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Five signs your digital advertising campaigns are underperforming and what to do about it – The Drum

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Pay-per-click is often a victim of its own success. With even the most basic of set-ups delivering results, marketing managers and agencies can see it as a fit-and-forget solution. A closer look, however, will often reveal significant wastage. Here are five of the most common issues and how to address them.
Often businesses find that the amount of traffic driven by digital marketing is inconsistent, or in gradual decline. One of the key factors affecting this is a much too simplistic campaign structure. Having just one ad running for a given search term is rarely, if ever, the best approach. Multiple ads optimized for different times of the day, different devices and locations provide much more oversight on exactly what is and isn’t working. In this way each campaign can be assessed, tested, optimized and scaled to achieve consistent results.
In some instances, businesses can be seeing good or even high levels of traffic to their website through PPC, but visitors are simply failing to take the next step to get in touch. In this case it is often where potential customers are being driven to rather than the advert itself that is at fault. A poorly optimized landing page will be costing businesses thousands of pounds in lost revenue.
In the past, addressing this issue meant creating a single landing page with a clear and direct call to action. While this principle remains correct, there is now a series of advanced features that can supercharge conversions. Taking advantage of the latest advances in AI and machine learning, it’s now possible to quickly and effectively create intelligent landing pages that use multiple multi-step forms. Geared a lot more toward website visitors taking immediate action, we’ve adopted this approach across all of our clients and are seeing conversions increase to as much as 30-40%.
Introducing AI and machine learning eliminates the need for a ‘one-page-fits-all’ approach to conversion optimization by delivering the most relevant content to each visitor. Through analysis and learning, AI-powered landing pages send visitors to a landing page variant where they are most likely to convert.
Smart businesses make sure that they have multiple touchpoints with their prospective customers. Engagement in the form of conversions or inquiries often happen after the ninth or tenth time that a prospect sees a relevant and timely ad.
One effective way to do this is through remarketing. Incorporating a tracking pixel on to a website or landing page allows businesses to retarget prospective customers across digital platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google.
There will soon be a shift in the way that digital marketing is carried out when the use of third-party cookies is phased out, impacting the way thousands of advertisers use platforms such as Facebook to target their desired audiences. One way advertisers can stay ahead of this change is to gather as much first-party data as possible, through the implementation of remarketing pixels and data collection, from lead generation.
Creating your own multi-touchpoint campaign funnel will be important and, ultimately, rewarding.
Many companies with sizeable digital marketing budgets still have very limited ability to leverage their campaigns as a result of a poorly thought-out strategic approach from the offset.
Time and again we have restructured clients’ digital campaigns to allow for greater transparency in terms of understanding where the greatest engagement and opportunity lies in terms of campaigns/devices/time segments and many other factors.
This leads to being able to be data driven when making key decisions in terms of where to spend budget, as being informed by results is far more effective than anything else.
As a result, we can easily identify where to reduce ad spend and where to scale it up, and the results are always impressive, with an average reduction in waste of approximately 25% and an increase in productivity of 20%-30% in terms of increased conversion rates and lower cost per enquiry/sale.
The main takeaway here is not to take your in-house marketing manager or incumbent agency’s word when they say that nothing more can be done to improve your digital campaigns. We’ve heard that and within 30 days turned things around in a big way.
All too often the ownership of many companies’ digital marketing lies with either one person in their marketing department or with the incumbent agency that manages it.
This is very dangerous as we’ve seen accounts spending £30,000 per month where the main people in the business don’t know how to even access it to view performance.
In these situations, a company can be given very bad advice by their in-house staff or by their incumbent agency, meaning that not only could they be missing out on opportunities to streamline and increase the efficiency of the campaign, but they could also be wasting a significant portion of their ad spend.
Companies that find themselves in this situation often have to play a difficult game to get a fresh perspective from someone else, but it’s ultimately worth it. If this describes you then act today to start putting things right.
Your marketplace is just too expensive to advertise in and you don’t know a way around it.
Sometimes it’s just too expensive to advertise in an online auction, such as Google Ads, for certain sectors as the click costs can run very high. This is due to advertisers in those sectors ramping up their bids in order to dominate the paid search results.
This may seem strange, but we’ve seen this happen when a company receives venture capital investment, for example, and one of their marketing strategies is to play the long game, as they can afford to do this. They can therefore pay high costs to get inquiries as they know most of their competition cannot afford to do this.
However, there are multiple advanced bidding strategies that can allow advertisers to compete in very expensive markets without paying the inflated costs that their competitors have created.
Take a look at all of the smart bidding options that allow advertisers to set goals in terms of target cost per acquisition, return on ad spend or even to target by impression share. The suite of bidding options available allows advertisers to test and measure different campaigns in the same auction until you find one that works for you, your sector and your budget.
Gez McGuire, lead accelerator and founder at MCG Digital Media.

A Leading UK Digital Marketing Company Specialising in AI Strategy and Digital Marketing Innovation.
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