Elite SEM Q&A: Getting More Out of Google and Facebook Ads in 2019

Last updated on by Ginny Tonkin in Google Ads, Facebook Advertising

When you’re an agency that manages clients’ digital advertising campaigns, you have a lot of responsibility because they hired your expertise and expect to see positive results quickly. Sure, ad clicks are important, but clients care more about real results — more conversions, leads, and revenue.

To deliver maximum ROI, each targeted ad deserves its own personalized landing page. And scaling landing page production gets time-consuming immediately. Since you can’t dedicate 100% of your time to each client, ultimately all agencies face the same problem:

Before we get into the solution for that problem, we talked with Aaron Levy, Director of Paid Search, and Katy Lucey, Director of Paid Social, at Elite SEM digital marketing agency about getting more return from Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Specifically, what they believe will have a big impact in 2019, and how both machine learning and personalization play a role in campaign optimization.

What are a few Google Ads tactics you think have worked well before, but won’t in the future?

AL: The notion of 100% control is a thing of the past. I’ve always been a big proponent of hyper-segmentation and match type funneling in SEM, e.g., bidding $2 for exact, $1.50 for phrase and $1 for broad to make sure a query was pushed where we wanted it to go. We see success by keeping the lanes open, allowing AI to serve whichever variation of a term it thinks is best.

Same question, but for Facebook ads…

KL: Since dynamic product ads rolled out a few years ago, we’ve seen massive adoption, especially in the retail space. While I think they will continue to be efficient, from an overarching strategy perspective, I think that advertisers will need to diversify to capitalize on finding new customers with high LTV potential.

I also think static image ads will make a comeback in 2019 after years of video being king, especially with the rollout of square link ads.

What is overlooked in Google Ads but will be big in 2019/the future?

AL: Responsive Search Ads. As much as I dislike the word “responsive,” this is going to be ad testing on steroids.

It was fairly rudimentary in 2018, so a lot of advertisers seemed to brush them aside. As the algorithm gets better and reporting gets better, I believe they’re going to be a much more powerful tool.

Same question, but for Facebook Ads…

KL: I think a lot of advertisers, especially those with an emphasis on direct response, rely too heavily on retargeting segments, both website custom audiences and CRM list segmentation, to the extent that it is harder to expand reach. We’ve seen success driving conversions with broader targeting such as interest segments with much greater scale and sustainability.

How do you see AI and machine learning playing a role with paid ads going forward?

AL: A lot of the simple stuff is going to be taken out of our hands. The internet has gotten WAY too complicated over the years and there are WAY too many signals for us to bid on alone.

In 2019, I’d guess that nearly all auction-based systems (Google Ads, Facebook, Display, etc.) will all be AI based, and the manual bid will start to be depreciated. I’d love to see AI start to truly personalize our ads, but it’s not there yet.

How will personalization play a role with paid ads in 2019 and beyond?

AL: Personalization has a LONG way to go and needs to get better. At this point it’s fairly rudimentary; some basic algorithms paint a picture of you based on purchase and site browsing habits. They then pick a few like products and hammer them down your throat.

In my mind, the future is more… mind reader-y. An algorithm that can map together audience data, leveraged against information already stored about you on Google/Facebook/Apple and figure out what’s best to show me based on psychographics rather than just click behavior alone. In the future I see us being able to paint the ideal product mix or messaging for a landing page before a customer ever interacts with our brand.

What are 1-2 ways digital marketers can insert personalization into paid ads and landing pages?

AL: It blows my mind more marketers don’t work on gender testing. I’m not talking about showing boys pants to girls and girls pants to boys, but more about varying product mix.

Say you’re a grocery store; odds are males and females will react differently to a plate of tacos, a mug of beer, or a nice crudite tray. Levers like demographics and interest exist in Google Ads now and, while not perfect, are a good data set to leverage.

The other most underutilized personalization tool is localization. Make your landing page experience feel like it was written by their neighbor, using neighborhood names and local slang. Don’t be that guy who markets to Philadelphian’s by only using pictures of cheesesteaks. (note: am Philadelphian – we hate that).

What results do your clients see after personalizing their ads and the post-click experience?

AL: A lift in conversion rate (duh!) but also higher quality leads and customers. Users faced with a personalized experience tend to lead to a shorter sales timeline and a longer lifetime value. When customers are more informed and the transaction feels more “personal,” they tend to be stickier.

How can agencies solve their post-click pain points?

Circling back to the problem up top, agencies can maximize their clients’ paid ad budget using post-click optimization (PCO) services. Scalable creation means Instablocks™ can help you build customized landing pages at scale, heatmaps and sophisticated A/B testing lets you optimize each page for higher conversions, and personalization enables you to create unique experiences for every targeted audience:

PCO is the stage in the advertising funnel that turns clicks into conversions, and is where Instapage sits between ad platforms and marketing automation:

PCO is essential because you’ve already spent considerable time creating hyper-targeted ads. So sending those ad clicks to personalized landing pages will convert into higher ROI.

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