Reverse Engineering Digital Advertising Success
If you’re a small to medium size business that hasn’t dabbled in any online advertising and don’t know where to start, let this article simplify the process by working backwards. Within this blog post we’ll review how to best approach digital advertising when starting from scratch with a minimal budget.
Step 1: Define Your Goal
What do you want to do? Sell more product, get more leads, garner for phone calls? Whatever the most granular thing it is you want to accomplish, start there, now work backwards.
Step 2: Select Your Advertising Mediums
I recommend starting with the following (in this order): Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Advertising (nearly all Facebook to begin with), and retargeting display banners. If you have a lack of creative assets search and Facebook advertising is a great place to start.
Step 3: Build Your “Perfect Target” and Expand
For all of your selected advertising mediums place a retargeting pixel on your ideal conversion event. This will allow you to track all converters of the event you care about.
Expand: After you’ve pixled your ideal event, work backwards in your sales funnel and pixel each event, example:
Last Step: Product purchased
Previous Step: Input shopping cart information
Previous Step: Specific product page
Previous Step: Specific product category
Previous Step: Home page
Now that you’ve classified each step in the process you’re now able to develop specific audiences. These specific audiences have advertising opportunities tied to each of them, please note the example below.
Full-funnel audience advertising opportunities example:
Last Step: Product purchased → Exclude advertising on people who have already purchased your product to relieve waste and not annoy your already loyal customers.
Previous Step: Input shopping cart information → Bid more on users who are classified as cart abandoners as they are more likely to come back to your site and finish purchasing the product they were only considering.
Previous Step: Specific product page → Tailor your ad message to just a specific type of product so that it resonates with your defined audience more.
Previous Step: Specific product category → Tailor your ad message to a specific type of product category so that it resonates with your defined audience more, consider cross-selling other products in the event users who look at product A are also likely to be interested in product B.
Previous Step: Home page → Capture all users, study insights, develop look-a-like audiences to expand upon your audience.
Step 4: Continue to Expand
Most digital advertising platforms allow you to build look-a-like models based on first party audiences (audiences you created yourself). This allows you to not only capture users that may have gone to your site, but this also allows you to capture additional users who share similar web browsing behavior and are likely interested in your offering.
Step 5: Study Insights - Experiment with Audiences
After you’ve taken your first party data as far as you can go, begin to experiment with broader audiences. Note insights about users’ interests, what they interact with the most, and how you can action upon these insights.
For example: Let’s say you’re selling a high end backpack designed for frequent campers, and you notice that the majority of purchasers enjoy: micro-brew beer, drive a Subaru, and are likely to live in three metro-areas. Consider setting 5-10% of your advertising budget aside to develop a new campaign only targeting people who fit this profile. This will allow you to reach new users who are likely interested in your product, and they’ll be pulled into your first party sales funnel so you can continue your initial optimization process.
We’ve hoped you have enjoyed this quick recap of how to think about digital advertising if you’re just entering the space. Each of these steps have their own nuances, but we hope this gets the ideas flowing of how it can better your offering. Remember to work backwards to maximize returns and avoid advertising budget waste.
If you found this article interesting we recommend you also read “Measuring Awareness Campaigns” for a take on measuring brand building campaigns.