Launching an advertising campaign with the proper trajectory is a blend of strategy and agility. It’s rare that a campaign does not include a pivot or redirect. During a recent Google Ads campaign executed for a global biotechnology company, our team noted some best practices that are worth passing on.
1) Evaluating Goals
Before rolling up your sleeves, consider your main objectives. What are you trying to achieve and what are the steps for getting there? Understanding the desired outcome – a client’s specific objectives – is critical. Take the time to define goals and key metrics while managing expectations for the project. The success of the campaign relies on it.
Evaluating goals begins with a historical review of previous campaigns and strategies. What background information is needed to develop objectives? Has there been a recent audit of marketing campaigns, strategic messaging, website, or advertising approaches? Having a thorough understanding of the current strategies informs the campaign strategy and development.
Applying ULG's 5-step process quickly advanced the Google Ads campaign through the Discover phase to the Development and Deployment phase.
2) Focus on Alignment
After the campaign objectives have been identified, it's time to craft strategic and compelling messages, which will be paired with effective imagery. Having two or three main messages is optimal, with topics or key ideas that are critical for the end user. Ask yourself, how will you convince the user to take the desired action? And will that desired action bring your client closer to their objectives? Developing messaging from the customer’s point of view is critical. The same concept should be followed for any text in description areas, site links, and snippets.
Once the message is honed and tested, the creative services team must align it with imagery that reinforces the message. Conceptualizing the landing page, the display ad, and messaging is vital to the overall campaign. Providing 'mock' versions of the ad is a great method, as it gives the designer a visualization of your thinking process. An added benefit is that it also allows everyone to be aligned and collaborative under strict deadlines.
3) Tactical Planning
Campaign objectives and design ideas come together in a tactical plan. In order to have a successful campaign, tactical planning cannot be overlooked. The planning process takes into account every detail during the campaign's timespan. An effective tactical plan aligns critical tasks with deliverables to be provided by each department, including creative and digital marketing.
The process can be overwhelming, so start by thinking of the high-level logistics and then distill work into tactics or tasks. Developing categories for the required work is a great way of staying organized and ensuring nothing is missed.
In order to stay on track, it's critical to define a due date for each step. Consider organizing your tactical plan in an outline format like the one below:
- Background and Overview
- Campaign Objectives
- Strategic Messaging
- Creative Concepts
- Tactical Timeline
- Conclusion or Recap
4) Deploying and Executing
Based on your tactical plan, everything is ready to go live, right? That may be the initial thought, but have you calculated the time for uploading the display ads as images, ensuring the keywords are pasted as a list and making sure snippets look good? The deploying phase can easily be underestimated, as they seem like a natural part of the campaign flow.
It's also vital to test Google's size recommendations, as they can be a little complex. For example, we resized our display ads several times before they were accepted by Google. Following Google's recommendations is a start, but we recommend having several size variations to avoid critical time loss and missed deadlines.
5) Monitoring and Refining
Once the campaign is launched, the last critical step is monitoring and refining data. Google will provide feedback and recommendations, but ultimately, it's your obligation to keep the campaign alive and running.
The last focus area is the tag manager. In order to capture traffic sources to your landing page and maximize retargeting efforts, the tag must be installed properly. Working with a web developer is highly recommended, as it can be one of the trickiest technical components to implement.
Planning your own campaign soon? We’ve shared some of the biggest components for a smooth campaign. We’re constantly learning and improving, so if you’ve found this post helpful, please let us know! As you launch your own campaign, don’t forget to utilize this post as a tool to ensure you're achieving maximum potential with minimum time.