Develop specific gameplans for each platform, from the ground up.

There’s no denying the impact that Google and Facebook ads can have on your digital results — but managing your own campaigns presents a challenge, because the learning curve can be steep (not to mention expensive).

The good news is that both platforms have matured in recent years, offering more targeting options, resources, and training for new advertisers than ever before.

Extreme Relevancy: Getting Strategic with Google AdWords

Think about how you use Google. You’re almost always looking for something specific. It could be the “complete roster of the 1990s Cincinnati Reds” or “car insurance quotes” or “lawyers near me,” but the specificity of searches paired with Google Adwords’ ability to target ads by those queries presents a unique opportunity for businesses to target people who are searching for something extremely relevant to your business and the products or services you offer.

Deciding on the small set of extremely relevant search queries that you want to bid on is a key first step to developing your Adwords campaign. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to check out the search volumes in the geographic area you’re going to target. Google’s keyword suggestion tool will turn up additional relevant keywords, but you should assess these one by one to make sure they pass the extremely relevant test.

Before you switch on your campaigns, make sure that conversion tracking is adequately implemented so that ecommerce sales, phone calls, and leads captured are all being measured inside of Adwords. This information is invaluable as you optimize your campaigns down the road.

It’s also worth testing which times of day are most effective. Unless your business is a global one, I don’t recommend running ads between midnight and 6am.

Engaging Your Audience: The Facebook Advertising Playbook

While Google searches give you a good idea about what your target consumers want to know, Facebook’s analytics and ad platform give you an intimate look into who your target consumers are. After all: instead of actively searching for information, many Facebook users are simply being social — and many have been sharing personal details with the site for over a decade. That trove of data is a gold mine for advertisers.

You can use the platform’s Audience Insights to your advantage by crafting personalized ads to segmented groups based on their interests, or even couple interests for more targeted pairings. For example, chances are pretty high that someone who likes the Facebook pages for “America’s Cup” and “Bermuda Race” has an interest in sailing. Finding clever pairs of interests, coupled with geotargeting, is a great way to home in on a target audience.

Always test multiple versions of ads with varied copy and visuals, for long enough that you can determine a winning variant. Here, our rule of thumb is 1,000 impressions each. Once you determine which ads are resonating with your target consumers, you can tweak your tactics accordingly to make the most of your Facebook ad investment.

Finally, Facebook retargeting has gotten really powerful lately. Correctly implementing Facebook’s retargeting pixel allows you to segment visitors who have taken specific actions on your site. Take it from us: the retargeting audiences you can build with Facebook have powered some of our most successful campaigns.

Make Your Landing Pages Great

Remember: Google and Facebook ads are only a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. Once you drive traffic to your site with your high-performing ads, your landing pages must do the rest of the work. Be sure your navigation is intuitive, and your content is valuable to its intended audience for the best results.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offers search engine optimization and analytics services to help businesses transform their websites into visible sources of knowledge online and answer the questions that matter most to your prospects. Learn more about SEO and analytics here.

Author Cooper Pickett

Cooper is the CEO and a co-founder of L&T Co. He is a partner of Columbia Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Startup Lab and a 2010 graduate of Columbia University (CC’10). At L&T, he oversees a growing international team that works around the clock to get clients results. He has extensive leadership and team-building experience from his time as the CMO of a real estate startup. He excels as a marketer and strategist — qualities he refined and developed as the founder of e-commerce businesses in the sports and subscription spaces. With the founding of L&T, Cooper brings these strategies and insights to companies worldwide. He participates in Princeton University’s Employer in Residence program, serves on the Columbia Startup Lab’s leadership committee, and speaks on industry panels about entrepreneurship, marketing, and startups. On occasion, he teaches web marketing at General Assembly.

More posts by Cooper Pickett