to make sure they can trust your company. They want to validate their purchase. They will look through your blog content, check out your social media, read reviews, and perhaps even join your email list before committing their hard-earned dollars to your company. You need to woo them and all of your touch points across your social media will help court the customer.

How to Create a Fool-Proof Social Media Advertising Campaign

  1. Start with Your Campaign Goals.

Ask yourself what you’re looking to get out of your paid advertising campaign. Is it sales, clicks to your website, email signups, contest entries what? From there, you’ll be able to create content that drives your goals.

  1. Implement the Right Tracking

The single-handedly most critical piece to your marketing efforts is your data. The data you’ll gather from your advertising will lend you valuable insights to your future marketing efforts, customer behaviors, and will help you improve your overall online experience.

Get your tracking setup correctly. If you’re running Facebook advertisements and are looking to track your ads’ performance, you need to ensure the Facebook pixel is correctly installed on your website. Talk to your website developer to make sure your website and Facebook are seamlessly integrated.

Other social media platforms also have tracking codes you’ll need to install on your website to track the performance of your ads. Have your developer install them before you run your ads.

  1. Target the Right Audience

Many businesses will create a campaign and target an audience so broad, you’re likely wasting money on reaching people who don’t care about your company! If you’re offering a promotion or sale, target people who are familiar with your business. These can be people who have: a.) visited your website (thank you, Facebook retargeting pixel!), b.) who have ‘Liked’ your page, or c.) appear through “Lookalike Audiences” (these are people who are similar to those who have already interacted with your Page.)

If you’re looking to reach new audiences or expand into new markets, hone your demographic targeting, target specific interests, and focus on a specific geographic location.

If you’re unsure who to target, take 30 minutes to poke around through your Google Analytics data. If it’s been properly setup, it can be a gold mine of information.

Read How to Find the Right Target Audience on Facebook

  1. Create the “Perfect” Campaign

Great marketing campaigns are all about getting the right content, in front of the right people, at the right time. Choose the right creative that is consistent with your marketing messaging. Experiment with videos, images, and different ad types.

  1. Monitor Your Ads Performance and Optimize Consistently

It might take a few tries to get the right content and message down, especially for those just starting their social media advertising, but it’s important to have a campaign that is evolving as we become more armed with data and analytics to drive smarter marketing decisions.

How to Tell if Your Paid Advertisements Are Helping or Hurting You

After about a week of testing, review your campaign. You’ll be able to strategically decide what is working and what isn’t. (FYI, for good practice, we always say that once you make a change, give it a week to gather enough data to make a decision.) Is the click-through-rate dismal? You could probably improve either the creative or message. If you’re getting a fabulous click-through-rate, but you’re seeing that people aren’t filling out your lead generation form or are bouncing out of your website immediately, take a look at the landing page you’re sending users to. Is the landing page consistent with the content of the ad? How can you improve it?

Your ads will work if you consistently optimize them based on data and analytics. Being proactive about your advertising will help you make smarter marketing decisions, while getting the best bang for your advertising dollars.

Look at Your Google Analytics Data

Next time you look at your Google Analytics and see that your paid advertisements aren’t directly contributing to your sales, you’ll know that it’s because customers most likely converted after heavy research.

Think about how often you see an ad and think to yourself, “YES, I must buy that thing, and then actually do it immediately. Unless you’re an impulsive shopper, it’s highly unlikely. You’re going to do your research. Once you’ve decided you want to do business with that company, you’ll probably type their website directly into your browser, or do a Google Search, and then you’ll make your purchase.

If someone types in your URL directly and makes a purchase, it will be attributed to “Direct” in Google Analytics, not the advertisement. If someone types in your company name into their search engine and clicks on your website to make a purchase, that sale will be attributed to “Organic”

If your ads are getting great click-through-rates, low cost-per-clicks, people are staying on your website, and when you see a spike in Direct or Organic sales, you can safely say your ads were critical in the customer’s journey.