Where to Start with your Online Advertising Campaign

Online advertising is no joke. Trust us!

It can go so quickly from “We’ll do this, this and this—that’s it! Our digital campaign is nailed down” *insert self-congratulatory pat on the back* to questions you don’t have the answers to, incomprehensible emails from your campaign partners, and ending with you clutching your hair asking why bad things happen to good people.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can help you understand the initial questions you should be asking whenever you’re ready to start a new online advertising campaign and know which things need to be established in the very early days of planning. It can seem daunting at first but trust us, we know what we’re talking about. (We actually do! In fact, we even offer complimentary in-office training for your team on this and a whole bunch of other very helpful online advertising-related topics. Interested? Drop us a line and book a date for your team!) So the question right now is…

Do you trust us


Planning an Online Advertising Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes you can make, even as a seasoned pro, is jumping into a campaign without properly planning the campaign, gathering a team, all necessary assets, and outlining the goals and measurements of the campaign.

Digital campaigns cost money and going into one without thinking through every detail, having a proper brief, or window of time to properly create the necessary assets is basically like setting that money on fire. There are such high levels of control and personalization available to publishers who are running a campaign, it’s imperative to get it right in order to get the best return for your money. You have the potential to make your campaign very successful—why lose that chance due to poor planning?! It’s absolutely crucial that you ponder the below points and any other ones that would be pertinent to your business, to ensure you’re setting your campaign up for success.

Who is the target audience?

As obvious as this may seem, this is one of the most important things you can consider when starting to plan an online advertising campaign. Your target audience will affect pretty much everything about your campaign from your message to your CTA, to how and when it is trafficked.

“But, everyone uses our product! No one can go without an *insert super useful, necessary to all earthly lifeforms product name here*!”

Even if you’re trying to promote something as universal as a running shoe or a toothbrush, think about the people who are seeing your ad and the people your brand is designed to speak to. Chances are that your company—no matter what you sell or make—didn’t set out to be equally appealing to all people, age, taste, budget, and/or other factors, aside.

Undoubtedly, you’ve got a target audience in mind with an age range, other interests, a possible or probable lifestyle, income or education level, or any other of the hundreds of factors that go into developing an audience. You want your campaign to be targeting the specific, exact group of people who perfectly fit into your brand’s ideal persona. Which is also most likely a bit of a niche within the broader demographic scale of potential customers that you could also speak to. Starting with the smaller niche audience is almost always going to generate a better result because you can specifically tailor your message and strategy to speak to this smaller group of people.

No matter the specifics of your target audience, you’ll need to create a message, copy, and a CTA that will resonate with this group. Whether college students, seniors, or somewhere in between, your mission is to present them with something they don’t want to miss out on!

Where does your target audience spend their time online?

Hopefully, you’re no stranger to the various social networks and search engines that your online advertising campaign can show up on, in addition to the millions of websites that host advertising for just this sort of thing. What comes with a solid grasp of your target audience is an insight into where they spend their time online and their other digital habits.

This is where you want your ads to be in order for them to be seen by the people you created them for. It could be lifestyle and beauty websites, Facebook, Bing, Google, a mix of a few, or one of the other myriad of places you can advertise online. It’s important to (unobtrusively) meet your target audience where they normally go and enhance their online experience by offering them something they are looking for or would like, based on their internet habits.

Budgeting for the Campaign

The biggest mistake that campaign managers can make is not budgeting for the cost of the whole campaign, all the way from concept to development to being a finished and served advertising unit. Knowing the cost of having your banners first produced and then trafficked on the various platforms you’re planning will ensure that your budget allows for your units to be appropriately placed and have an adequate reach to your targeted audience. No matter what extra teams you’re enlisting to help, whether developers, designers, or media agencies, having a firm grasp of your budget will allow you to set realistic goals and timelines for your campaign.

What is the goal of your campaign?

Setting a goal for your campaign is another aspect that can greatly impact the shape that your online advertising campaign takes. Everyone thinks the answer to this is easy: more sales! Of course, that’s always the goal but setting and determining a goal actually requires a bit of a deeper look into your current business state. Are you needing more leads? Maybe you’re looking to increase brand awareness? You may want more sales, but what kind of sales? And what is it that your business model or customers need that will help bring in those sales?

Asking questions like this generally leads to a more intrinsic understanding of the specific hole that your online advertising campaign needs to fill. Think about where you would like to see improvement and use that as a starting point to devise a goal that won’t only result in ‘more sales’ but will likely yield a healthier company and advertising presence in the long run.

What makes your brand unique?

Chances are, you’re not the only purveyor of your specific goods or services in the world. So what sets you apart from the crowd of other advertisers? You want your online advertising campaigns to highlight this to your audience. This uniqueness factor is most likely why your small, chosen target audience is interested in your brand in the first place, so flaunt it! Each frame of your ad should have branded elements to it so that even if a user catches a frame of your ad, they know exactly where it’s coming from and think of you.

How will you define a successful campaign?

So you’ve sorted your budget, aimed at a target demographic, and laid out your goals—congratulations! But even the best-laid plans can hit a snag. With any campaign, it’s important to consider how you’re going to define ‘success’ in regards to your digital campaign and keep in mind that, as we’ve said many times, it isn’t all about the clicks! Some of your targets or goals may fall short, whereas others may easily surpass their lower set goals. You may also notice a by-product of success in other areas of your business resulting from the campaign. No matter whether or not your campaign performs as you’d intended, it’s important to look at the individual areas of success in a campaign that could be taken to the next one as a fortunate accident or that you may want to be wary of in the coming campaigns.

And don’t miss out on next week’s post where we cover what you should be checking—and double checking—before your campaign actually launches!