The basics of running a digital advertising campaign

Consumers and businesses alike are almost always online — and you want to be able to reach them and observe their behavior and where they spend the most time. A digital advertising campaign is a form of advertising delivered through various digital channels to target your audience.

It is a cost-effective way of reaching out to your audience and delivering promotional advertisements to consumers and is a fairly low-cost risk to take when running tests to see what works, and what doesn’t.

In this article, we will take you through what a digital advertising campaign is all about, its goals and objectives, what channels you might want to consider, your target audience, and setting goals. This is a perfect read for those new to marketing, and those who are making the transformation into a digital marketing team.

A beginner’s quick guide to a digital advertising campaign

We cover:

  1. What is a digital advertising campaign?
  2. How to set your objectives
  3. Choosing the right channel
  4. Identifying who is your target audience
  5. Measuring key performance indicators (KPIs)

1. What is a digital advertising campaign?

Digital advertising is always changing, ever-evolving. What may work now might not work in a few months’ time. There is not a one-type-fits-all brand solution to your client’s dilemma. Digital advertising campaigns must be carefully researched, well-thought-out and focused on the details and execution.

The way to approach digital advertising is the same as you would a traditional advertising campaign. The only difference it has with a traditional advertising campaign is that the channels used are all digital-based. Digital advertising encompasses several channels, including emails, display ads, mobile advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), and other paid internet-based social ads. 

2. Set your objectives

What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to push brand awareness, increase Facebook likes, or even create new leads? Be as specific as possible. Figuring out what objectives and goals to target will help you analyze your success later on in the game. And of course these should be SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based).

Always be SMART.

Here are some great SMART goal examples:

  • “At the end of next month, our blog will see an 8% lift in traffic by increasing our weekly publishing frequency from 5 posts per week to 8 posts per week.”
  • “In 4 months, we’ll see a 50% increase in the number of our email blog subscribers by increasing our Facebook advertising budget on posts that historically acquire the most blog subscribers.”
  • “In 6 months, we’ll see a 25% increase in average video views per video on Facebook by cutting our video content mix from 8 topics to our 4 most popular topics.

Having these objectives will give you purpose and direction (who doesn’t want to strive to make an impact!), give you measured impact and lets you identify areas for improvement. In fact, according to CoSchedule, goal-setting marketers was 376% more likely to report success. Who doesn’t want that likelihood of success!

3. Choose the right channel

Here is a list of popular digital advertising channel strategies which you can run with your campaign:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – helps a website become accessible to search engine sites like Google or Yahoo.

Banner ads – is a form of advertising displayed on the web. It could also be static or animated.

Email advertising / Electronic Direct Mails (EDMs) – these are email marketing campaigns or ‘email blasts’. It involves utilizing a database of users and sending them well-tailored content based on their profile.

Facebook and YouTube ads – these are advertisements placed on Facebook and YouTube channels which are expected to drive engagements or other various KPIs related to these platforms.

Sponsored tweets – these are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users (Source: Twitter)

Rich media ads – these ads contain advanced features such as video, audio, or other elements that are created to catch the attention of the users and possibly gain engagement.

Social media marketing – is used to reach a wider range of clients and prospective customers and interacting with them. 

Blogging – these are well-written researched articles that are curated to suit a company’s wider audience.

Every channel will perform differently for your audience and produce different results. For example: on average 46% of users act after viewing a video ad, 52% of users who click on paid ad will follow up with a call to the business, website visitors who comes from a paid ad versus an organic search are more likely to purchase. (source: Lyfe Marketing)

4. Who is your target audience?

Reach new markets and new customers by advertising in new places with a new message. Don’t expect to discover new clients by using old messaging. Find new niches by experimenting. Discover various ways to reach your target customers by using your customers’ location, age, income, interests, and other information. This will tell you what type of media will reach them. You want to target your advertising as specific or as narrow as possible, using the media that will reach your best customers.

Tip: Use Google Analytics to easily identify the location and demographic details of the visitors to your website.

If you’re able to speak with your customers or intended audience you can gain additional psychographic information with just a few questions. Find out about their hobbies and interests and use this to inform your content creation. A personalized campaign far out-performs one that isn’t. 35% of Amazon’s sales are directly attributed to suggesting products a user might like based on their unique behaviors (source: Forbes). If you can deliver relevancy, your brand will see an uptick in loyalty.

5. Measure your KPIs

How are you going to know what success of your campaign looks like? You will need to identify markers of success which are called key performance indicators (KPIs). For a digital marketing campaign these might include:

  • Number of likes
  • Number of shares
  • Reach
  • Engagement (interaction with content). For example: with video this might be pausing the video or changing the volume. For an ad, it might be a click-through or a comment on a social post.
  • Impressions (when the digital media renders on a user’s screen). Impressions aren’t action-based, it is the potential that your ad will be seen.

If you have a specific call to action, only results pertaining to that particular action is your KPI.

There are plenty of free tools out there to help, but check these ones out first:

Keep up with change

The digital marketing world is always evolving and continues to transform – it’s easy to forget that many social platforms are only a little over a decade old: Twitter in 2006, Facebook in 2004, and some not even that: Snapchat in 2011, Instagram and Pinterest in 2010.

Always keep this in mind, and do your best to stay up to date with all the new innovations within the digital marketing world as it may be a new way to reach your target clients. Your aim: to create content and cultivate an experience that grabs consumer attention and provides invaluable brand awareness. And don’t forget to measure your goals.