Paid Media

Demand Generation

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6 Essentials for Running a Paid Media Campaign for a SAAS Company

6 Essentials for Running a Paid Media Campaign for a SAAS Company

As of 2021, people made 45.41 billion monthly searches on Google, 13.34 billion monthly searches on Youtube, and 11.74 billion monthly searches on Facebook. Social media is its own beast — there are currently 4.59 billion people using it. 

Standing out online is tough in 2022. The competition is fierce, and viewers are fairly selective about the content they consume. 

That's where paid media campaigns come in. Running one allows your SaaS business to stake a claim on a small corner of sites like Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and more. 

But running a paid media campaign isn't as simple as buying ad space and running a few ads thrown together in an afternoon. So, to help you take your SaaS media campaigns to the next level, this article will cover the six essentials you need.

1. Determining Your Purpose

"Why?" isn't just a philosophical question designed to help you find meaning in an uncertain world. Knowing what you aim to achieve and why you want to achieve it is vital for developing a strong paid media campaign strategy. Think of it this way: how are you supposed to map out the path to your destination if you don't know where it is?

We recommend considering the big picture and choosing one goal you'd like to achieve with your media campaign. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

Awareness-based goals: 

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Reach a new target market 
  • Increase paid website traffic 

Conversion-based goals: 

  • Increase sales 
  • Improve Marketing Return on Investment (MROI)
  • Increase customer retention

Now, break this big goal into several smaller objectives. Objectives are milestones that help you know when you're on track to reach your goal. The best objectives are SMART ones, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

Source: LaunchSpace A diagram showing that SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

You can use this template to create a SMART objective: "by (time), we will increase (metric) by (x) using (strategies)." For example: "by the end of November, we will increase free trial sign-ups by 15% using Paid-Per-Click (PPC) Facebook ads."

Aim for 2-4 objectives as a general rule. Too many, and you'll find it hard to focus on them. Too few, and they won't show your progress towards your goal accurately. 

2. Understanding your ICP

Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a detailed description of the traits of your dream customer. Your ICP covers:

  • Firmographic and demographic attributes. Firmographic traits include a business's industry, size, location, structure, and performance. Demographic traits include an individual's gender, profession, income, age, and family structure. 
  • Environmental attributes. These include the economic, technological, and social forces influencing your ideal customer's purchasing decisions.
  • Behavioral attributes. This is how the lead behaves on your website, with salespeople, and on social media, and how the lead shows interest in your offerings. 

Here's a sample template from PropellerCRM to give you an idea of how these attributes come together in an ICP:

Source: PropellerCRM. A sample ICP breaking down a fictional company's pain points, decision-making factors, business objectives, etc.

It's worth investing time and funds into conducting market research with customers to develop your ICP. You want to really understand them — their pain points, motivations, challenges, goals, and what influences their purchasing decisions. 

Then, you should catalog your findings in an ICP template that your whole marketing team can access. Giving everyone access will ensure your customers stay top of mind for every marketing project.

When you design your paid media campaign, use your ICP to answer questions like:

  • How will the ideal customer react to this ad?
  • Does this ad touch on an ideal customer's pain points or motivations?
  • What could we change about this ad to better attract ideal customers?

That should keep you on track. 

3. Reaching your ideal customers

Now, you know who your ideal customers are. But what platforms do they use? After all, if your ideal customers don't use TikTok, you won't have any success running TikTok ads!

Ask your customers which platforms they use and try to understand how they use them. What content do they regularly engage with? What types of conversations do they have with others? What content niches are they interested in? These are all crucial things to know. 

More generally, we see certain audience trends on social media platforms. According to data from GWI, the three most common reasons people use social media is to keep in touch with loved ones, fill spare time, and read news stories. 

Source: DataReportal. A chart showing the top 16 reasons people use social media)

Here are the favored social media platforms of females globally:

  • Age 16-24: Instagram (24.2% use it)
  • Age 25-34: Instagram (18.2% use it)
  • Age 35-44: WhatsApp (15.7% use it)
  • Age 45-54: WhatsApp (17.6% use it)
  • Age 55-64:  WhatsApp (21.0% use it)

Here are the favored social media platforms of males globally:

  • Age 16-24: Instagram (22.8% use it)
  • Age 25-34: Facebook (16.4% use it)
  • Age 35-44: Facebook (18.0% use it)
  • Age 45-54: WhatsApp (19.3% use it)
  • Age 55-64: WhatsApp (22.5% use it)

And here is what people like to do on each platform:

Source: DataReportal. A table showing what activities people perform on social media)

4. Generating Qualified Leads 

Keeping your ideal customers top of mind is one thing, but actually reaching them is another. 

