The ABCs of Paid Media

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Learn the Basics to Take Advantage of Paid Media Services

Although many have tried, a DIY approach to paid media can get confusing pretty fast. There’s more than a lifetime of strategies and optimizations you can make to maximize your ROI. On top of this, effective approaches require consistent vigilance as your competitors launch campaigns to top you.

Those who find success with paid search marketing, social media marketing, and more recognize that assistance is necessary. Yet most businesses aren’t exactly keen on the idea of simply handing over the keys to some “Google wizard” who promises the world. Neither are we.

You need an experienced paid media agency that walks you through short- and long-term paid media strategy, and can help you understand the process and what to expect from your business’s strategy.

You want to be able to say, “I have a paid media team on my side that understands my business and absolutely knocks it out of the park for me,” not, “I just let them handle all the ad stuff. It’s going fine, I think.”

Keep reading to get a crash course on everything paid media, so you understand how iFocus Marketing delivers during a successful paid media campaign.

Welcome to Your Paid Media Glossary

To empower you to understand your digital marketing endeavors, our paid media ad agency in Overland Park developed this glossary about all things paid media.

Read this glossary to learn more about paid search marketing and social media advertising services. You can also bookmark this page for future reference as you begin your journey to business success with a paid media agency.

After you’ve scanned the glossary, we’ve created a quiz for you at the end, so you can put your new knowledge to the test!

A Is for Ads

This first entry might seem too basic, but it’s a great place to start. When you use paid media services, you create advertisements that you pay for.

How you pay for your ads is based on two primary models: a pay-per-click model, where you only pay when a user clicks your ad, and a pay-per-impression model, where you pay for a certain number of impressions (views).

B Is for Bidding

Paid search is one of the most common forms of paid media advertising. Go search for “lawn services” or another common industry. You see the “sponsored” results that appear first? Businesses bid on those spots on Google Ads, the tool used to create a paid search campaign.

C Is for Cost-Per-Click, Cost-Per-Impression, Cost-Per-Acquisition, and More

Although cost-per-click (the dollar amount you bid on and pay when a user clicks your ad) is the most well-known cost-related metric in paid search, campaigns can be set up to maximize what you ultimately want: genuine leads and conversions.

For example, many businesses prefer a cost-per-acquisition model. With the help of an effective paid media team and the right tools, you can determine a paid search marketing budget that will tell you precisely how much you need to invest to see conversions and determine if that ROI is what you’re looking for. A model like this is especially useful in industries where a single conversion significantly outweighs the investment.

Each “cost-per” formula has its strengths, depending on your particular industry and business goals. Ask our Overland Park ad agency to help you determine the right KPI for you.

D Is for Display Ads

Display ads are a type of advertisement in a paid media campaign. These ads appear to users in various online places when they’re on their devices. These used to be called “banner ads.”

Display ads can be served to specific users based on metrics like location, what they look at online, demographics, and much more. A highly trained digital marketing strategist can successfully pinpoint a precise audience and target them with display ads for your business.

E Is for Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is a metric that helps you understand how well your advertisement is connecting with users. An engagement rate formula for a paid search campaign takes the total number of clicks and divides them by the number of impressions you’ve earned to determine how often someone takes an action after seeing your ad. For a social media marketing ad, Meta provides engagement data with multiple insights, including an expected engagement rate and a comparison to how your competitors’ ads perform.

F Is for Funnel

A funnel slowly sifts a wide amount of material into a small amount of material at the bottom. The marketing funnel concept comes up a great deal in the marketing world. At the top of a digital marketing funnel, you have many users who are simply researching or curious about a product or service. Through the right nurturing, a narrower audience moves down through the funnel as they consider purchasing your product or service.

From a paid media perspective, you can target your advertising to high-, mid-, or low-funnel audiences. Your ad will look and sound a bit different for those just doing research than those who are just about ready to buy. From a digital strategy perspective, you can also retarget customers who may have been doing research, but are now in a position to buy.

A paid media agency can help you identify potential customers at every stage of the marketing funnel and recommend how to market to them at those stages.

G Is for GA4

Formerly called Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 is the online tool you use to measure the performance of your campaigns across various platforms. GA4 provides you with a robust amount of data that will inform how you deliver your social media marketing and other paid media services.

H Is for Headline

In a sponsored Google Search ad, the largest text at the top of the ad is called the headline. This is where a user can click to visit your website. You need excellent copywriting skills to make these as enticing as possible in 90 characters or fewer.

In a Meta ad that appears on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, your headline is limited to just 27 characters.

I Is for Impression Share

Impression share, typically expressed as a percentage, is the maximum number of impressions you could have earned divided by the impressions your ad received. Digital marketers use this information to determine an ad’s performance. A business can even determine the number of impressions they lost based on the campaign budget.

J Is for the Journey

The customer’s journey is similar to the marketing funnel described above. Your paid media campaign can target each part of the customer’s journey, from an awareness of your business, to customer loyalty.

You need two things to be successful at nurturing clients along this path: an understanding of their needs at every stage of the journey, and the tools and know-how to make a difference at these particular touch points.

K Is for Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases that customers use when they search. Businesses bid on keywords in a paid search marketing campaign to earn the best sponsored placement. Keywords are often used in other forms of ads, as well, including sponsored YouTube video ads, so that your ad appears when users are searching for those keywords.

L Is for Landing Page

Where do customers go when they click your ad? They arrive at a landing page that was built for your campaign or an existing page on your website.

