Where To Spend Your Budget When Advertising Managed Services
One of the most common questions I get when talking to MSPs is “where should I spend my advertising budget?” In reality, not every business has the ability to fork out thousands of dollars per month, spread across multiple platforms. The platform on which they spend their money first (and the return on such placement) often dictates the longevity of their campaigns. Put simply, if they get nothing out of the first few hundred dollars they spend, they are more likely to stop spending altogether than trying something else.
Here are a few placements that have generated great results in my experience and will act as building blocks for any MSP advertising campaign:
LinkedIn: Engagement Ads To Title & Industry
Based on current results, LinkedIn ads offer the best chance of a positive return on investment for budgets typical of an MSP. One of the reasons for this is the precision of targeting that is available within the platform and the accuracy of the data that is used. Users are more likely to update their LinkedIn profile (opposed to Facebook) when they change jobs or receive a promotion, which benefits advertisers and their ability to target them.
The placement that I use the most is engagement ads that are targeted to specific title and industry. When you select “engagement” as your campaign objective, it will include a follow button on your ad and will show to users that are most likely to engage. This is great for top of funnel brand awareness and building a social following for your brand on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn: Lead-Gen Ads To Re-targeting Audience
Another LinkedIn ad placement that we use frequently is “lead generation” ads to our audience of website visitors (re-targeting). After someone has had a chance to consume the content on your website, their interest level is piqued. If they saw value in your content, they are likely to opt-in for more if offered the opportunity.
Launching ads with a “lead generation” objective will include a form directly under your ad, giving the audience the ability to opt-in to your contact list without leaving their feed. Through testing various types of ads, we have found that video is the best medium to use when launching lead generation ads and may greatly increase the opt-in rates on your forms.
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LinkedIn: Traffic Ads To Matched Audience
An additional placement that has shown great potential is using “traffic” focused ads and showing it to a matched audience. The objective of this campaign type is drive traffic to the URL within the ad and will contain an additional call-to-action to do so. These ads may not include a follow button by default, attempting to funnel your audience toward your landing page and not other miscellaneous actions.
The reason these work well with a matched audience is because this audience is already engaged with your company, to the point where you have opted-in to your contact list. This means that the brand recognition is strong which will increase the likelihood of a click or action. These lists can be uploaded manually, or synced with your CRM (such as Mailchimp) via a third-party integration.
Facebook: Engagement Ads To Interest Audience
Have you ever talked about something with your friend and then seen an ad on Facebook or Instagram for a similar product shortly after? Almost anyone who is a user of these platforms will share a similar story and how freaked out they were when it happened. This is Facebook doing an excellent job at knowing your interests in any given moment, beyond what you actively “like” and “follow.”
Using engagement ads to target those interested in services that you offer is a great use of Facebook’s many targeting methods. While it may take awhile for these ads to optimize based on your budget, they eventually accumulate enough data to learn what type of people are most likely to engage and will favor these impressions (yielding better results).
Facebook: Follower Ads To Look-a-like Audience
Ads that have a singular purpose of generating page followers often get overlooked when it comes to building a campaign. This is mainly because page followers are looked at as vanity metrics and the organic reach on Business Page posts continue to dwindle. The reason I still recommend these ads is because your follower count is still public and it matters in how your business is portrayed. Having 500 followers makes you look more legitimate than if you only had 5 followers. It’s not fair, but it is how consumer brains work when evaluating people or companies.
Look-a-like audiences are one of the better targeting options to use for this type of ads. This is when you allow Facebook to create an audience that is similar to your own. We create look-a-like audience from our website visitors, which the platform does a pretty good job of matching based on its user data. The ads using this audience do not perform as well as the original audience that it is modeled after, but they still perform better than other targeting methods available.
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Reddit: Video Ads To Sub-Reddit Audience
Reddit is one of the most under-appreciated advertising platforms on the market. One of the major benefits of Reddit ads right now is their low cost to entry. Minimum bids on a CPM, CPC, and CPV are lower than just about any major platform that I have seen. This makes for a great opportunity, should you find the right targeting for your message.
When we launch Reddit Ad campaigns, we only target specific Sub-Reddit communities and do so on a CPV basis. We choose video because the minimum cost per view is $0.01 (yes,you read that correctly). This means that if you have a video that really relates to the Sub-Reddit you choose, you can get a view for a single penny, many of which lead to clicks to your landing page. This strategy is perfect for vertical specific MSPs that want to explore new advertising placements.
Google: Youtube Ads To Keyword Search
If it were not for Youtube Ads and Display Retargeting, the Google Ads platform would have little to offer small-budget MSPs. This is because Google’s years of monopoly within the search advertising realm brought an incredible amount of competition to the platform, pricing many small businesses out of contention.
While successfully bidding on keywords is difficult for Google Search Ads, it is far more budget-friendly to bid on keywords using Youtube Ads. This placement allows you to show ads on Youtube to viewers that have previously searched a keyword on Google. This is an excellent way to avoid competition and still be able to target an audience with a strong level of intent.