6 Elements to an effective paid advertising campaign


By Nsovo Shimange - March 10, 2020

If you’re a savvy business owner looking for a way to help your business stand out in a crowded online space, paid advertising is perfect for you. 

Paid advertising may just be that crucial missing piece that’s holding you back from building a robust Inbound Marketing strategy that will help your business thrive. 

When done right, paid advertising gives any business, at any stage in its development the ability to build brand awareness, generate quality leads and increase sales.  

In this blog I’ll take you through 6 essential elements you will need for your next paid advertising campaign and I’ll also use Udacity’s paid online advertising campaign as a real-world example of how to apply these elements effectively.

The Elements of a Paid Advertising Campaign

1. Goals

The first place you’ll want to start is by setting the goals of your paid advertising campaign. These goals are important as they will help you determine the metrics you will track throughout the campaign which in turn will let you know whether you are on the right track. 

At the broadest level, your goals will fall into one or a combination of the following categories:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Make sales

After selecting a category, you would then need to break it down further into S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here are two examples:

  • Double our email subscriber list from 5000 to 10000 by 31 December 2020 
  • Generate 100 sales qualified leads from paid advertising campaign which runs from 1 January until 31 March 2020. 

Once these are set, you will now have to decide which online platform you will use to reach your target audience.

2. Platform

Your choice of advertising platform will largely be determined by the following factors:

  • Your goals 
  • Your target audience
  • Their user intent  

Once you have determined which online platform will be best to reach your target audience, you’ll need to create copy that will help you stand out from the crowd by showcasing the value you offer. 

Let’s take a look at how Udacity uses Facebook to reach their target audience:

Udacity 1

Udacity’s paid advertisement stands out on a busy Facebook newsfeed

Udacity uses Facebook for their paid advertising campaign. 

As an online course provider, they understand that Facebook is one of the platforms where their ideal customer would most likely be found. They use a bright contrasting colour against a darkened background to draw attention to their ad. 

Their copy is clear and concise and has a strong call to action.

3. Creative Copy and Design

Today’s consumers are savvy and well-informed! 

By the time they come across your advert, they have already done their research and are well aware of their pain points and challenges. They are not looking for general information about your service, rather they want to know how your product or service will solve their problem.

Your ad copy and design give you a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd by conveying the value that you offer. 

Your paid ad copy should contain these three key elements to increase its effectiveness:

  • A Call-To-Action (CTA): To encourage your target audience to perform a desired action.
  • Testimonials: To convey a sense of trust and provide additional credibility for your products or services.
  • Relevant images: To attract attention and help your ad stand out from your competitors.

Udacity 2


Udacity 3

Udacity Testimonials

Udacity uses all the right elements to drive enrollment 

Once you click through the advert on Facebook, you are taken to a page that requires your name and email address if you want to see the full details of the program. Udacity cleverly places badges such as Google’s and Lyft’s to build credibility and trust, it also uses student reviews to demonstrate people’s satisfaction levels with the course. The use of a robotic hand playing ‘Go’ stirs our imaginations about a future that is fast approaching. 

4. Landing Pages

The primary goal of your landing page is to persuade visitors to perform a predetermined action (conversion), whether this is booking a product demo, making a purchase or giving you their information in exchange for a high-value content offer. 

For your landing page to be effective, it must be built with conversions in mind. To achieve this, the page should only have relevant, compelling and powerful information that delivers on the promise of your advert. Menus and anything else that could potentially distract the visitor from taking the desired action should be removed from the page. 

Essentially, your landing page should only give your visitor one of two choices, either they proceed with the predetermined action or they exit the page.  

Let’s take a look at Udacity’s landing page.

Udacity 6


Udacity uses clean design and clear messaging

From the time we clicked on the advert on Facebook, everything was designed to get us here, the enrollment page. 

Notice how everything has been removed on this page, there are no sharp contrasting colours nor is there anything that can distract us from enrolling to their course. There are only two possible actions to take, either we enroll or we abandon the page.

5. The Offer

Very often the offer gets overlooked even though it plays a key role in overall click through rate. Your content offer does not have to be limited to a free product demo, a limited period trial or an ebook. It can be anything as long as it meets these three essential criteria that will make it effective: 

  • It should be valuable to your target audience: People will seldom give up their contact information if they don’t see any value for themselves in the exchange, if you aim to get a visitor’s email address for your offer, you’ll need to ensure that they see your offer as more valuable than their contact details. 
  • It should align with the products and services you offer: Your offer should address issues that align with your paid offerings. When potential customers click on your ad, they do so with the impression that you will be able to solve their problem, to increase the chances of conversion always ensure that your offer can solve a part of the problem or educates them on how to solve it. 
  • It should encourage a sense of urgency: Your offer should always create a sense of urgency that spurs your visitors into action. Always remember that you want to maximise your budget. The words “for a limited time only” or “while stocks last” work well in creating that sense of urgency.

Let’s take a look at how Udacity incorporates these three criteria into their advert:

Udacity 4

Udacity uses a deep discount to appeal to its target audience 

Udacity’s offer meets all three criteria. They offer a 50% discount (valuable) on a three-month online course (in line with their product offering) with a sale that ends in 22 hours (urgency). 

They use a “loss-leader” pricing strategy with the understanding that once you do the course you may need to do the intermediate and advanced course to truly upskill yourself and this is when you will pay the full price. 

6. Metrics

The only way to determine if your paid advertising campaign is doing well or not is by tracking and measuring the metrics you’ve chosen when identifying your goals at the beginning of the campaign.

A successful paid advertising campaign requires the collection of actionable metrics throughout the campaign. This will allow you the ability to see what's working and what isn’t and will inform you where changes should be made to make sure that you are getting the maximum value out of your advertising spend. 

Standing out online shouldn’t have to be a struggle. It’s worth taking the time to look deeper into the 6 elements that have been highlighted above. Applying them to your paid ad campaigns will ensure that you start increasing brand awareness, generating high-quality leads and increasing your company’s sales. 

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