Digital marketing connects businesses with customers when they’re online. Americans spend most of their waking hours online. So, in today’s business environment, all professionals must understand the basics of digital marketing.
We’ve put together a high-level guide to help you navigate the tools at your disposal.
This blog is the second in a three-part series to help you choose the right type of campaign to meet your goals, measure your success, and optimize your marketing spend over time. Learn about audio/video streaming and paid search in part one.
Display advertisements, also known as banner ads, are a form of digital graphic advertising on websites and apps. They may include text, images, and video.
Display ads can be purchased directly through publishers, an ad exchange, an ad network, or a larger Demand Side Platforms (DSP). Typically, you’d choose how you will buy ads depending on your campaign’s budget, length, and goal.
A variety of pricing schemes can be used to purchase display ads, including traditional price negotiations based on the placement of the advertisement on a website, impression-based buys using a set CPM rate, a real-time bidding system, or automated real-time bidding. Pricing options are limited based on the method of purchase.
Display ads work best to remarket – or reengage your past visitors with an ad. They’re also useful when you’re trying to drive awareness of your brand.
What metric is most important?
The honest answer is “it depends.” If your goal is awareness, viewable impressions should be your key metric. You could also track the volume of organic searches for branded keywords across search engines to see if your campaign is driving interest in your brand.
While impressions matter, you should also pay attention to the average impression frequency, or the number of times your ad appears to the same person. You don’t want a user to see one ad in a month, nor do you want them to see 1,000. Throughout the campaign, work on identifying your optimal frequency, or the number of impressions you should display before seeing diminishing returns. Use frequency capping to control impression frequency.
If you aim to increase website traffic, you should track click-through rates (CTR) and overall clicks. Ensure that you have a clear CTA, or call to action, on your ads. You may also want to track view-thru conversions. View-thru conversions count all the individuals who’ve seen your advertisement but visit your site without clicking on the ad. For example, someone sees your ad but instead of clicking on it to visit your website, they open a new tab and visit your site directly or use a search engine to visit you indirectly. Many consumers refrain from clicking on display ads because they are wary of scammers.
If you decide to track view-thru conversions, you should take this metric with a grain of salt. A percentage of those users likely would have visited your site organically but are being counted as a conversion because they just so happen to be served a display ad.
If your goal is to drive an action, you should focus on conversion tracking. Conversions may be, for example, downloading an app, completing an online form, purchasing a product, or even browsing a certain number of pages. Ensure that you design your website to allow for easy tracking.
How to improve your campaign
- Optimize creative and avoid ad fatigue. Most ad networks can automatically A/B test or determine the more effective of two designs, and will serve the best performing ads throughout the campaign. However, creative (colors, images, themes) should be updated frequently to avoid ad fatigue. Use elements of high-performing ads to create future ad sets.
- Continuously optimize your landing page.
- Improve targeting using machine learning.
According to Google, advertisers can get 41% more conversions by leveraging their data to reach potential customers who have characteristics similar to existing customers or people who have visited their website or used their app. Most ad networks and DSPs will allow you to use your data segments to improve your targeting.
- Pick your placements.
Placements are the websites or mobile apps where your ad can appear. You can hand-pick individual placements or pick types of websites to target. In addition, you should exclude placements so that your ads aren’t shown on unsavory websites.
- Consider device targeting based on your campaign goals.
Social media ads are unique in that users can engage with the ads on the platform where they encounter the ad. Social ads are not the same as display ads; they lend themselves to interaction and should be designed accordingly. For example, an Instagram ad should have strong visual appeal, motion, and a very clear and immediate call to action. The ad should spark conversations with your customers. Create a seamless process for users to convert on-platform, rather than leading them away from the social platform and to your website.
What metric is most important?
Once again, it depends on your campaign goal. However, one metric you should always keep on your radar is engagement. Getting a user to share your ad or engage in a discussion about your brand is gold because it can convey social proof. Social proof can help you earn the trust and business of potential clients because a positive review from a third party carries more weight than branded messages from companies themselves.
How to improve your campaign
- Listen. Actively monitor the comments on your ads. Be ready to respond to questions or concerns. Social media ads allow you to get real-time feedback on your ads. They also open a two-way communication channel that should be utilized to win business.
- Improve your targeting. Leverage features that help you reach users who are more likely to become customers. Features like Facebook’s lookalike audience can help you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers.
- Use video and live videos. Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes high-quality, original video. While ads don’t necessarily need to be optimized for its algorithm, this should be taken into consideration because video content drives higher engagement than static images on Facebook. Don’t squander resources creating videos with high production value; instead, use your budget to develop multiple videos you can test on the platform.
Keep an eye out for part three of our Digital Marketer’s Toolbox series, covering native and email marketing.