Top 10 Tips to Optimize your Digital Advertising Campaign

Campbell Brown
CEO & Co-Founder

Don’t set & forget – optimize

The advertising technology available today is providing marketers with more visibility than ever before. This transparency allows for more objective decisions to be made in real time, versus the old world of ‘sound bite surfers’ waxing lyrical in subjective abandon.

It’s time to embrace the data and technology you have available, start optimizing your digital advertising campaigns, and squeeze as much ROI from them as possible.

Optimization doesn’t just happen during your advertising campaign

Optimization and real-time seem to go hand in hand when thinking about advertising campaigns. However, taking a more holistic view and considering your options before, during and after a campaign will ensure truly optimal results.

With that in mind, below is our ‘holistic view’ on the top 10 tips your business needs to optimize your digital advertising campaigns. We haven’t tried to delve into the depths too much so you can apply these tips to most – if not all – of the online advertising platforms you use to deliver your ads.

1. Focus on profit

There are a lot of metrics you can use to measure the success of your campaigns such as: cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), click through rate (CTR), conversion rate and average value order. Often these metrics are reported in conjunction so that you get a clear picture of each campaign in comparison, allowing you to optimize accordingly. However, while these metrics give you the surface return on investment (ROI) which is important for adaptive campaign management, what is the net profit of each transaction that’s generated? Understanding this will allow for more informed decisions.

For example:

Campaign A – generates a large volume of transactions at a high CTR and low CPC

Campaign B – generates a smaller volume of transactions at a lower CTR and higher CPC

Campaign A delivers a high volume, but low value transactions – while Campaign B delivers a lower volume, but higher value transactions. Therefore, the surface ROI of Campaign A is the clear winner – but Campaign B actually returns the highest net profit. It should be noted that there could also be additional customer service benefits or cost savings when dealing with a lower volume of deals.

2. From click to customer

Do you know what the complete user journey is like for people clicking on your ads? The last thing you want to do is spend money on targeting and getting the right people to click or view your business, only to have them abandon the process. Here are some basic steps you can take to make sure your user journey is top notch:

  • What happens when the user clicks through from mobile, tablet or desktop? Are all the pages optimized for the relevant screen size?

  • What does your landing page communicate above the fold? Do you have a clear call to action?

  • How fast does your page load?

  • If the customer abandons the process, what steps do you have in place, eg. remarketing campaigns or abandon cart/form triggered emails?

  • If they do become a customer, do you place them into an onboarding process to mitigate churn and stimulate activity?

3. Analytics

Creating a trading room floor mentality to campaign management is crucial to great optimization, but to do this you need to have your analytic platform set up correctly. Ensure that you have the right analytics platform such as Google Analytics or Heap set up correctly and syncing with your own admin system. This will create accurate attribution and reporting of revenue figures against a respective campaign, channel (paid search, organic, email, social, etc), and source or medium.

4. Timing is everything

There is such a thing as ‘right place, right time’ in the world of digital advertising. Sure, you could go out and buy as many eyeballs as possible, but how is that going to allow you to drive budgetary efficiency? One of the key aspects of getting the timing right on a large scale is understanding what events like school holidays, public holidays, sports, conferences, concerts and festivals might impact your business. 

Advance knowledge of events helps you to see into the future for when and where demand might be occurring. By using the PredictHQ platform, you not only get event visibility across the world, you can also understand what events impact your business locations, and when there are likely to be large numbers of people in a specific area.

With this foresight and timing in mind, you can start to leverage overt and covert marketing tactics as explained here to ensure you’re increasing your ad spend and capturing market share at the right time.

5. Go beyond clicks and take your ad spend into the world of Dooh (Digital Out of Home)

With the rise of GDPR and the reduction in targeting capabilities, the time to look for new ways to segment – such as real-world events– is now. That also means leveraging your campaign budget with the ever innovating ad channel of DOOH

By better understanding what digital assets are likely to see more footfall around them at specific times, driven by events. Your campaigns are likely to see a higher yield. You can take this a step further and begin to target your campaigns to the different types of events occuring. Whether it’s a beer brand wanting to target customers going to an NBA game or a software brand wanting to target developers going to a specific type of conference. All this is possible through the increasing trend of platforms making their technology stack “real-world aware”, giving it the ability to adapt to either individual events, or a grouping of events creating a significant demand surge in a specific area.

6. Landing pages

Having optimized landing pages is a crucial step in generating the best-performing campaigns. So much can be won or lost on your customer’s first click experience. Below are some quick tips for establishing a great landing page:

  • Put content on the page which relates to your campaign to improve the quality score of your search campaign ads

  • Make the landing page relevant. For example, if a user is clicking or tapping on an ad which is for ‘car hire from San Francisco airport,’ send them to a localized landing page that contains elements including but not limited to:

7. Consistency

This is probably the easiest tip, but something that is not often followed. What do we mean by consistency? It’s about ensuring that your potential customer has a familiar brand experience all the way through–from seeing the hero image on the display ad, to it appearing on the landing page. The tone of voice, colors, logo, and other creative and visual cues you use should remain consistent all the way through the journey. Creating familiarity is a surefire way to keep them on the path to conversion.

8. Abandonment

No matter what you do, there will be times when certain users abandon the process. Even worse is when these users become qualified leads and abandon at the point of signing up or transacting. To mitigate losing the cost spent in getting them to your landing page, try implementing abandonment tactics. This means if the user is either logged in or has completed an email field as part of the process but then abandons, you can trigger an email response.

In our experience, the type of abandon emails that work well follow these basic guidelines (although they can change depending on the product or service you're trying to sell):

  • Leverage a platform that sends triggered emails which gives you details of open rate, click rate, and allows A/B testing so you can refine what and when you are sending. 

  • Generally send the triggered email within the hour of abandonment. But again, test the timing of the send as this can vary depending on aspects like the average value order of your product.

  • Less is more. Don’t try and squeeze a lot of information into the email. Clearly and simply include:

9. A/B testing

You’re probably sick of hearing about A/B testing but there is a reason it comes up so much – it works. If used and quantified correctly in isolation, it can be an exceedingly useful tool for eliminating the subjective and asserting the objective. My only side note is that you should work towards a 95% (or higher) confidence level when assessing the results to ensure they are statistically significant. For extra certainty, build in a margin of error that you must be over to justify implementing the change.

So what should you be A/B testing on your landing page? It could be anything from including a video on your homepage or not, through to simply changing the text on the main call to action button from ‘view now’ to ‘start free trial’. Whatever the tests are, we recommend testing each element in isolation, which means only having one A/B test running on the landing page at any given time.

10. Fail fast

There are a myriad of advertising platforms out there that promise the world but deliver very little. However, diversifying your advertising platforms is a great way of finding new channels that can deliver higher value ROI than the usual self-service advertising platforms of Google (et al), Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus third-party players like Marin, Kenshoo, AdRoll, etc. 

Fortunately, if you implement most or all of the above, then you should be able to quickly identify which platforms deliver the most accurate targeting options – and in turn, generate optimal levels of conversion.

If a certain platform is not delivering the results you want, then you will have the ability to quickly assess and switch off. Likewise, if you find a platform that works for you then you can ramp up ad spend accordingly.

*Bonus tips for optimization nirvana*

  • If part of your business’ sales support is by phone, have a visible tap to call the phone number when a customer views your website on mobile.

  • Localise or localize (see what we did there?) your content depending on who you are targeting.