Paid Marketing 101

Why start with paid marketing? Immediate results.

Key Takeaways

  1. Paid marketing is the best marketing approach for new brands because it gets immediate results.
  2. Paid ads appear directly in the feed of your target audience, boosting brand awareness.
  3. Before you create your first paid ad, take the time to set goals and do your research on your market and competition.

Digital marketing is a killer way to capture and keep the attention of your brand’s target audience. But, to be completely honest, a top-notch 360 strategy that includes all digital marketing avenues is pricey.


Here’s the good news. New brands don’t need to empty out every quarter in their marketing piggy bank to see results. Instead, start from base one with a highly targeted paid marketing campaign.



Why start with paid marketing? 

Because paid ads get immediate results.


Paid marketing is the only digital marketing strategy where you don’t need a substantial fan-base to see immediate results. 


Here’s what I mean. Email marketing has a killer ROI (a median ROI of approximately 122%), but you have to build your subscriber list of more than just your  friends and family before you’ll see results. And, that takes time.


With paid marketing, however, you can have a results-driven campaign up and running in front of your ideal customer profile (ICP) in less than a day. Not to mention, consumers that click on a paid marketing ad are 50% more likely to purchase than people who found your website organically.


Since you’re new to paid marketing, let’s take a quick glance at the anatomy of a paid ad on two of the most popular paid advertising platforms—Google and Facebook/Instagram.

1. Google AdWords

Do you remember when your dad asked you to “Bing” something, and you literally didn’t know what he was talking about? That’s because 87% of the search engine market share belongs to Google, and anyone who is anyone uses Google to find information. You know it. I know it. Let’s move on.


Since Google draws the attention of nearly all consumers, it’s a stellar platform for paid advertising. When you bid on a Google paid ad, you want your site on the first page (ideally the first listing) on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) for keywords relevant to your brand. The reason? A paid ad on the first position on the first page of Google gets 33% of the traffic.


Here’s how to identify a paid ad. If I type in “Gucci” into Google, here is what appears on my page.



You’ll notice a small difference between the first and second listing. The first listing is demarcated with the words “Ad” on top of the headline. This is a paid search ad. The second listing is an organic listing, or a listing that Google serves up based on various relevance factors (aka Search Engine Optimization or SEO).


Both listings have benefits, but here is a key difference. It takes months for new brands to get their content to appear first in the organic search listings. All you need to do for the top paid ad is shell out some money, and wait for the customers to come.

2. Facebook & Instagram Ads


It would be nuts to talk about paid advertising without talking about Facebook and Instagram. But, hold up. Why are we talking about Facebook and Instagram in the same sentence? 


Think of it like this. Facebook is the older parent of the much, younger, and cooler Instagram. If you want to hang out on Instagram, you have to go through its parental unit, Facebook.


That was a silly way of saying Facebook owns Instagram, so Instagram ads run through the Facebook platform. The benefit of this relationship is if you want to run an ad on both Facebook and Instagram, you don’t have to do double the work.


The Facebook and Instagram ad platform is much more versatile than the Google search engine results page. This means you have more variation in your Facebook and Instagram ad format options, including video ads, image ads, collections, carousel, instant experience, and more.


The format you choose will depend on your ad goals and audience preferences. Regardless of your ad format, your ads canappear in the same location on Facebook and on Instagram—right in the feed of your pre-selected target audience. 


Since you use social media daily, you’re no stranger to seeing paid ads on your feed, but here is an example of what an ad looks like on Instagram.



A paid Instagram (or Facebook) ad will always say “sponsored” in the top left corner, and will also include a Call-To-Action button (CTA) that says something like “shop now” or “learn more.” 


The cool thing about Facebook and Instagram is that algorithms work behind the scenes to help advertisers reach the right audience. Don’t believe it? Take one gander at the ad above, and guess which diet I’m on. Do it. I dare you.


I didn’t call Mark Zuckerburg and tell him I was going on the keto diet. However, through smart AI, Facebook can analyze my searches, learn about my interests, and make sure I see ads related to my interests. It’s not creepy. It’s advertising, baby.

What you need to do before you create your first ad.


1. Choose an advertising objective


It’s difficult to get results from an ad campaign if you don’t know what you want. Before you even look up “Google Adwords,” or “Facebook Ads,” ask yourself what outcome you want from your ad.


Do you want sales? Brand recognition? More traffic? App downloads? Email subscribers? Determine what you want, so you know when you’re getting results.

2. Know your audience


Understanding your audience involves learning everything you can about who your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is. Find out the following about your ICP: gender, age, location, occupation, education level, interests, purchasing patterns, etc.


Zero in on your customer profile to reach the right audience. Platforms like Facebook use audiences and AI to intelligently target and optimize your reach. 

3. Set your ad budget


Before you create an ad, determine how much you want to spend. What number will let you effectively promote your brand but not break the bank?  Then watch and see what every dollar spent converts to in sales or traffic. Industry average is (?) so if you’re making more than $4 in sales for every dollar spent, that means it’s working. 


4. Pick the right ad platform


Part of the reason you conduct market research on your target audience is to find out where your followers hang out online. 


For example, if you want to market to older Millennials or Gen X, then Facebook is a good option. If your audience is younger consider YouTube, Instagram, or Snapchat.

5. Check out what your competitors are doing


Your competitors have already done a lot of the hard work for you. Look your competitors up online to see what they are doing well.


If you are good with data and want to get technical, there are also several competitor research paid search tools (e.g., SEMrush, SpyFu, iSpionage, etc.) that will give you actionable data and insights on how you can outperform your competitors.