Making the Most of Your Digital Advertising Budget

How many marketing managers do you know who have their dream advertising budget? Probably as many as I do. The reality is that we’re all trying to get more for less.

Here’s the good news. Not only is digital advertising easy to scale for your budget, but—more importantly—many aspects of digital campaigns can be optimized as you go based on the insights you’re discovering along the way. (Way to go, metrics!) That means you can see results almost immediately, learn quickly what’s working and what’s not, and then adjust to make the most of the budget you do have.

That’s not to say you should run out and start a campaign this minute. For digital advertising to be  effective, you need to take a smart approach. Here’s how we do it at Hanson.

Know your audience.

One of the advantages of digital advertising in our increasingly data-driven world is the ability to target your ads to a specific audience. There’s no point in blanketing the internet with ads that only a portion of viewers are going to care about. Not only is an ad-stuffed internet annoying, but it’s also a waste of your hard-earned budget.

Simply put, good ads are all about people and places. Specifically, your audience and the platforms where they’re already active.

Start by identifying the audience segment(s) most interested in what you have to offer. Then you can ask yourself: Where do these people go on the internet? And what are they doing there?

  • Are they moms, checking their trusted parenting sites for tips on how to pack allergy-free lunches? If so, consider display ads or sponsored content on these sites.
  • Are they athletes, streaming some tunes as they run, or working out to their favorite videos? Digital radio and YouTube might be great options for you.

The point is, if you know where your audience is already doing the activities that come naturally to their lifestyle, you can design ads that speak to their motivators and address their needs. The right message in the right place will drive interest.

Show your campaign destination some love.

Just as important as designing an effective ad is optimizing the campaign destination, aka the landing page you’re driving the audience to when they click on the ad.

First and foremost, visitors need to be able to tell immediately that they have landed in the right place, or they’ll hit that back button right away—and you’ll have paid for an ad click for nothing. Be sure the page is branded consistently with the ad. And give it a strong headline that continues the message of the ad. Not only will it drive home the opportunity you’re presenting the audience, but for some advertising types (like paid search), the consistency of your messaging from ad to landing page can even improve your quality score and lower your cost per click. So if your site doesn’t already have a pretty perfect page to drive the ad to, it’s worth creating one just for this campaign.

As you review the page (or build a new one), you’ll also want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the page have one clear call to action?
  • Does it contain all the information your audience will be looking for like location, hours, or product dimensions?
  • Does it feel trustworthy, especially if you’re asking them to give you their personal information?
  • If the campaign involves a referral or promo code, is there a spot for them to enter it?
  • Is the page set up correctly in your analytics package to track sources and conversions?

Launch and learn.

Now that you have the right ads in the right places, and an optimized destination to match, you’re ready to launch the campaign—and learn way more than you thought you could know.

It’s all about measurement. If you set up your campaign correctly (or your agency is doing it for you), you can measure your campaign performance and optimize in real-time based on the insights revealed.

Among the things you’ll want to look at are:

  • Which creative is performing better?
  • Which placements are performing better?
  • Can you further optimize your paid search keywords, or add negatives to reduce irrelevant impressions?
  • Do you need to adjust bids or set up automated bidding to make sure you never pay more than you want for a click?
  • Which budgets should be reallocated to deliver a more effective return?

Tweak one or two things based on the above, measure the results, rinse and repeat.

You can get more out of your advertising budget. Deliver the right ads to the right people in the places they already are. Drive them to an effective landing page. Then measure everything and apply what you learn. You’ll get a better ROI on your media spend—and you’ll gather key insights for future campaigns.





Photo credit: Image by TaxCredits (CC0)

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