One of the most appealing aspects of digital marketing is budget efficiency. Driving real results can be accomplished at a cost that is much less than other forms of traditional advertising.
With that being said, if your campaigns aren’t optimized to get the absolute most out of your ad dollars, you could be wasting some of that precious ad budget. Getting the highest ROI requires keeping up on the latest best practices and utilizing careful planning when setting up campaigns.
In this article, I’ll go over the most common ways digital ad budgets are wasted, and provide tips on how you can maximize ad spend for optimal results.
1. Not Defining Your Goals
Most digital marketing platforms have a range of objectives that advertisers can select t0 help guide the machine-learning process. It’s crucial to take the time to thoughtfully plan out what you’re trying to accomplish with your campaign, and establishing KPIs (key performance indicators) to help measure success.
For example, if you’re focusing on expanding awareness of your brand, your strategy should be much different than if you were trying to drive ticket sales or event sign-ups. Although popular advertising platforms like Facebook and Google are adept at finding the right audience, there’s still some human brainpower required to set things in the right direction.
2. Not Testing Your Creative (or Landing Page)
No amount of brainstorming and strategizing can predict with 100% accuracy how users will respond to an ad or landing page. Even if something looks good to you, your audience, and the AI systems that determine who sees your ad, simply might not agree. The solution? Test out your options!
Nearly all social media advertising platforms, as well as Google and email marketing, allow marketers to set up an A/B test to determine which ads have the best chance of accomplishing the goals of your campaign. When you select split-test (or A/B test) options, two versions of your ad will be shown to equally-representative audiences. Based on how they react to each option, within a matter of a few days it should become clear which of the options is going to be best moving forward.
3. Changing Creative too Frequently
It might seem counterintuitive, but trying to constantly improve your ad creative could actually be doing more harm than good.
Although you might be tempted to make tweaks to your campaign’s creative in the name of keeping things “fresh,” you could be disrupting the machine-learning process that is responsible for much of the success (or lack thereof) attributed to your campaign. When a new ad goes live, the platform’s AI begins to take over to find the ideal audience which will help get the results you’re hoping to achieve. This process takes some time to work itself out, and if you’re constantly refreshing ad creative you aren’t giving the system enough time to accomplish its intended purpose.
Instead of changing your ad at regularly-scheduled intervals, wait until you have a clear indication of how it’s performing. It’s common for performance to improve once an ad has been running for a longer period of time since the algorithm will have had time to determine the right audience for your goals.
4. Not Monitoring Performance
With all the moving parts involved in an effective digital marketing campaign, performance monitoring and evaluation can get overlooked. Unfortunately, this can mean spending money on an ad that simply isn’t getting results.
If your company is outsourcing digital marketing efforts to an agency, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re getting the results that justify the up-charge inherent with contracting out advertising efforts. While metrics like clicks and landing page views are great, it’s important to make sure these things are translating to real business results that help grow your bottom line.
It’s worth noting that performance evaluation should happen after an ad has had time to be optimized by the machine-learning that drives ad delivery platforms (see #3 above). With that being said, waiting several months or more to critically look at your results is probably not going to cut it.
Putting money into a campaign that isn’t performing well is going to happen from time to time. Just be sure you’re able to catch it before adding more budget to a fruitless campaign.
5. Focusing On New Customers Only
Businesses grow only when new customers are acquired and previous customers return.
All too often, advertisers run campaigns to gain new business but forget about customers who have previously purchased something from their company. This could mean missing out on new sales from old customers and a missed opportunity to foster brand loyalty that will pay major dividends in the future.
While it makes sense to put the bulk of your budget behind getting new customers to try out your products or services, don’t neglect your current customer base. In fact, these individuals who are already familiar with your brand might be an easier conversion than someone who is learning about your company for the first time.
6. Targeting Too Narrowly
To state the obvious, you don’t want to waste money showing your ad to someone who has no chance of converting. For example, if you’re advertising beard care products, you should exclude females from your targeting parameters (unless of course, the messaging is for giving the product as a gift).
With that being said, don’t make the opposite mistake of targeting so narrowly that you miss out on potential new customers, even if they fall slightly outside your typical customer profile. If you have to ask yourself “Should I be targeting this demographic?”, more often than not the answer is a resounding yes.
Digital marketing is fluid, and advertisers must maintain a dynamic approach to keep things running at an optimal level. Keep these tips in mind when building your next campaign and watch your ROI soar to new heights.
If your business could use an expert in developing an effective and affordable marketing plan, get in touch today for a free consultation.