How to plan and launch a digital advertising campaign

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It is impossible to open your laptop or turn on your phone without receiving various forms of digital advertising. From Google Adwords or Facebook retargeting to programmatic, pre-roll, native ads and sponsored content. The options, terminology and methods can be complex. Despite these obstacles, digital ads will continue to evolve as powerful marketing tools.

Courtesy / Current IMC

Marnie Grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC.

You may feel compelled to get into digital advertising because your peers and competitors are already embracing it. Before taking the leap, identify why you are making this investment of time and resources.

Start by asking, why?

  • Are you ready to increase your brand visibility alongside competitors who are already advertising?
  • Do you need greater visibility when expanding into a new geographic region or industry?
  • Are you launching a new product, service or event and need to drive traffic to a landing page?

This will help clarify your justification in advance.

Digital channels

Identifying your target audience will inform the channels you use. Selling tickets or products might be better suited to social media, where you can target your audience based on location, interests, age, or profession. A brand awareness campaign targeting specific industries or types of decision makers might be better placed on a corporate media platform or on LinkedIn.

You can test a campaign with just one or two channels with a targeted audience. Test, learn and adjust as you go.

Launch your program

Even if you have a basic understanding of how digital advertising works, the methods of creating and launching campaigns can be confusing. Some advertising platforms are self-serve, others are only available to an agency or media outlet, and everyone selling digital advertising services seems to be using their own lingo.

Here are the basic options for serving digital ads to your audience:

  • Manage your digital ads internally. The most profitable methods are the Google Display Network and social media advertising platforms. There is a learning curve, but the Google and Facebook/Instagram ad platforms are self-serve and that’s usually where advertisers start.
  • Work with an agency that handles programmatic advertising buys. Programmatic advertising is a methodology of buying from an inventory of ad space on a variety of websites and uses geo-fencing and audience targeting to deliver a number of impressions. When you want your brand to have increased visibility across various channels in front of a specific type of user, programming expands that reach.
  • Engage a media or online platform directly. If your organization has a very specific target audience in mind, you can buy directly from a media or website publisher. In this case, you are negotiating the purchase of a specific number of impressions that are guaranteed to serve.

Track your success

One of the benefits of digital advertising is the ability to set up reports that provide data and metrics on the success of your campaign. Before any of your ads run, set up Google Analytics so you can track traffic to your website based on your campaigns. If you’re working with an agency or media, ask for reports that include click-through rates, impressions served, cost per click, and other metrics.

Be prepared to make adjustments to your channels, budget, messaging or creative and for lead generation campaigns, the landing page. Tracking your success will reduce unnecessary spending on campaigns that aren’t well targeted or need creative enhancements.


Marnie Grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC, an integrated marketing communications agency. She can be reached at marnie@fluentimc.com

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