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  • Writer's pictureJohn Bell

The Next-Gen Digital AdvertisingToolbox

A lot of businesses may be wasting their money on digital advertising. They struggle to use it well and gain enough efficiency for a positive return on their media investment. Still, digital

advertising is essential for many B2C and B2B businesses to attract and engage new customers. Part of the problem is instrumenting campaigns well enough to have confidence in the data. The other part of the problem is that recent changes at Facebook, Google, and others have made digital advertising more expensive and less predictable.

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6 Vexatious Truths About Adverting

Here's a quick summary of the most important changes over the past 12-24 months:

Media is more expensive

Targeting changes for Facebook, the Google monopoly, and growing complexity for thumb-stopping ad formats have increased advertiser’s costs by 15%-50%.

The big platforms dominate

Google, Meta and Amazon will absorb more that 50% of all ad money in 2022. Together they accounted for more than $7 in $10 (74%) of global digital ad spending in 2021.

Tracking efficacy just got harder

Technology platforms marketers rely on including Google and Apple are changing how their technology inhibits or enables marketers to use consumer data.All these changes reflect growing consumer concerns about protecting privacy and data.

Time to get back to the funnel

Gone are the days of shoveling all your ad dollars into high-intent, low-cost PPC marketing. Brands have to build awareness and engagement to feed the funnel: TOFU, MOFU and BOFU for all. Investing in brand alongside performance can deliver 28% lower cost-per-acquisition.

First-party data is key

With the erosion in the inexpensive ‘targetability’ of ads, Brands must put more priority on building their customer data both the strengthen retention and serve as a tool in new acquisition.

Testing and learning are essential

Cost-per-click on Facebook can range between $0.07 to $5.99 depending on industry, ad performance, targeting, and optimization criteria.

A Simple Checklist for Effective Digital Advertising

There's almost nothing simple about digital advertising. Anyone who has rolled up their sleeves inside the Meta Ad Manager or in Google Ads knows that those platforms are changing all of the time while offering a wealth of choices - many completely useless.

The fundamentals of a strong strategic media program still apply, and I have assembled worksheets to make it easier for a small or mid-sized business or marketing leader to plan or evaluate a partner plan for a strategic program designed to deliver meaningful results.

Planning Based on the Customer Journey

We generally use digital paid media to acquire new customers or leads that will turn into customers. That means thinking about the left side of the journey (or the top half of the funnel, if you're a funnel person) - Discovery/Awareness, Engagement/Consideration, and Conversion/Sales. Journey logic holds. Depending on your product or service, you must spend energy making new prospects aware and educated about your brand and then retargeting them to engage or convert them. What motivates people from one step in the journey may be different. At the awareness phase, you may be reaching them before they have considered your product

Sketch the Campaign

You can use this simple Campaign Plan Worksheet to sketch out the basics (BTW, JTBD = "jobs to be done" which is marketer parlance for what you must do to succeed). It starts by focusing on what are you trying to do - build awareness, drive sales, both?

Know Your Audience

It's hard to argue about knowing your customer prospects as much as possible. On the other hand, I am a fan of lean documentation. This approach highlights relevant attitudes and what their needs are. This helps build creative messaging and inform strategy.

Select the Right Channels

Some channels work harder toward the top of the funnel (TOFU) like YouTube while others are strongest for sales, like Search. And while Facebook reaches just about everybody, some channels favor ages or other audience types. Every product or service will have its own reasons for selecting certain channels. I would suggest not extending your campaign across too many channels to start. Build a foundation in a couple of channels and then grow from there.

Evaluate Performance

Yes, we can measure everything. Although each platform (GA4, FB. Google Ads) will return different data for the same measure. It can be maddening to select your 'source of truth.' Do your best to instrument the platforms well - placing pixels, isolating actions, and troubleshooting. Then, keep the reporting simple by focusing on the few KPIs that indicate real progress toward a goal.

Create High-Performing Ads

With so much content and advertising out there, the pressure remains to create highly relevant ads. Copy and visuals must be informed by your audience (e.g., high-intent search ads are informed by what people are searching for) and your brand (e.g., what differentiates you and communicates the core value you are selling).


We start with a hypothesis as to what sells, and then we test and learn. Gone are the days of set-it-and-forget-it. Every day, we look for clear trends or unexpected dips or spikes. Some of that is to make sure Google hasn't mysteriously shut off your campaign (it happens). Some of that is to detect trends we can take advantage of. We are always evaluating so that we can take useful actions like turning off lower performers, moving budgets, tweaking the landing experience, and more.



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