6 Reasons Your Online Advertising Brings No Results

Let’s be honest — some online ads simply don’t work. At least we think that they don’t. Or better put, we judge them before knowing the real reason they don’t… Now, there are almost unlimited ways to reach your target audience on the internet: targeting people who search on Google with your search ad, capturing people’s attention with your promoted social media post, direct messaging on LinkedIn or creating a short video on Youtube. There are many channels and many types of ads that can use to target your potential customers.

But why the heck don’t they work for you? Many businesses have rapidly grown thanks to online advertising and yours hasn’t. What is it that makes your campaign inefficient?

First of all, be clear on the problem you are facing. What metrics say that your campaign is not working? Is it the ROI (return on investment — easily put, how many dollars are you making out of 1 dollar you invest in the ad), cost per lead (in case of lead generation campaigns) or number of people your campaign reached? When reporting on your marketing efforts, make sure to be as precise on the desired metrics as possible. “Thoughts” are the worst reporting tool.

Secondly, who is running your ads? Is it you who has access to all the important metrics and reporting or do you outsource ad management to someone else? If so, are they fully transparent on the process of a campaign setting? Do they let you “watch the chef while cooking”?

Let us be clear: this point is crucial. Online advertising is not a black box. It truly works and increases the ROI if done well. But if not, there is no positive ROI, just money thrown out of the window… What I am trying to say is, that there will be plenty of companies charging you for the ad management who are not truly willing to help you. As a result, your campaign ends up being inefficient.

Let’s say you are running the ads on your own and still suffering from lack of efficiency. We won’t let you down. We’ve prepared a few points which — when done well — will increase your ad efficiency.

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1. Know your target audience

There is nothing worse than targeting someone who is not interested in what you offer. Everything else might be done perfectly, but if the target audience is set inappropriately, nothing will save you (and your wallet). In marketing theory, knowing your target audience is the very key. For your online marketing efforts, there is no difference! All in all, when running your ads (on any channel), make sure to select the target audience that equals your ideal customer profile.

Another cause of an ad being inefficient is to have an audience that is too broad. Your marketing budget may not be high — which is completely fine — therefore, be very selective and specify the audience to one that is narrow rather than broad.

John Doe 
John Doe — Marketing Persona

To give you an example, when targeting potential house buyers, go for specific ZIP codes or nearby cities where the majority of the demand can be generated. If you know that your audience is between 30 and 50 years old, narrow it down! These are great incentives that help you keep your audience as relevant as it gets.

2. Choose the channel wisely

As said, there are dozens of channels you can use to reach your audience. But ask yourself a question: Where is your audience? Where do they spend time? How and where do they want to engage with you?

Having thousands of options does not mean you need to use all of them. On the contrary, being selective is a much better approach. Put your customer at the center of your activities and, trust me, your efforts will pay off!

I know, I know… You want to see an example of what I mean. Here you are: Let’s stick with our real estate business for now. Your audience is people living nearby, let’s say, San Francisco, between the ages of 30 and 55 years old. You recently heard that Instagram and Tik Tok are the new channels to use! You feel excited about using new social media platforms to reach your audience, don’t you? But is your audience on these channels? Let me answer that question: they probably aren’t. Most likely, these people will engage with you on Facebook, Google or Youtube. Therefore, choose the channels wisely and ALWAYS think of your audience first. Don’t follow the hype.

thousands of marketing channels
Easy to get overwhelmed by thousands of marketing channels

3. Speaking the wrong language

I don’t mean replacing English with Spanish. What I have in mind is the whole message, the content the user sees — be it video, headline, description or a picture. Remember that choosing the right channel according to your target audience is just the beginning. The users don’t care how far you’ve come to target him or her in the most precise way! What they care about (and what they interact with) is the content — your ad. Make sure to work with your USP (unique selling points — things that differentiate you from the competition) and the desire your target audience has. Empathize with your audience, combine their values and desires with your unique message and I promise you won’t lose this battle!

4. Lack of AB testing

We’ve covered the most important factors. But what if these are done well and you still can not reach your goals? Maybe you are not really trying to. By that I mean literally trying — TESTING what works best. AB testing, as marketers call it, is a simple idea of testing 2 or more things and seeing what brings better results.

I may have forgotten to say that online marketing offers you the ability to track practically everything! Having this said, seeing which one of your messages (be it two different pictures) or your channels works best if totally feasible.

In order to get the best results, I recommend running AB tests for every campaign you start! Always work on optimising and improving your results.

