Paid Online Advertising for Bloggers: Do’s and Don’ts

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As a blogger who's sharing content with your users you might be interested in ways to monetize your efforts, especially if you're planning to roll it out on a regular career-like basis. Most often it's a ‘one-man show' in which case your initial budget might be limited so you'd really need to know what's worth paying for to help you get: valuable traffic.

While content is king, if it's not being sufficiently heard of it could well be a long way until it will get picked by search engines organically so if you are looking to monetize your content why not give it a slight cost-effective push?

Before we get the ball rolling let's see what questions would mostly come up before you can get going safely:

 – What are your objectives? To increase traffic? Increase engagement: stir up comments, increase average time spent on site, decrease bounce rate, increase repeats (repeat users), etc. 

– Who are you targeting? Have you defined your audience? Who is more likely to read your posts: male/female users, what age group, what location (here you can get as granular as to a zip code level in Google Adwords, city-level in Facebook, depending on the countries you are targeting) and most importantly: what interests? (fashion, travel, food, politics, etc)

– Is your post sufficiently enticing to suit/target your audience interests: do you help answer a question (eg. debate, poll, Q&A, interview, etc)? Are you exploring a topic of interest? Remember your ad format will also depend on the content you're trying to promote. For example, on Facebook there's an option to promote your Facebook Blog Page (Platform), your website address or the actual Facebook post. 

Once the above is defined, let's explore the DO's first:

BE BOLD:

Create strong Calls to Action (CTAs): be it within a post or a page ad you'll need to say it well and short (make a good sum up: character length limit is there for a reason!). If it's a sweepstake/giveaway, highlight your WIN CTA, give it a hashtag and add few other recognizable hashtags to it, such as #fbloggers (fashion bloggers) or #bbloggers (beauty bloggers). 

You might also add a value to the product you're giving away, such as ‘#WIN a luxury make-up kit worth £100'. Finally, don't forget to add a sense of urgency to your post: ie. Ends on Sunday! Then repeat your ad and tailor the post to say ‘Ends TODAY 4pm‘, etc.

BE RELEVANT:

First, set a test budget by using daily or lifetime caps (Adwords, Facebook, Twitter ads all have this functionality). Do small steps when testing the waters while aiming to find your audience. You'll need to create a target audience based around some of your assumptions first, setting your targeting broader to then narrow it by ad response/ad interactions.

It's not easy to generate demand, however using banner (display) ads would help get your ad more views (impressions), but these ads are less likely to drive clicks. (anything over an ad click-through rate of 0.20% is a good start to claim your ad has been potentially relevant to drive users to your site).  Google AdWords lets you purchase ads on a per click basis, so generating impressions can be a cost-effective way to get some attention to your brand.

For Display ads you can easily start with Google AdWords (display/image ads): if you don't have an in-house graphic designer you can use Google's Image gallery to create your initial banner templates, it's an easy fix and can be quite entertaining on a set up. Canva also has standard ad size templates that make it easy for you to create your own banner ads. Then investigate for topics, interests, placements (websites where your ad could appear) using Google's free display planner tool (note: you'll need a Google AdWords account to access this tool).

BE INQUISITIVE:

As a digital marketer with passion for data I've got a rule I love following when entering any new territory: Test to research, find and apply. 

Go back to basics, don't forget what were your initial objectives. Ultimately we all want traffic, yet not just any kind of traffic, we need the one that lasts, the one that returns and then ideally – engages. 

Track your posts, track your ads, and learn from your audience behavior. Use free analytic tools such as the widely spread Google Analytics, which allows you to dive into channel interactions (the actual traffic sources so that you could see which channel brings you more valuable traffic and which ones should be given more of your effort & investment). 

Once you've got your initial set of data, you know the landing pages which generate more views, interest and engagement, it's time to do A/B testing, ie. create 2 set of ads to target the same audience or same ad to target 2 different audiences.

Here are a few of our DON'TS:

DON'T follow rules. There're aren't any when it comes to testing (apart from editorial guidelines which really are a must:). What has worked for some might not work in the same manner for you so don't get discouraged just as yet, you'll find the right wagon to jump on! Just make sure to fail quickly (we all do it). If something isn't working, scrap it and try something new.

DON'T be indifferent. You've chosen the channel to test, came up with a campaign and a budget so don't let it run wildly on its own! Monitor and adjust accordingly.

DON'T work in silo. Team up with fellow bloggers, write or host a contributing post for your fellow bloggers and then promote it on your blog! Combine it with a giveaway or reach out to relevant companies in your field who could offer your users limited-time coupons/discounts. Once these are claimed, you could count these actions/track them as one of your campaign goals within your analytics platform to check for traffic driven to site vs. content engagement.

Of course it's an ample topic yet I hope I've managed to guide you through some of its key pitfalls, however if you've got further questions, don't hesitate to ask! I'd be happy to dive into years of digital marketing work and passion to help get your answers.

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About The Author

Kim earned her analytics chops at digital marketing agencies in Portland, Oregon, and her fashion chops as a teen navigating the preppy ’90s and now as an editor for IFB. Fortunately for the gems in her closet, wrangling the marketing and analytics for multiple websites doesn’t keep Kim behind the computer—she’s spoken at conferences as international asSimply Stylist NYC and as homegrown as Tiny Startup Camp. Her love of design translates to her home renovation projects. And when she’s not doing any of that, she’s chasing a two-year old, a husband, and a dog or drinking Oregon’s best coffee and wine. Actually, sometimes all of those things happen simultaneously.

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5 Responses

  1. Luís de Oliveira

    Hey 😉
    This post is very useful! Many thanks for sharing with us your experience!

    With <3 from doliveirafashionblog.com | D'Oliveira Fashion Blog

    Reply