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Top 3 Mistakes Made by Online Advertisers

Top 3 Mistakes Made by Online Advertisers

With the abundance of self-serve online marketing solutions, it’s extraordinarily easy for digital novices to get a new campaign up and running in as little as an afternoon. The rapidity with which online advertisers can launch and later modify a campaign is one of online advertising’s greatest hallmarks. However, it is often easy for beginners (and veterans alike) to make serious errors that prevent their online advertising from reaching its potential.

Unfortunately, even well-established online advertisers are prone to make a number of errors that can plague an online advertising campaign (particularly a self-serve campaign). Here are three of the most common mistakes made by online advertisers.

Under-Budgeting

In most cases, new online advertisers will launch a new campaign in a new advertising medium with a small budget. While it certainly makes sense for advertisers to test out a campaign with a smaller spend, committing to a disproportionately small budget may lead to poor performance.

This problem frequently occurs with retargeting. The power of retargeting lies in repetition—the ability to reach customers multiple times keeps brand recall high and leads to increased conversions. Advertisers who neglect to spend enough on their retargeting campaigns will only be able to serve a few ads to each user per month, which is insufficient to reinforce the branding message and improve overall recall. A campaign with an appropriate spend may have been incredibly successful, but by under-budgeting, you will end up seeing mediocre results.

This problem is not specific to retargeting campaigns, and in fact, the biggest obstacle holding back many digital campaigns is a budget that’s too small.

Ignoring Your Data

Agility is one of the online advertising’s greatest gifts, and many an advertiser is guilty of failing to take advantage. Online advertising provides real time feedback from your audience in the form of which ads are clicked and which are not, which landing pages convert and which don’t, and a laundry list of other engagement metrics that can tell you whether or not your audience is responding to your campaigns.

The valuable insights derived from performance should always be used to inform decision-making in an advertising campaign. Look at the data, do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. A/B testing is an incredibly valuable tool that no marketer should be without.

Another key point is to wait long enough to amass sufficient data. Optimizing based on data that is not significant is no better than failing to optimize at all.

Taking data from campaigns and optimizing based on performance is the only way to ensure high performing campaigns over time. The optimization process is never completely finished, as even successful campaigns tend to see performance dips once they’ve been running for a significant period of time.

The corollary of the advertiser who doesn’t listen to the data is the over-optimizer, who spends such a significant portion of his time honing his advertising campaign, he never has time to actually launch it, collect data, and ultimately drive conversions. Though less common than under-optimization, over-optimization is still a mistake to be avoided.

Failing to Diversify

While one channel may perform well, it’s a mistake to get too comfortable and refuse to explore other options. Advertising is at its most effective when you can reach your audience across multiple channels, and studies suggest that prospects involved in multi-channel marketing campaigns are more likely to remember a brand and become a customer.

With many channels, there is a limit to the potential reach of your advertising. Even if you’re a phenomenal email marketer, for example, there is a limit to the amount of emails you can send to your users, and at a certain point, you can’t derive much more value from your campaign.

Today people consume media from a variety of sources, and young consumers may switch media up to 27 times an hour. Reaching your audience across all these channels is without question the most effective away to drive home your message. If your entire budget is spent on search marketing, you will be missing out on the opportunity to reach your audience while they’re using a mobile device, social media or browsing the remainder of the web. Supplementing your paid search campaigns with mobile, social ads, a strong social presence, and/or display will allow you to reach them wherever they go.

Taking risks is a key component of online advertising and the savvy online advertiser will step outside his comfort zone to build strong campaigns that reach across channels.

Online advertising offers diverse endeavors and is ripe with opportunity. Avoid these three mistakes, take advantage of the opportunities provided, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an online advertising guru.

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2 Comments

  • Nothing is more frustrating than seeing successful marketing departments have their budgets reduced by the powers above because several of their channels are becoming “so” successful. Not only do you lose out on the diversification, but some things just don’t snowball unless you supply the snow.

    Great thoughts. Thanks for posting.

    -Chad