5. When an ad gets exhausted

Sometimes your ad just gets exhausted! There is even a term for it: ad fatigue. This happens after your ad has been efficient for some period of time, but happens to decrease its efficiency rapidly as time flies. The reason is pretty obvious. As you run your ad, targeting a certain audience, more and more people see it. Your target audience is limited, so you may reach a point where as you invest more, you only increase the frequency, but do not reach more people! Simply put, you reach a level where you invest in making the people who already saw your ad see it more times.

See the graph below that shows what I have in mind:

Ad fatigue
Ad fatigue — The point where your ad starts to be inefficient

What should you do when your ad reaches this point and starts to get exhausted? Change something! Be it the message (content), channel or targeting. You may want to make your audience more broad as this exhaustion occurs due to a narrow audience. Changing something will start a new loop in which your campaign will be efficient again.

6. Something goes technically wrong

The whole time, we are speaking about running your ads across multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, Google, …) which is not always intuitive. When setting up your campaign, you might have missed something that badly determines your campaign and, thus, brings you bad results! There can be a million things that can go wrong — starting from the campaign objective to the placement you choose.

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  1. Plan, plan, please, plan

People plan their meetings, their gym sessions, their tasks in general, why not just plan the content, then? Planning weeks or even months in advance gives you the ability to readjust your posts if needed. Set up your content calendar and approval flows. If you are doing the content alone, make sure there are no errors. Stay consistent and relevant. Planning your content ahead will help you to see the overall impression. Try it! It’s satisfying.

Scheduled Posts on Facebook
Scheduled Posts on Facebook

2. Represent your brand identity

Are you a real estate agent, owner of a flower shop or a barber? Representing your brand or business does not mean you should be boring. Be entertaining, so your audience feels good as part of your e-company. Give them valuable information, call them to action so they engage with you. Be consistent and you will become memorable. If it is not in your brand identity to behave cheeky, as for example, Netflix does, find another way to communicate in a friendly and engaging way. :)

Netflix Tweet
Outstanding Netflix Tweet

3. Track important metrics

As mentioned above, the realtor, the barber and the flower shop owner have something in common — they should not be boring. But they can have different social media goals. The realtor might be looking for new leads, because they don’t want to be dependent on one channel like e. g. Zillow. The barber needs more customers and the florist needs to be in the minds of all the guys who live near the shop, so once their special lady has a birthday, they know where to buy the best flowers! It can be difficult to determine how your efforts have contributed to sales and leads directly. Instead, it’s better to determine how you define your own success, depending on your goals.

Think about these points below:

Traffic: Is your community on your website? Do you see growth over time? Where is the traffic coming from?

Engagement: How many people are coming to your page versus those actually engaging? Which topics are they engaging in most often? This may determine your future questions, content and discussion starters.

Members or customers: How many new members do you get every week and how many do you lose? Is this consistent? If there was a drop or growth, find what caused it!

4. Use the data you collected

Analyse your posts, interactions and the feedback you get from your audience. Then OPTIMISE! You are the one who knows the data and your customers best. The value of data cannot be understated — you’ll end up with happier, more loyal customers, as well as more easily converted leads. Use the advantage!

5. UGC!

People trust other users experience more than the companies themselves. Did you know that reviewed a product’s chances to be sold are 80% higher than one without any review? Positively reviewed, obviously. Social media is all about interaction, sometimes the best content will come from your audience.

This is User-Generated Content, or UGC. It is amazing because it is authentic, and reflects what your customers think about your brand and… it’s free. It will show your customers’ experiences, and it drives the conversation forward in ways that you won’t be able to do by yourself. It is the gate to engage with people and get closer to them, making your brand feel more personal and approachable. UGC can be anything e.g. posts or tweets mentioning your brand or reviews.

Two examples of UGC campaigns:

  1. Calvin Klein asked its fans to fill in the campaign line “I_____in #MyCalvins.” Thousands of their followers took photos and posted their briefs, making the campaign go viral. In just a few months, over 500,000 photos were tagged on Instagram. Brand awareness: overloaded. Very clever :)
  2. TVNZ teamed up with World Vision to increase awareness around the 40 Hour Famine challenge and show support, while raising funds for the people of South Sudan, who were affected by extreme drought. Using the hashtag #40hfnz and sharing photos (with their hands outstretched) on social media, participants voiced solidarity. A nice project, isn’t it?

Calvin Klein
Instagram Post (Calvin Klein)

Instagram Post (40 Hour Famine challenge)
Instagram Post (40 Hour Famine challenge)

Remember: Everybody wants the response. And everybody wants the answers quickly or even instantly. Do care about your response rate and response time. It might seem that people take it for granted, but it really makes the user experience unique and enjoyable.

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