Ad campaign optimization: six strategies for success

Published Feb 21 2023 Last updated Jun 9 2023 6 minute read
ad campaign optimization
  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.

North American companies spent over $297.5 billion on ad campaigns in 2021. Researchers expect that number to keep growing over the next few years. By 2024, advertisers could spend nearly $380 billion.

With that much money on the line, advertising and marketing professionals must prove their value to clients and employers. Businesses will only spend more on advertising when they see it grow revenues. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to keep pouring money into new digital ad campaign strategies.

No matter where you are in your advertising career, you could use a little help optimizing your approach to digital advertising.

With the right campaign optimization strategy, you can get better results that prove your value. Then, you can present the results in a digital marketing report that solidifies your reputation.

Whether you work for a global corporation or a boutique marketing agency, the following points will make optimizing marketing campaigns easier than ever.

Why to optimize your advertising campaigns

Digital advertising and marketing have become essential to business success. Once all of the economic data comes in from companies and governments, researchers expect to see that e-commerce accounted for about $5.7 trillion of global sales. While online shopping probably won’t grow as rapidly as it did in 2021, even slower growth makes digital advertising impossible to ignore.

Plus, you can’t fully capture the influence of digital advertising by measuring online sales. A lot of consumers still prefer in-store shopping. Many of those people research and compare products online before they head to retail stores, though.

If you don’t have a strong online presence, your brand will probably lose some in-store sales.

Top six optimization strategies

Optimizing marketing campaigns can lead to more sales, revenues, and overall success. OK… but what steps do you take to optimize your digital advertising?

It isn’t a mystery. There are concrete, tested ways to improve results.

Ad campaign optimization for Facebook and Instagram campaigns

Facebook and Instagram have an enormous amount of active users. Near the end of 2022, more than 2.95 billion people used Facebook regularly. Instagram looks small in comparison, but you can’t ignore the 1.21 billion people on the image-based platform.

Optimizing marketing campaigns for social media apps like Facebook and Instagram can position your brand for short-term and long-term success. So, how can you appeal to more people and convert them into customers?

Facebook recommends following its Performance 5 concept (conversion API, simplified ad sets, broad targeting, mobile-friendly video, and ad testing) to get better results without spending more money on digital ads.

Below, we cover account consolidation (a term similar to simplified ad sets), testing, and focusing on what works to help you reach your digital advertising goals.

1. Account consolidation

Not too long ago, digital marketers knew they needed several audience-focused ad sets for social media campaigns. You would use different sets of creatives to reach different consumers.

Social media algorithms have changed everything.

Today, you need to consolidate your ad campaigns as much as possible. If you can get consolidate your ads down to one or two sets, you’ll give algorithms higher data volumes. More data means algorithms can lean faster and direct your ads to people likely to show interest in your products.

2. Always be testing

Social media trends evolve quickly. A topic that dominated Facebook News Feeds and Instagram Stories last week might not even get a response today. That applies to advertising strategies too. The most effective ads from a month ago could actually turn people away from your brand right now.

Testing gives you insight into trends as they evolve.

Use A/B testing to determine which of your advertising assets get positive results. You’ll likely find their popularity change over time.

Keep testing and adjusting to keep up with social media users. They’re a fickle bunch! But you need them to improve your return on ad spend, increase click-through rates, and grow brand awareness.

3. Focus on what works

Don't waste time – and money – on creatives that don't get top results. Focus on the assets that work well.

Before you trash creatives that don't convert a ton of people, make sure you define your goals. Maybe an ad doesn't need to convince people to finalize a purchase. Maybe an ad does its job just by convincing people to click a link. Maybe you just need it to appear prominently on a screen.

Remember that you can't measure success and determine what works until you establish a goal.

This raises an important distinction between vanity metrics and actionable metrics. Vanity metrics might look good in a report, but they don't give you insight into how you can increase conversions. Ask what value each metric offers. If you don't have a good answer, you probably shouldn't spend much — or perhaps any — time collecting data about them.

