Digital Smiles logo

Digital Smiles

What is our Google Ads and Facebook Ads process?

A question we often get from clients is 'what is your PPC process?’, not just the “how to build a campaign” but the thinking behind building a successful set of online ads. The ads process at ESM Inbound is tailored to each client, campaign, platform, goal and offering, however there is a broad methodology that we follow. Without giving away all of our secrets, here is our template for Google Search Ads and Facebook Ads from our Search Marketing Strategist, Angharad Lock, and Inbound Marketing Consultant, Amy Thorne. 

Our Google Ads process

For the purposes of this part of the blog, we’ll assume these are Search Ads that are pointing to a content offer in the forms of a gated landing page. Assume also that the content has been written with SEO in mind and the landing page has been optimised for search accordingly, meaning we’ll have a list of keywords from Google’s Keyword Planner that have high search volumes. 

Using these keywords, I’ll draw up the copy for the ads: usually I do a couple of text ads as well as a responsive text ad so that I have enough variants to try. 

All ads need to include a CTA, of course! 

Unless we have specific targeting data, I leave the targeting pretty broad to start with - excluding the most basic country, language etc. settings. I then leave the ads to run for 5~7 days in order to collate performance data. If the budget is higher, meaning there’ll likely be much more traffic much sooner, this time period may be less and vice versa. 

N.b. leaving the ads to run here does not mean forgetting about them: I still log into Google Ads every day, morning and afternoon, to check on spend or for any mishaps! 

An agency rule is: NEVER SET ADS LIVE ON A FRIDAY. Setting ads live on a Friday should be avoided where possible because if you’re not in the office over the weekend and the ads run wild, you won’t know until Monday morning … 

After enough data has been collected, it’s time to start refining the campaign. Key settings to review include: 

  • Network: Google defaults to displaying ads across the search and partner network, is this working for the ads? 
  • Device: would a mobile bid adjustment help performance? 
  • Days of the week: B2B campaigns, for example, can often be set to run on work days only
  • Times: likewise, 8am - 6pm can be the ideal scheduling
  • Keywords and quality score: which keywords are underperforming? Are some of the most commercially important terms flagging a low quality score?

Match types and search terms

‘Search terms’ are different from your ‘search keywords’. The latter are the keywords that you are actively bidding on; the former are the search terms that triggered your ads to display and can be affected by the keyword match types you determine for your keyword terms. For example, an IT provider we worked with recently was offering an all-you-need-to-know about Unified Business Communications eGuide. In their sector, ‘UC’ was a common abbreviation and the ads were getting lots of impressions for this term. However, looking at the SERP results proved this term to be completely irrelevant (people were searching for information on Universal Credit).

So, I tweak the campaigns as appropriate, being careful not to make too many changes that would make results difficult to track - and then rinse and repeat! Constant monitoring of any PPC campaign is vital, especially if your industry is prone to breaking news, new developments or uses terminology that has duplicate, irrelevant meanings. 

Our Facebook Ads process 

Our Facebook Ads strategy is very similar. Each campaign starts with a well structured and thought out content strategy and helps us determine the objective of our campaign.

Campaign objective

This is one of the first things we determine at the start of a campaign. Typically, the most popular objective is in the Consideration Stage - this aligns with the goals of driving traffic towards a landing/pillar page or generating leads.

Using the information and SEO keywords that come out of the strategy, we’ll produce copy and designs that will form either an image or Facebook video ad. Usually, we’ll create a few different options which allow us to A/B test each variant to see which is the better performer.

Target audience

Facebook marketing is great because it gives you the opportunity to be really specific with your targeting. We gather the information we need to create a strong target audience by conducting a buyer persona workshop, to decipher key elements for the ads, such as the locations, age-range and gender. 

We also go further in-depth to determine a more detailed Facebook ads audience such as interests, activities, jobs and behaviours: are they an active shopper and do they travel often? If you want to target a very specific audience, the more information you can gather on the persona, the better. 

Ads placements

Facebook has the option of manual or automatic placements:

  • Automatic placements are great for maximising the ad budget and optimising placements for best results. I’ll choose this option if the audience doesn’t need to be too defined, or if I want to gather more data on which platform receives the most engagement.
  • Manual placement is perfect for more in-depth targeting. For instance, if the data gathered from our content strategy has shown the customer has no audience on Instagram, I’d tailor the ad to show specifically on Facebook. 

Generally, I’ll begin with automatic placements, then once enough data has come in I can define them more specifically. 

Ads budget and schedule

I always advise starting out with a smaller budget and making adjustments as more data is gathered. This allows you to add more money where you know it’s going to perform. Don’t forget to optimise your budgets so they’re aligning with the correct goals! 

I like to run a campaign for a month and set a lifetime budget for that time frame, checking in weekly to see which ads are performing best. Remember, patience is key with PPC.

Ads tracking

Always make sure to set up a Facebook pixel or UTM code, otherwise, you won’t be able to track whether your ads are actually working! The Facebook pixel tells you if your ads are driving results, and which audiences and ad creatives the conversions are coming from, which is crucial when gathering data and analysing performance.

If you’d like to find out more about social advertising, be that LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or even TikTok, or perhaps you’re interested in search, shopping or display advertising on Google or Bing, ESM Inbound can help you create a successful paid ads strategy. Get in touch with our experts today.

Our content includes affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links on our website. This will be at no cost to you and helps to fund the content creation work on our website.