Internet display advertising comprises more than a fifth of global ad spending, and the global display advertising budget is rapidly approaching $200 billion1. But how much value is your own campaign bringing in? Without a comprehensive plan to test your ads and adapt to results in real time, you could be throwing money away without even realizing it.
Display advertising is critical to drawing in new customers, attracting the interest of loyal followers, and continuously increasing brand awareness. Get it right or get left behind.
But what if, like most companies, you're working on a limited budget? Here are six strategies for optimizing your display advertising budget, no matter how big or how small it is.
1. Get clear about your budget.
It seems obvious enough that you need a clear advertising budget. But for a lot of companies, the goal is only to reduce expenses as much as possible. This can cause you to balk at every price without ever pausing to reflect on how that price fits into your budget and what value you’re getting in return.
Other companies have a specific target figure but no data to support that number. They simply carve up their budget and assign a set amount to marketing, then divvy it up further to set the display advertising budget.
The better strategy is to determine exactly what you hope your budget will do. Are you looking to bring in a specific amount of additional revenue? Or do you have an ideal return on investment per dollar spent in mind? Begin by deciding on advertising goals and how much you are willing to pay to attain those goals. Then divide your budget into monthly, weekly, or quarterly increments for spending. You may want to increase the budget over time to account for increased revenue.
2. Target the right people.
You have just a few seconds to get the attention of your customers. Make sure you’re attracting their interest rather than giving them bland content that encourages them to click away as quickly as possible.
Display advertising has the power to capture your audience, encouraging them to learn more. It can also repel your audience, creating brand animosity and frustration if your messaging is annoying, offensive, or targeted to the wrong group. A good ad experience requires expert targeting.
Today’s consumers demand personalized marketing. According to statistics reported by Forbes:
Seventy percent of millennials say they’re tired of brands sending irrelevant emails.
Seventy-four percent of customers find websites that are impersonal and generic frustrating.
Ninety-one percent say they're more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized, targeted recommendations.
Targeted advertising maximizes your budget by not wasting a single penny on people who are uninterested. But you have to get it right. Sometimes you have a wider potential audience than you realize. And not all of your current or past customers are interested in all of your content. This is why continuous testing and the right data are so important. Choose a platform that integrates with all your customer data points and offers personalized advertising along with real-time testing and adaptation.
3. Track progress.
How do you know if your advertising campaigns are working? More revenue is one sign, but there are many other ways to track progress. Moreover, a boost in revenue doesn’t necessarily mean your advertising budget is doing everything it could.
To assess progress and continuously improve, you need to know exactly how much additional revenue you’re generating and where it’s coming from. Maybe you have four ad campaigns and you’re making a ton more money—but only one of the campaigns is responsible for the increase. You need to know which one so that you can ditch the rest and focus on what’s working.
An ad platform that offers actionable data and analytics (rather than a pile of unsorted data) is key here.
4. Automate as much as possible.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the wave of the advertising future. But not all AI platforms are the same. You need one that can automate as much as possible.
Your marketing and creative teams are probably already busy. There are meetings to attend, budgets to review, articles to write, and more. The right AI-inspired platform takes the busy work off of their to-do list, so they can focus on the innovative work that only a talented, creative person can do.
There are additional benefits of automation too:
You’ll reduce your need for staff to do simple tasks you can outsource to your ad platform.
You may help reduce burnout by empowering your team to focus on the work they most enjoy.
You’ll spend less time analyzing data and more time putting it to work for your company.
You may uncover surprising insights that you otherwise would have missed.
5. Consider the story you want to tell.
What’s your company story? And what’s the story of people who buy your product? Are you solving a problem? Making life more pleasurable? You should know—and too often, brands don’t.
Consider the heavily saturated beauty market. Lots of skincare products promise great results. But a brand can set itself apart by offering something innovative that solves a real problem. Maybe that’s environmentally friendly beauty products. Maybe it’s auto-delivery. Maybe it’s beautiful packaging for highly image-conscious consumers. And maybe it’s all three with a different emphasis depending on which consumer the brand is speaking to.
Telling a compelling story is critical for appealing to various consumer groups at different stages of their buyer journey. To tell the right story, you need the right data—and that requires an intelligent ad platform that can weave a brand-consistent story into each marketing campaign.
6. Fail fast, fail better.
If something doesn’t work, you need to know it quickly. And if you’re going to win, you might as well win big and early. Truly innovative ad campaigns focus on high engagement early, offering immediate results, so you can assess what’s working best and adapt accordingly. Failure is a chance to learn and grow your way into success. Exceptional ad platforms use your failures to build something better as quickly as possible.
Failing better requires testing outcomes on an ongoing basis. Want to learn more about the importance of thoughtful testing? Download our Beyond Basic Ad Testing white paper.