How Data Can Help You Fix Your Advertising

September 19, 2016 - WRITTEN BY GEORGE WANG

Have you ever tried advertising but didn’t get any results? Losing time and money on a failed marketing campaign is frustrating, but it can also give you valuable information about how to improve your advertising efforts in the future.

So why did your campaign fail, and how do you fix that?

Step 1: Identify possible problems

Marketing can fail for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Not enough people saw the ad
  • Your intended audience didn’t see the ad
  • Your intended audience saw the ad but didn’t click on the link
  • They clicked the link but were turned off by the page it led to
  • Each of the above is a different issue that needs to be handled differently.

    If not enough people saw the ad, you may not have targeted a large enough audience—or you may have targeted keywords with low relevance or search volume.

    If people outside your intended audience saw the ad, but those you wanted to reach did not, you may need to change the demographics or keywords your ad focuses on.

    If your desired target audience saw the ad but didn’t click on the link, there might be problems with the image or your call to action, or with the apparent value of your offer.

    If prospective customers and clients clicked the link in your ad but didn’t convert once they arrived on your landing page, the problem is likely to be with the design or copy present there.

    Depending on your particular situation, some or all of these might apply, and there may also be others that aren’t listed here. The next step is to examine the relevant performance indicators and narrow down the cause of the campaign’s failure.

    Step 2: Gather data

    Depending on the channel through which you ran your ad—Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords, or others—you’ll have different options for analyzing its performance. In general, you’ll be able to check metrics like Click Through Rate (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC), Conversion Rate (CR), and Cost per Conversion, along with information on Impressions (how many people saw your ad, sometimes called “Reach”) and audience demographics.

    • Low impressions indicate that the ad failed because not enough people saw it.
    • Demographic information helps you determine whether the ad reached your target audience.
    • If you have high impressions and the audience demographics match your desired customers, but the Click Through Rate is low, it’s evidence that prospective customers aren’t engaging with your ad because the ad itself needs to be modified.
    • High CTR combined with a low Conversion Rate suggests that the ad is working, but the page it links to has problems you need to address.

    Step 3: Test Different Ad Versions

    Once you’ve identified what kept your advertising efforts from succeeding the last time, the next step is to make some changes and find out how they perform. Spend a little money on A/B testing different versions of your ad (and your landing page, if applicable).

    That doesn’t mean running a full campaign with each version—just do enough to figure out which version works better. You want to make sure everything’s working properly before you spend a lot of money!

    Step 4: Monitor and Improve

    Once the whole process is working as it should—with your ad reliably reaching your audience and resulting in enough conversions to bring in profit—it might be tempting to just “set it and forget it.” But the last step is ongoing: keep an eye on your campaign’s performance and keep testing new variations. That way you’ll keep your marketing fresh and continually improving, and you’ll also be able to spot major changes in performance when they start—instead of only noticing them once they hit your bank account.

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