For example, a high click-through-rate (CTR) might look impressive. If it doesn't convert, though, it isn't a good ad. Focus on the assets that get real results.

Once you know which creatives work for you, tweak them for further optimization. And never forget #2: Always be testing!

What about tips for Google digital ad campaigns?

Google raked in more than $209 billion dollars in 2021, making it a critical channel for brands that want to optimize their ad campaigns. 

With that in mind, you'll want some tips for optimizing your Google ads! 

4. Account consolidation

Account consolidation matters with Google ads just as much as the ads you post on social media.

Sure, it's tempting to separate your advertising accounts so you can track the performance of individual creatives. Unfortunately, that approach means you don't get a broad view of how your campaigns perform. And that means you don't have the data needed for campaign optimization.

Consolidate your accounts so you have enough conversion volume to draw data-driven conclusions. You'll spend less time trying to determine which ad campaigns strategies work for you and more time optimizing the strategies that already get good results.

Remember, you can always segment your conversion data without using different accounts. Segmentation is important too. It just can’t dominate your ad campaign optimization strategy. Don't forget to "always be testing" and "focus on what works." Let the data guide your decisions.

5. Use a multichannel approach for your digital marketing campaigns

Google Ads doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can make it work as part of a broader ad optimization strategy by reusing images and text throughout.

Why would you use the same images and text instead of creating as many ads as possible? Wouldn’t different visuals reach different audiences?

Maybe… but that’s not the goal of your multichannel marketing approach.

Consider the See-Think-Do Care model.

According to this framework, it takes several brand exposures before consumers feel comfortable buying from you. They:

  • See a product for the first time.

  • Think about whether they want to buy the product.

  • Do make the purchase.

  • Care about the services they receive after finalizing the purchase.

People tend to buy from companies they know. It just feels less risky.

The first time someone sees your ad or visits your website, they probably won’t finalize a purchase. Don’t think of this as a failure to convert. Think of it as the first step in converting a new lead.

A multichannel approach to digital advertising can target potential buyers at different points of the sales funnel. Putting ads on social media covers the See phase and introduces people to your brand. Google Ads – and similar digital advertising options – usually work better in the Think and Do phases because you’re directly targeting people who have already been exposed to your brand.

The Care phase also matters, but that’s something the customer services team needs to think about.

6. Run retargeting ad campaigns

Obviously, you want every aspect of your digital campaign to communicate an important message that converts browsers into buyers. Even the best messaging doesn’t always convert people, though.

OK, but how do you raise your brand awareness to make people feel more comfortable buying from you? That’s where retargeting ad campaigns come in.

Google Ads can help you retarget audiences by placing cookies in web browsers. When someone visits a landing page on your website, a small piece of code gets added to their browser’s cache. Once the cookie gets put in the web browser, your ads can follow people wherever they go online.

Over time – maybe a few hours, maybe a few weeks – people will become increasingly familiar with your brand, which makes your company more appealing. Each time someone sees a version of your Google Ad, they unknowingly take a step closer to becoming a customer.

The benefits of retargeting don’t end there. They can also:

  • Improve your return on ad spend (ROAS) by targeting people who have already shown interest in your products.

  • Reuse the most effective ads instead of designing new ones that might not work well.

  • Target specific audiences based on factors such as which product landing pages they view and how much time they spend on your site.

Retargeting in a post-cookie world

Expect to encounter some challenges in the near future as websites stop using third-party cookies to give their visitors more privacy.

Contextual retargeting will help you overcome this challenge. With contextual retargeting, you put ads in places where people interested in your products and services will see them. For example, a company selling sports memorabilia would place its digital ads on sports-related websites. When sports fans visit those sites, they'll see the ad.

This concept has been around for a long time. You just need to apply it to digital advertising. In return, you can potentially save money and target people with high purchase intent without jeopardizing anyone's privacy.

Companies spend a lot of money on advertising so they can stand out from competitors and attract consumers. Don’t waste time and money on strategies that don’t get excellent results. When you follow these campaign optimization strategies, you can expect to see more interactions and higher conversions that drive success.

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