The landing page functions in two important ways: first, it allows you to track precisely how many users are visiting after clicking your ad, and who they are. Second, the landing page provides the opportunities for the user to take action, such as contacting your business, signing up for a newsletter, requesting a consultation, or making a purchase.

M Is for Meta’s Conversions API Toolkit

Conversions API will soon replace Meta Pixels as your tool to gain insight into users’ behavior on social platforms and your website. Conversions API provides real-time data tracking across devices with a high-level of accuracy and without compromising individual users’ privacy.

The transition from Meta Pixel to Conversions API will require an adjustment period for businesses. iFocus Marketing is well-versed in leveraging Conversions API for social media marketing success. Not only can you lean on our digital marketing firm to achieve campaign results, but you can count on us to interpret technical, granular data about your ads’ performance and develop strategies to capitalize on that information.

N Is for Negative Keywords

These are the keywords that you don’t want your ads to rank for, but may seem related to your ad. You can include a list of negative keywords in your paid search campaign, so your ad won’t be shown to the wrong users. If you’re selling grills for the back patio, you don’t want your customers seeing ads for grills, the jewelry for your teeth.

O Is for Omnichannel Marketing

When you use a combination of paid search, display ads, and social media advertising services all at once, this is called an omnichannel marketing strategy. Potential customers see your ads when they search online, when they’re on social media, and when they’re reading a news article. These tactics allow you to get in front of customers in multiple channels.

Our Overland Park ad agency recommends an omni- or all-channel marketing strategy that meets your potential clients wherever they go online, including your website. Keep in mind that if your ads are sending users to your site, and your site isn’t effectively designed, the ads you’re paying for won’t do what they’re meant to do.

P Is for Performance Marketing

A performance marketing strategy is an approach used by experienced paid media agencies like ours. The goal of performance marketing is to ensure your ads are optimized for the minute-to-minute changes and adjustments required to outdo your competitors and squeeze every last bit of high-level performance out of your campaign. This requires real-time analysis of competitors’ behavior, formulas to determine the most cost-effective budget to earn maximum returns, constant data analysis, a willingness to pivot as needed, and a deep analysis of your target audience.

A performance marketing campaign ensures your paid search or social media marketing campaign achieves superior results. However, to implement this strategy, you must have an experienced team at the helm that can navigate this intensive journey for your business.

Q Is for Quality Score

Platforms that sell paid advertising provide several tools to help you create the best advertisements possible. It is in Google, Meta, and other platforms’ best interests to ensure their customers are receiving ads and clicking them because that’s how they earn revenue. One metric, a quality score, is a ranking these platforms provide to determine the relevance of your ad for users, which, by extension, determines your success.

R Is for Remarketing or Retargeting

Remarketing or retargeting refers to serving ads to customers who have previously demonstrated an interest in your product, service, or industry, based on their online behavior. Keep reading to learn how digital ad targeting works.

S Is for Social Ads

We’ve mentioned social media advertising services alongside paid search marketing, but here’s a more comprehensive overview of ads on social media. Nearly every social platform (TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, X, Pinterest, and more) offers opportunities for paid ads and tools advertisers can use to ensure these ads are effective.

Social ads often operate on a cost-per-click and cost-per-impression basis. However, you can adjust these metrics with various formulas to determine your cost-per-acquisition to determine how much you end up investing to ensure actual sales.

T Is for Targeting

We’ve already described retargeting, but first, your paid search and social media marketing has to target key audiences. Today’s digital ads can target users based on location, age, gender, interests, and many more factors.

U Is for Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics is the previous generation of analytics tools from Google. Google Analytics 4 has replaced Universal Analytics. Good digital marketing agencies made the switch to GA4 and have completed certifications to maintain their Google Premier Partner status, an accolade bestowed by Google.

V Is for Video and Audio Ads

Our paid media agency also offers ad placements for YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and on major streaming platforms like Hulu. Video ads and audio ads are highly effective and far more affordable than running old-school television commercials and radio spots. They also have the potential to reach far more listeners than traditional ads due to our strategic targeting and retargeting methods.

W Is for Website Optimization

If your website isn’t a desirable place to end up after clicking on your ad, the ad isn’t worth the cost. Your website should be attractive, clearly written, and designed to drive customers to take the actions you want them to take. Our team specializes in website development and design to ensure your paid media ads successfully drive customers to an online destination where they want to do business.

X Is for XML

XML is the language you use to describe the data on your website. Optimizing your website with XML coding ensures that Google understands the value of your website for searchers, which in turn drives traffic to your site. Ask our team about technical search engine optimization (SEO) to prime your site for users with XML coding and additional optimizations that get results.

Z Is for Zero-Click Searches

A zero-click search occurs when a user searches and their answer appears as a “featured snippet.” The user finds the information they need without having to click anything, including your ad.

Is this bad for your paid media campaign? Not if you’re also writing SEO-optimized website content that answers questions, so Google can feature them on its search engine. Creating strong content creates trust and authority with users, and when you’re featured, you get instant brand awareness.

Keep Learning About Digital Marketing When You Partner with a Client-Focused Agency

Client education is a hallmark of iFocus Marketing. Our work is not founded on confusing buzzwords and “just leave it to us,” fast-talking tech guys. We have time, space, and energy to dedicate ourselves to guiding you through the entire process of a paid media campaign.

Start a conversation with iFocus Marketing, wherever you are in your journey toward business growth. We look forward to helping you meet your goals.

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