Pay-per-click campaigns in paid media are a potential gold mine. The idea is simple: you bid for certain channels (whether those channels are for certain audiences or for certain keywords) and, if you “win”, your ad will be shown to relevant users. If they like the ad, click and, hopefully, buy.
The idea is simple. Execution, however, can be more challenging.
There are many companies that come to us frustrated and crazy for having invested a large number of funds without seeing results. This often happens even with brands that have experienced and dedicated marketing departments, all because management is extremely difficult.
If you are struggling with your Ads campaigns, you are not alone.
So, why is paid media management so difficult? In this post, we will detail why managing your campaigns is so challenging, because unfortunately there is only one answer.
Because there is a steep learning curve
There are several platforms to choose from. Google Ads. Ads on Facebook and Instagram. Ads on Twitter. Bing Ads. Promoted pins. LinkedIn ads. Quora Ads.
Great options, but each individual platform has its own ad platform, placement options, targeting options, and general best practices.
There is also a steep learning curve for each. You need to know which automated rules, for example, can benefit you and which will harm you.
Trying to test different bid strategies to find out which one will give you the best results at the lowest cost is also exhausting in itself, and sometimes just looking at the panel Creating an ad is enough to make you feel overwhelmed.
There are steep learning curves involved for each platform, and this requires an enormous amount of time, research, ad spend, and dedicated testing. Some brands just don’t have that time or money, especially when you think it gets even more fun when you’re trying to create Facebook campaigns for Google and LinkedIn
Why there are so many options
When you’re setting up a Google ad campaign, there are a million decisions to be made at each step. There are so many decisions to be made, and each one can have the potential to sabotage a strong campaign. Talk about pressure.
In Google Ads only, you must make choices about the types of ads you want to show, what you want to optimize, what actions you will use to track your ad, your bid, your bid strategy, your targeting by the audience, keywords you want, negative keywords you don’t want, and much, much more.
It is easy to get distracted and stray from some of these options. On Facebook, for example, you may end up creating a very small audience to have a strong enough reach, because you are creating hyper-targeted audiences for single parents of kids who love yoga and dogs but hate cats.
Sure, you can write a really targeted message there, but it will only attract a few people and probably not perform as well as you expected.
Especially when you’re new to a platform, having so many options isn’t always a good thing, especially when choosing the wrong one can hurt your campaigns.
Because not all platforms work for all companies
LinkedIn ads are great for B2B companies, but not always so much for most B2C brands. If I saw an ad for a “future bride” subscription box on LinkedIn, I would laugh and not click. It is very out of place.
Some companies are simply not ideal for all platforms, and it can sometimes be difficult to assess what works for you. Some service-based brands seem to really struggle on Pinterest and Instagram, although they don’t fit with this type of tool.
And in some cases, you need to connect with high-intent audiences who are looking for you, instead of trying to create demand where it just doesn’t exist.
A personal injury lawyer is likely to be much more successful at Google Ads, where he can harvest the demand for high-intent leads who are actively looking for his services. Meanwhile, on Facebook, they can show their ad to a group of people who don’t need a personal injury lawyer, wasting their time and money.
Because not all strategies work… and that’s fine
Sometimes the campaigns that are supposed to work simply don’t work. This is frustrating, but unfortunately, it is the norm.
We once campaigned for a customer to market his vegan ice cream, and it was marketed specifically to vegetarians and vegans within a 40-kilometer radius of his restaurant.
The audience was large enough, we were using carousel ads that performed well in other campaigns and the copy performed well organic.
Everything was in order … but for some reason, the campaign just didn’t go well. The average CPC in our campaigns was below $ 1, but in this campaign, they jumped to over $ 12.50. There was no clear reason for this – we got clicks, conversions, and engagement. But it just didn’t work.
When you’re not regularly working closely with paid media campaigns, it’s hard to know what’s normal and what’s not, making it even more difficult to assess whether certain strategies are working or failing. There is no baseline to follow.
Whether you have experience or not when it comes to media campaigns, this is a factor that never gets easier or less frustrating and is easily one of the reasons why managing the Ads tools is so difficult. Even well-developed and carefully researched strategies may not work for your brand, and there is not always an obvious reason for this.
Because the market fluctuates
We are not running campaigns in an isolated bubble, which means that a number of factors can impact strategies and campaigns already in place.
New competition may arise and start bidding higher on your best keywords, consumer interest may change so that they are favoring different keywords and even changes in technology,
Consumer behavior, your competition, and your campaigns, and everything in between, will fluctuate. As a result, your advertising campaigns too. That’s why it’s so essential to watch your campaigns diligently and often, as even a high-performing ad can drop suddenly in a few days. You always need to be in control of your campaigns or you risk having the rug pulled out of you.
Why platforms float
As if the change in the market wasn’t bad enough, the platforms themselves are also constantly changing. Algorithms change, new features are released, ad formatting is adjusted and even advertising guidelines (including what is allowed) change. Best practices are constantly evolving because so are platforms.
Managing your paid media campaigns means staying current with all these changes because if you miss something big, your campaigns are likely to suffer as a result. This can be exhausting, especially when you’re trying to keep up with multiple platforms that are constantly evolving, tracking small complexities and similar big changes.
Because it takes time
Managing paid media is time-consuming and expensive.
It takes time to learn the intricacies of platforms and it takes time to keep up to date with any and all changes that may impact your campaigns. This includes the fact that sometimes campaigns just don’t work without a clear explanation of why.
It takes time to create multiple versions of each campaign for division testing and to create multiple campaigns based on audience niches, stages of the buyer’s persona, different strategies, and different goals.
You may need fifteen different ads (or more) to promote a single event, for example, which is how some brands end up with hundreds or even thousands of ads running at the same time. And you may need this for several different platforms.
As if it were not long enough to create these campaigns, you also need to manage them. You need to check them at least once a week and evaluate their performance. Are they effective? Are they generating results at an affordable price? Do you think they are nearing the end of their useful life?
Paid media management spends so much time and money that it really is a full-time job alone. And unfortunately, if you’re not all-in, the results may end up dull.