Marketing - 5 min read

6 Reasons Why Paid Advertising Campaigns Fail

Posted  |  Written by David Ligtenberg

You invest your marketing budget into a comprehensive campaign, designed to grow your business and customer base. And yet, at the end of that campaign, you find that little has changed, you're treading water, and the effort had little impact on your business goals. What happened?

Paid advertising campaigns can fail for a number of reasons. All of them are important to understand, because they directly link back to your organisation's budget. And all of them tend to have one thing in common: they directly relate to a lack of strategic emphasis.

Failure is not always spectacular. Sometimes, it simply describes a promotional effort that fizzles out, leaving little tangible impact behind. Consider these 6 reasons why paid advertising campaigns fail your opportunity to change that, and start to generate positive ROI instead.

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1) Failure to Consider Your Audience

No advertising campaign, paid or unpaid, can be successful if you don't actually build it with your target audience in mind. That might seem obvious, but deserves further consideration.

Your campaign is successful if potential customers take the action you want them to take. But they will only take that action if the message is actually relevant to them. Unfortunately, too often, that's not the case.

That's why every advertising effort has to start with thorough audience analysis. Seek to understand not just who you want to target, but what motivates them. This guide to successful market research can help you build a comprehensive understanding of your audience, including pain points and motivating factors.

2) Failure to Set Marketing Goals

Understanding your audience, of course, is not enough if you don't set up a goal-driven campaign. This is where marketing metrics enter the consideration. If you don't set measurable objectives, you will have no idea how your efforts are performing and no opportunities to make potential improvements.

These goals, of course, can differ based on your company and industry. Ideally, you should be able to drive a direct through-line from your campaign to achieving larger business goals. For instance, if you want to grow your customer base, related marketing goals might be focused to lead and customer conversions as a result of your campaign.

Setting the right marketing goals can be complex, and deserves its own discussion. But if you don't do it right, your marketing campaign might not just fizzle - it could fail without you ever knowing about it.

3) Failure to Offer a Tangible Next Step

The first two points of failure are related to planning. This one, however, is directly connected to how you build your ads and messaging. No matter whether you are looking to place ads on Facebook, Google search, or any other network, you need to let your audience know what comes next.

Often, this 'next step' manifests itself in the form of a call to action button. Treat it similar to a landing page: the more actionable and relevant to your audience, the better. Be clear about what users get by clicking on the ad and converting to a lead or customer.

EG: In the below example it’s clear what the e-book is about, it’s free and that you will be able to download this resource. As you can see a great CTA doesn’t have to be short, it just needs to set expectations clearly. If you adopt these best practice approaches you will get much better conversions / results from your paid advertising efforts. Also, if your using HubSpot marketing software you can easily create trackable CTA’s giving the added advantage of tracking (Views, Click Rate, Clicks and Locations) and the ability to set up multivariate tests and personalised buttons based on user data.

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Proven tactics to boost your paid & inbound marketing efforts.

At the same time, you have to walk the fine line between offering a next step and pushing too far. More than 90% of people consider ads more intrusive now than they were two years ago. That's where relevance enters the equation once again: the more relevant the call to action, the more likely your audience will see it as value-adding rather than intrusive.

4) Failure to Connect Your Paid and Inbound Marketing

Don't make the mistake of considering your paid advertising campaign separate from your inbound and content-based marketing efforts. Sure, one pushes your message out to a potentially unaware audience, while the other draws an already interested audience in with relevant content. But in reality, both work best in concert. Consider integrating them with tactics like the below:

  • Use digital ads to promote conversion content, such as whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars.
  • Build your messaging holistically, ensuring that paid ads reinforce the branded content your audience may have come across organically.
  • Use list-based targeting for your ads to reach existing leads and prospects with paid content.

Of course, these are just a few of the many opportunities to integrate your paid and inbound marketing. Native advertising is an especially relevant medium to connect with your content efforts. Through this integration, you can leverage the full power of your digital marketing efforts.

5) Failure to Focus on the Right Metrics

All of the above are potential reasons your paid campaigns are failing. But none of them matter if you don't focus on one crucial variable: the marketing metrics you're actually using to track your success.

The second point above already considers the importance of setting the right goal. What metrics are you tracking to ensure achievement of that goal? The medium you're focusing on will answer that question. Clicks and cost per click matter for search engine ads, while reach and engagement are crucial on social media. Both of them, of course need to be aligned with conversion tracking to help you determine who actually took that 'next step' you prompted in your messaging.

As you choose the right metrics, it also makes sense to find benchmarks that help you understand what rates actually constitute success. For instance, the average cost per click on Google's AdWords is $2.32, though that can differ significantly by industry. Find the benchmarks most relevant to your industry and company size, and begin to evaluate your own metrics against them.

6) Failure to Track and Adjust Continually

Finally, never make the mistake of setting and forgetting about your campaign. Especially in a digital environment, that is simply not enough. Instead, you have to consistently check how your individual ads and overall campaign are performing, and make adjustments as necessary.

One popular tool to achieve that goal is A/B testing. Run two slightly different versions of the same ad or targeting, and determine which outperform the other. Change single elements of your ads over time to find the options that work best for your needs. Active management of your campaign will ensure that even if it doesn't succeed initially, you can guide it away from long-term failure as time passes.

Are You Ready to Build Your Paid Marketing Success?

Paid marketing has the potential to be immensely successful. To get to that point, you need to avoid the common mistakes other marketers have made. Fortunately, awareness of these mistakes along with knowledge of how to avoid them is relatively straightforward. Are you ready to build your business through paid ads, integrating them with your inbound efforts in the process? Contact us for help in achieving any and all of the above goals.

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