Use analytics to optimize digital ad spends.

How to Stop Bleeding Money with Digital Ad Spends

Digital and social advertising are exciting platforms, but there is a lack of understanding that is leading to overspending and underperforming.

Advertising on social media and other digital platforms has always been exciting. Between the measurability, the reach and (in most cases) the affordability, marketers and advertisers have had a field day with these platforms. But as the market has grown and become more complex, a lot of advertisers have decided to forego the very necessary training that helps avoid losing digital ad spends to carelessness.

Optimizing your campaigns in order to ensure that your digital ad spends are not being wasted is an important area that is often overlooked. These are a few tips that can help marketers when it comes to ensuring that every dollar is going towards achieving your goals.

Incremental Bidding

Bidding best practices is often something that gets the best of marketers and advertisers. It’s great for Google and Facebook – not great for the value of your dollar. We often rely on selecting the much simpler “Optimize Bid for Clicks” option instead of setting the bid ourselves. The danger there is that if you’ve allotted yourself a handsome daily or lifetime budget, that means that a click will come at any cost.

Though incremental bidding takes some time and understanding of target audience, it is hugely beneficial when it comes to squeezing every last drop out of your digital ad spends. Starting with a sensationally low cost per click bid won’t result in much success. That’s a guarantee. But there is some opportunity that can be derived from this practice. See what can be squeezed out of your bare minimum, then start working your way up. In this way, at every level, you’ll be able to pull the results that exist for that bid.

Hypertarget Your Audience

If you’re not familiar with the concept of hypertargeting on social media, read up on it here. Essentially, when it comes to targeting your content and, more importantly, your ad dollars, there is a virtually limitless set of criteria that can be used as a filter when determining whom you would like to have see your content.

Hypertargeting your social ads leads to better social ad spends.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Of course there are the obvious choices, like age, gender and location. But really dig deeper and start targeting by interest, job title, even employer. If you know that your ad has been designed with a specific audience in mind, don’t run even the slightest risk of not getting that ad in front of those eyes. Take the time to build very specific audiences on any network where you plan on advertising.

Use Custom Audiences

Building off of this idea of hypertargeting your ads, why not get your ads in front of people that have already been in contact with you for some reason or another? That’s the idea when it comes to custom audiences on networks like Facebook. What are custom audiences? Essentially, a network like Facebook, for example, allows you to upload data – either in the form of data sheets, email lists, websites or apps – into Facebook, and it matches emails from your lists with users online. From there, you can select this as a target audience for your ads.

This is a group of people that is already familiar with your brand. If they see you pop up, they’re more than likely to take notice. This is also a great way to maintain your brand as top of mind. Maybe you reached out to some people who weren’t yet ready to make that purchase. Targeting your ads to a prospects list can work wonders when they find themselves at that stage in the funnel when they need to make a decision.

Go the CPC Route

There’s a reason why a network like LinkedIn doesn’t offer a CPM option for advertising, and it’s pretty simple (and good for the advertiser, believe it or not): CPM is worthless. At this point, considering the vast amounts of ever changing information available to us on the Internet, an impression is meaningless. Unless you are running a remarketing campaign on Google’s Display Network, eyes aren’t worth money.

Make sure you are optimizing your digital ad spends.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

What does that mean exactly? Well, you can get your content out into the socialsphere and all over the web for people to see, the goal is to get them to take action. If Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all plan on showing your ads to thousands of people in order to charge you for a handful of clicks, why not let them? It is, by definition, the best of both worlds. Of course, the CPC model is slightly more expensive, but by following the other tips outlined here, it is well worth it.

Never Ignore Your Analytics (Not Even for a Second)

From the moment you launch a digital ad campaign your analytics are providing you with valuable insights that can help you optimize your digital ad spends. Look at the performance of each ad in your set, of each keyword and, of course, of each of the selected criteria for targeting. What’s working? What is leading to the lowest cost per click? Which image is generating the most engagement? What activities are people taking on your website once they have clicked through? All of these are important criteria.

Insights are delivered in real time for the first time in the history of marketing and advertising. Previously, we had to launch a campaign and simply hope that it resonated with the audience with which we had intended it to resonate. Now, not only can we launch a campaign targeted to a very specific audience, but we can also launch multiple campaigns at once and select the one that is performing best, removing the wasted cost from the others.

Conclusion

Slowly but surely, the notion that “social media is free” has begun to die off. People are now realizing that, as with anything related to the world of growth, an investment is needed in order to succeed. The value of digital and social media advertising can be huge, but in order to ensure that every dollar can be recouped in return, it is important that you engage in these best practices.

Which network do you think is most useful/valuable when it comes to social advertising? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!

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