With a few billion impressions of data under my belt and thousands of reports covering millions of dollars of ad spends I am at somewhat qualified to reflect on trends and mistakes that cross industry and advertiser size. Are you guilty of these marketing sins?
Lack of Brand/Non-Brand Balance on Paid Search
Hypothetical Client: How come Agency X is delivering a 20:1 ROI and you’re only delivering a 5:1?
SJ: Well our goal is to generate new business for you, not maximize ROI. If we were only bidding on ads for people searching for you, the ROI would be higher but it wouldn’t help your business grow.
*Side note: there are times when it IS appropriate to have a brand-based keyword campaign; for instance, your competitors or a third party booking engine are trying to steal your business and you have to defend yourself from that loss.
Too Much ROI Focus
ROI is important, but not the only indicator of digital marketing success. More broadly, now that we can track return on ad spend results with some accuracy (see #X) we’ve created a monster I call returnoninvestiosaurus. Symptoms this monster lives in your office include: there’s not budget to promote events or non revenue-generating lines of business, you look at line 28’s revenue rather than the bottom line, you run an “awareness” campaign then ask how much revenue it brought in.
No Defined Goals – i.e. Wanting Everything
If you have more than one goal, you should ideally have more than one campaign to meet these goals.
If you want a campaign that has both a massive reach and a high click rate, but only have $1,000 to spend, you’ll likely end up in a cost-per-click display campaign because you are only paying when someone clicks on your ad. On the other hand, the higher the click rate goes, the more often you have to pay, the fewer people you ultimately reach. Your two goals are in a relationship where one will win and the other loses. We’d advise you instead to make two separate plays for your click and reach goals.
YOY Obsessions in a DTD World
You ran paid search in 2007 and had a 10% click rate? NICE. You were ahead of the game though. Everyone else caught up. Your Facebook post had a 30% organic reach two years ago? Great, but that’s an unrealistic expectation for a new campaign. Results that were good last year may be irrelevant now, so take your YOY stats with a grain of salt.
Missing Trends Because They Aren’t Proven
There’s logic behind sticking with ads and ideas that are demonstrably successful. You should use successful campaigns to inform your next budget, but if you focus too much on what you know works well, you miss out on the arbitrage that will put you ahead of your competitors. Instagram is a no-brainer now, but were you on there 4 years ago? Are you afraid of Snapchat because you don’t know how to track its value? How about Facebook Live? The case for value may be ephemeral, but the value is there to be taken on new media even if it doesn’t have a direct ROI.
Not Sure What Your “Conversion” is Tracking
Your website has likely changed since you first set up your analytics tracking. Has it been kept up to date? Are you evaluating purchases/leads/conversions/etc. appropriately? Don’t take your reporting at face value if you don’t know what it’s saying.
If you think you might be guilty of these mistakes, give us a call at SJ Marketing.
– Jesse Plate, Manager of Web Services