If part of your digital marketing campaign involves paid advertising on social networks then it is very important that you get value for money with effective coverage.
Sometimes, however, it doesn’t go according to plan—even when you think you’ve produced awesome, eye-catching ads. Let’s look at the four biggest causes for underperforming advertising on social networks.
Poorly identified objectives
The first reason involves not being clear on what it is that you hope to achieve with paid advertising in the first place.
Many marketers simply aren’t clear about what outcome they want with their campaign. Most advertising will fit into one of two objectives: it will be either brand recognition or conversions (either subscriptions to services or sales of products). While they might seem similar they are actually very different objectives and they will directly affect the type of campaign you need to employ.
For example, if you are interested in brand recognition you simply want to get your ad in front of as many relevant people as possible. Your ads will need to have an emphasis on brand identity—that is your product name and a recognisable image. If it is a service then your name, font, logo, and colour scheme need to become instantly recognisable.
For brand recognition you’ll want to pay per impression i.e. each time the ad is displayed. If you are focused on sales or subscriptions then you’ll be more interested in paying per click because you’ll measure success by the number of people you get to click on the ad to find more information. Make sure you choose the correct one in the settings for your chosen social network.
Not targeting the correct audience
Just as we need to be certain about what we are hoping to achieve, we also need to be crystal clear about who we are trying to reach. For this you need to invest a lot of thought into researching your audience. Each factor can strongly influence the type of campaign you need to run:
Location – Will your audience buy online or would they prefer to visit a physical store?
Age of customers – Younger people often hang out on Instagram whereas older people still prefer Facebook. But this changes all the time so you need to look into recent data for all social networks to determine which ones you should be targeting.
Gender – Are you targeting women or men? Perhaps both?
Occupation – Is your audience comprised of professionals? Perhaps you are marketing to other businesses rather than individuals? Perhaps your market is students and teachers?
Interests – Are you targeting a particular type of activity or hobby? Are your audience into fishing or vacations? Perhaps travel?
Often your audience will be complicated, particularly if you offer a range of products and services. In this case you will need to develop multiple profiles to target i.e. multiple audiences. Many platforms allow you to target different audiences in your campaign. A good starting point is Facebook’s Split Testing page.
Wrong type of ad presentation
Once you know why you are advertising and who your audience are you need to develop eye-catching, relevant ads. As you’ve probably guessed, there is no one rule to follow; each social network has its own particular kind of audience. You’ll need to research what type of ad presentation works best for the given platform you are using:
- How much text is permissible on the ad graphic before it loses effectiveness?
- What colour schemes work best?
- What sort of font is most effective?
- Usually the social network’s own help documentation provides the best guide but a quick search with Google or Bing will also give you lots to think about.
Failing to learn from problems
The final area where many marketers are a bit too relaxed is when it comes to assessing performance. You need to be continually checking the performance of your ads. Many networks will allow you to provide several versions of your ads. You’ll find that some perform and some don’t. Learn from the ones that work and update those that don’t. With a bit of dedication you will find the right formula.
A successful ad campaign involves a lot of experimentation. Luckily, most platforms provide tools to analyse the performance of your campaign in real time. You can start by looking at Facebook’s Ad Manager to get an idea about what you can measure.