Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Your First Ad Campaign with Humming

What is Humming?

Want to increase your advertising (beyond Google and Facebook ads) without hiring an expensive marketing firm? Our partnership with Tacoma-based startup Humming gives you the tools to easily launch digital advertising campaigns right from the Surge website. The Surge/Humming platform helps you create, target and place ads, and stay updated on how they’re performing. Once you start the ad campaign, Humming monitors and moves those ads around the internet based on how well they’re doing so you don’t waste money on ads that aren’t getting noticed.

Humming is the most powerful way to reach the largest audience across the web. Their mission is to make advertising simple – creating a platform that levels the playing field in digital advertising. Humming is not a marketing agency; they’re a tech startup connecting you directly to the resources that marketing firms charge the big bucks for. They pay to have access to all the different places that ads can be seen. So for example, when you place a Facebook ad, it will only be seen on Facebook. But beyond social media, what about all those ads you see when you’re reading news articles or shopping? This is how you can access those too.

For your first ad campaign, here’s what Humming suggests: “Giving it a try with a small test campaign is the best way to learn, and our small minimum ad buy allows you to do this. Reading through the topics in our Help Center will provide you with some education and ideas about getting started. Some people like to do that before diving in, while others like to learn as they are using the platform.

“We take a data-driven approach to optimizing your ads, and we recommend you do the same. You will learn a lot from running a small test campaign, and you can then apply that knowledge to a later campaign. This is part of why we have a low minimum ad buy. We want customers to learn from their experiences, and be able to apply it to the next campaign.”

Before you create an ad, first take a moment to reflect on your Brand

If you’re going to clearly communicate to a potential customer why it is they should spend their money on you, you need to have a clear and consistent Brand. Some questions to consider:

What makes your business special compared to others in your industry? What do you want people to know about you?

Who is your target audience/ideal customer? What are the customer’s pain points that your business can relieve? (Using Surge as an example: If you work from home and feel distracted and isolated (pain point), try our coworking space where you can focus on work in an office setting and join a friendly business community (solution).)

Is the goal of this ad to get your name out there? Sell a specific product? Advertise an event?

Now we can get started. Go to and first thing, hit “Sign Up” to create a free account so you can save drafts for later. You won’t be charged anything until you review and submit your ad campaign at the very end.

Create Your Ad Campaign

First thing you need to do is choose a campaign goal. If you’re a new business, Awareness or Consideration would be a good place to start.

For this demo, we’re going to focus on Consideration ads, but you can read more about each type of campaign goal here.

How much should you spend? Humming says: “We recommend budgeting $10 per day on each ad you run. For instance, you will want to spend a minimum of $70 for a 7-day campaign. A higher daily budget means your ads will be seen more frequently or targeted more specifically. Some keywords are expensive, and an effective campaign with those keywords will demand a larger budget. Within reason, more is better, but often it does not take a big budget to make a big impact.”

Display vs. Search ads: Display ads are the little images you see when you’re browsing a website. Search ads are the first results that say “Sponsored” when you use a search engine like Google or Bing. Search ads are best for established businesses that people might go searching for, so for now I’m just going to go over Display ads, but you can read more about the benefits to each type here.

Create Ad Content

The next step is to upload or create the image that will be displayed. Let’s assume you don’t already have an image so you can create a new one now. Think about what kind of advertising catches your eye when you’re browsing online. Images, colors, not too much text. You’re trying to capture someone’s attention so they’ll click and learn more about you.

Think about your branding – are there certain colors or fonts you typically use on your social media/logo/website? Showing visual consistency can be helpful for people to identify your brand in the future.

When you’re ready to create the ad, Humming has integrated a service called Canva that has thousands of templates that you can easily edit to create a compelling ad for free. If you’ve ever wondered where we get all the flyers we post, social media pictures, that kind of stuff–we use Canva too!

You can click “Design on Canva” and it will open the platform, but I recommend going to and creating your own free account first so you can save all your creations together. Once I’ve created an ad image in Canva, I download it to my computer and then drag and drop where it says “Upload your creative”.

You should create multiple versions/sizes of your ad, and then once the campaign begins it will cycle through your different images to keep the ad looking fresh and make sure it fits well on whichever website it is placed.

By the way, Canva is intuitive and fun to use, so play around with it!

Audience Targeting

Now you’re going to want to think really specifically about who you’re trying to reach. Who is the person that will see this ad and think “yes, that’s something I need!” Where do they live? What kind of job do they have? What else do they buy?

“Age, gender, income level and educational level are some basic demographic categories that are often used. You can target audiences based on their interests and habits (i.e., “bargain-hunters”, “pet-lovers”, or “politically liberal”), on things they have been searching for (“luggage”, “Financial services”) and on more detailed demographic targeting (e.g., “recent college graduates”, “home owner”, “teacher”).

“If you know that your business, service, or product is more likely to appeal to people within specific categories, then targeting is usually a good idea. If you’re not sure, then it’s better to not apply targeting, until you have some reason to believe you should. In many cases, adding targeting increases the cost of your ads because you have to pay to have access to the targeted audience.”

To get some more info about your current audience, one thing to check out first is go to your Google My Business page and look at the “Insights” tab. These are the most important data I get from our GMB analytics:

What search terms do they use to find you? This can help you understand what they were looking for that led them to find you.

Where are most people located who look up directions? For us, this could be people who are coming for a tour, or coming for an appointment with a member, or maybe they’re comparing different options and want to see which is closest to home. Either way, this tells us where people live who already have us on their radar.

Then when you go back to Humming, click the top right menu that says “National-USA” and switch it to “Specific Locations”. You can enter locations you got from your GMB page, as well as where you want to get new customers from. You’ll type in the city and state, then hit enter to add it to the list.

Next up is determining your audience. Depending on your goal for the ad, it can be helpful to keep it general for the widest reach, or you can narrow it down a little bit. Check out a full list of the different audience categories here.

The little images for mobile/tablet/desktop are useful for if your specific ad image will look really good on desktop but might not be so good on mobile, you can select where it will or won’t be shown.

Now the last section is for Conversion Tracking.

Don’t worry about it for your first ad, but what it does is by adding some code to your website you can track what people do when they click the ad to go to your site. Maybe you want to know if they add a product to the shopping cart, or if they click to book a consultation. Read more about that here.

Take One Last Look Before Placing the Ad

You’ll get to review the whole campaign before paying, and once you submit it the fine people at Humming will look over it to make sure it looks okay. If they see something that obviously will fail, they’ll tell you, so don’t stress about being inexperienced with this.

Performance Tracking

Once you submit it, you will then receive an email from Humming inviting you to track the campaign’s performance through the platform You can communicate with the Humming team if you want to make changes or if you have concerns about your campaign.

This shows you how many “impressions” (how many times it appeared on someone’s screen), clicks, and the Click Through Rate (“CTR”, meaning out of the total number of people that saw the ad, what percentage of them actually clicked on it?)

It will also show a breakdown of where your ads got the most views/clicks and on what types of devices. Using this information you can make more informed decisions for your future campaigns.

Ok, that was a lot of info. Deep breath.

You’ve got this. There are lots of help articles about Humming here, and you can always reach out to a Community Manager if you want some input or moral support 🙂