SaaS marketers tend to think of paid ad campaigns at a high level. They think about the message, success metrics, overall strategy, and the work that went into creating an ad. Customers and leads don't view ads in the same way. Things like the background color, the phrasing of the CTA, or how the person in the ad is smiling tend to attract their attention. 

Thinking like a SaaS marketer isn't a bad thing. But try to see your ads from a customer's perspective as well. Consider these elements:

  • Tone. Is it friendly, conversational, fun, sassy, professional, formal, etc.? 
  • Colors. Is your ad bright, dull, overwhelming, underwhelming, etc. Are the colors complimentary? Do you use warm or cool colors? 
  • The Call To Action (CTA). Are you using soft selling or hard selling? 
  • Messaging. Does your ad have a double meaning? Is the message clear? Are there any implications? 
  • Imagery. What tone does the imagery portray? How will viewers feel when they view the images?
  • Creativity. Is your ad unique? What is striking or innovative about it?

Aside from the contents of your ad itself, you should also consider these two elements:

  1. The type of ad. Video, in-feed, sponsored influencer post, text-based, paid search results, etc. 
  2. On-screen placement. Where does it appear on the viewer's screen — in the center, on the side, on the bottom, etc.?

Mastering ad types and ad placement will take time. You might want to run some A/B tests to see what your audience reacts best to. 

5. Refining & Consistently Conjuring Lead Generation

This essential activity — monitoring your campaign — must be performed periodically. We recommend doing a daily, weekly, and monthly check-in. 

Daily, you should look for major deviations in how people respond to your ads. This will help you catch any errors and act quickly to rectify them. 

Weekly, you should look at how your progress compares to previous weeks. Sudden drops in your metrics can indicate that your strategy isn't working, and you need to try a fresh approach. 

Monthly, you should look for industry trends that won't be fully visible daily or weekly. Things like a drop in results around certain events or a spike in results around the launch of a product. 

We recommend you use these metrics to evaluate your paid ad campaigns:

  • Impressions. How many people have seen your ad. 
  • Clicks. How many people clicked the ad.
  • Impressions vs. clicks (also called your "Click-Through Rate" or "CTR"). What percentage of people click your ads after viewing them.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC). How much each click costs.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). How much each sale costs.
  • Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). Your total campaign cost subtracted from your total campaign revenue. 

Other metrics like your relevancy score on Facebook and your quality score on Google Adwords can measure how relevant your ads are to your target audience. 

6. Reevaluation of SAAS Marketing Funnel

Finally, you need to map out your sales funnel so you know how customers are getting from viewing your ad to finally purchasing your offering. 

Your sales funnel plays a major role in paid advertising campaigns, informing things like the pages you link in CTAs, what points you touch on to get customers' attention, and what direction you push ad leads in. With over 17,000 SaaS businesses in the U.S. and 2,000 SaaS businesses in the U.K alone, you really want to be on top of these things so you can stand out. 

SaaS sales funnels are working documents. You'll need to continuously update your sales funnel so you stay up to date with any shifts in customer behavior, internal shifts in your marketing, or external shifts in the market. An out-of-date sales funnel threatens the success of your marketing — you'd be basing today's ad on last year's facts. 

Conclusion

The SaaS industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.89% from 2022 to 2028. Naturally, the competition between SaaS brands is fierce, and you need to be on top of your marketing if you want to stand out. 

Paid media campaigns can help you reach your marketing goals. And to master them, you need these six things:

  1. A purpose
  2. An understanding of your ICP
  3. A way to reach your ideal customers
  4. Ads that generate quality leads
  5. Daily, weekly, and monthly metric monitoring sessions
  6. Continuous re-evaluation of your sales funnel 

Kat Bowen, Performance Marketing Manager

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