How to plan and launch a digital advertising campaign

It is impossible to open your laptop or turn on your phone without receiving various forms of digital advertising. From Google Adwords or Facebook retargeting to programmatic, pre-roll, native ads and sponsored content. The options, terminology and methods can be onerous. Despite these hurdles, digital ads will continue to evolve as powerful marketing tools.

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Marnie Grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC, an integrated marketing communications agency.

You may feel compelled to get into digital advertising because your peers and competitors are already embracing it. Before you take the plunge, determine why you are investing the time and resources.

Start by asking, why?

  • Are you ready to increase your brand’s visibility alongside competitors who are already advertising?
  • Do you need more exposure when expanding into a new geographic region or industry?
  • Are you launching a new product, service or event and need to drive traffic to a landing page?

This will help you clarify your reasoning in advance.

Digital channels

Identifying your target audience will inform the channels you use. Selling tickets or products may be best suited for social media, where you can target your audience based on location, interests, age, or profession. A brand awareness campaign targeting specific industries or types of decision makers might be best placed on a corporate media platform or on LinkedIn.

You can test a campaign with just one or two channels with a targeted audience. Test, learn and adjust as you go.

Start your program

Even if you have a basic understanding of how digital advertising works, the methods of creating and launching campaigns can be overwhelming. Some advertising platforms are self-service, others are only accessible to an agency or media, and anyone selling digital advertising services seems to be using their own jargon.

Here are the basic options for serving digital ads to your audience:

  • Manage your digital ads internally. The most profitable methods are the Google Display Network and social media advertising platforms. There is a learning curve, but the Google and Facebook / Instagram advertising platforms are self-service and are usually the starting point for advertisers.
  • Work with an agency that manages programmatic advertising purchases. Programmatic advertising is a methodology of buying from an inventory of ad space on a variety of websites and uses geofencing and audience targeting to deliver a number of impressions. When you want your brand to have increased visibility across various channels in front of a specific type of user, programmatic expands that reach.
  • Engage directly with a media or online platform. If your organization has a very specific target audience in mind, you can buy directly from a media outlet or website publisher. In this case, you are negotiating to purchase a specific number of impressions that are guaranteed to deliver.

Track your success

One of the benefits of digital advertising is the ability to set up reports that provide data and metrics for the success of your campaign. Before your ads run, set up Google Analytics so that you can track traffic to your website based on your campaigns. If you’re working with an agency or media, request reports that include click-through rates, impressions served, cost per click, and other metrics.

Be prepared to make adjustments to your channels, budget, messaging or creative, and for lead generation campaigns, the landing page. Tracking your success will reduce unnecessary spend on campaigns that aren’t well targeted or need creative improvements.

Marnie grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC, an integrated marketing communications agency. She can be reached at [email protected]

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