5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Setting Your Display Advertising Spend

Display advertising is only as effective as the way you use it. Always ask yourself these five questions before launching any new display campaign.

Display ads can be an extremely powerful tool to reach your target audience across multiple devices. But like with any resource or strategy in advertising, a display campaign is only as good as the strategy behind it.

That’s why advertisers need to take a moment to outline their priorities before setting their investment in a display advertising campaign. Answering these simple questions before starting a campaign can help you to establish your audiences, where and how you can reach them, and how you’ll measure success.

1. “What are my goals?”

Every good ad campaign has specific goals behind it. This might seem obvious, but clearly identifying your goals up front will help you create your strategy, choose the right tactics, and accurately measure success.

Most campaigns can be classified as either awareness or direct response. Awareness campaigns build equity within a brand, product, or service and coordinate with other marketing channels like paid search, social, and email. Direct response campaigns, on the other hand, are designed to promote a more precise call to action with some type of measurable conversion. Whatever your goals are, be sure to align your tactics and expectations with the right campaign type.

2. “Who am I trying to reach?”

Every company has a target market with established decision-makers and influencers. These audiences are defined by job title, age, location, online browsing behavior, gender, purchase history, and many other characteristics.

When you start an advertising campaign, ask yourself who your different audiences really are and which of their characteristics are most relevant for a given campaign. There are a lot of audience targeting capabilities available, especially with display advertising, and before you can really use them you need to clearly identify each of your audience segments.

3. “Where does my audience spend time online?”

With a well-planned audience targeting strategy in place, you can implement a broader mix of contextual websites and apps into your campaign. Most of us spend a majority of our time online outside of our personal trade or profession. We read the news, check the weather, read emails, watch sports recaps, and shop online. Expanding your contextual reach creates more opportunities to be in front of your target audiences. By carefully combining audience and contextual targeting tactics, you will reach your target segments with greater frequency, density, and control.

4. “What devices should I target?”

Given that users spend 69% of their media time on smartphones, advertisers often need a media plan that reaches users across multiple devices.

Don’t forget to consult your campaign goals and consider the user experience. If your direct response campaign is designed to drive visitors to a website that hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices, you might want to exclude mobile device targeting from that campaign. On the other hand, if you’re running an awareness campaign, you may want run ads on mobile devices anyway, since your goal is to simply expose your ad/message to your audience. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s best to target devices that neatly align with your key campaign objectives.

5. “What does a successful campaign look like?”

To effectively track the progress of your campaign, you need to choose key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals, but measuring success will vary quite a bit from campaign to campaign. For example, if you’re running a direct response campaign, it typically makes more sense to prioritize conversions rather than impression reach.

Of course, the customer journey is rarely as linear as “see an ad, click, convert.” Tracking metrics like view-through conversions can help you look beyond the click to understand the value of an influential ad impression. On the other hand, if you are running an awareness campaign, relying on direct response metrics such as click-through or conversion rates can be misleading. Using KPIs intended to measure brand awareness will be much more effective in measuring your success against your defined goals of building brand equity.

Display advertising can be a powerful tool, but it won’t provide the results you need without a strategy that is well-aligned with your goals. Asking these simple questions can help you get the most out of your next campaign.

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