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Harnessing Paid Digital Media to Drive Growth

While there are many elements of a data-driven growth strategy, few have as much immediacy, adaptability, and impact as paid digital programs. At the same time, paid digital is an area where companies pursuing growth often get off track and apply their marketing budget in ineffective ways.

When you get paid digital right, it becomes a finely tuned engine that propels your growth strategy in measurable and predictable ways. And the more you understand it, the better equipped you will be to react nimbly to new customer and market insights and influence your organization’s growth.

The key is to approach your paid digital strategy systematically, measure performance accurately, and refine your approach continuously based on reliable data.

Benefits of optimizing your paid media

Optimizing your paid media will help your business in many ways, including:

  • Increasing customer awareness
  • Maximizing the impact of advertising spending
  • Growing your overall lead volume
  • Showcasing your brand story and differentiators
  • Engaging customers in mutually beneficial ways
  • Growing sales through both online and in-person interactions
  • Driving conversions to trackable assets
  • Unlocking insights about your audience demographics

But while most organizations have at least some of the components of paid media in place, many struggle to optimize each piece of the puzzle and create a complete picture of how prospects and customers engage with their business.

In the following sections, I’ll share some general guidance on how you can ensure that your business maximizes the impact of its paid digital investments.

Establish clear goals

One of the most critical steps on the journey to more effective paid digital programs is setting goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Realistic

Your goals should focus on business objectives first and then cascade down into the data points you need to measure about your target audience, brand, competition, and content effectiveness. These generally include performance metrics such as reach, leads generated, click-through rate, web referral traffic, and conversion rate.

Enhanced Analytics Stack Drives Revenue Growth

Segment was deployed across the website and app, generating events based on user activity. These events were then used to build a comprehensive reporting system to track user behavior, the number of insurance policies sold, and total revenue generated. This allowed us to gain visibility into ROAs and help them allocate funds for paid and other marketing efforts more effectively.

View customer story →

Assess your current maturity level

Once you set clear goals, the next step is to assess how aligned your existing strategies, platforms, and programs are with your business objectives. This generally starts with a fresh look at your brand activity, channel utilization, and positioning. But these efforts shouldn’t be limited to the strengths and weaknesses of your own strategy and execution. Understanding how your overall market is approaching paid media – particularly by your key competitors – is equally important.

Once you’ve assessed your maturity – and the dynamics that exist in your market – you can create a clear roadmap for evolving your paid media strategy in ways that both close gaps and capitalize on newly discovered opportunities.

Make measurable investments

Increased investment in paid media is frequently required to accelerate growth. When your team doesn’t have confidence in its ability to measure impact, ramping investment to the required levels can feel daunting. Different paid media platforms also require unique instrumentation and daily attention to maximize investment return.

We generally advise clients to set a consistent level of paid media spending while committing to ongoing testing and performance measurement. This includes experimentation with different ad variations and A/B testing to arrive at the optimal formula for each audience and platform.

Add the necessary fuel

Even when the proper mechanics and measurements are in place, paid media programs will only perform when fueled by high-quality content. Great content informs, entertains, educates, and provides many other types of utility to your audience. Meanwhile, mediocre content will fall flat, even when pushed through paid media channels flawlessly. Therefore, a well-considered content plan is critical for any paid media program.

This is often easier said than done. It can be challenging to find and mobilize the right blend of historical assets and new material from a mix of writers, videographers, and brand partners. But it’s required to make your improved campaign strategies viable and capable of achieving the goals that you set.

Attract best-fit prospects with paid search

Paid search is different from most types of advertising in that your target marketing is seeking you out rather than vice versa. Since engaged users are the most valuable, optimizing your search presence to outperform your competitors is critical. Fortunately, paid search programs are among the few types of marketing investments that can be measured with precise accuracy. But this is only possible if you set your targets and measurements with intention. This includes analysis of keyword search volume, ad clicks, form-fill conversions, transactions, sign-ups, or whatever your ultimate measure of success is.

Every successful paid search program begins with a solid keyword list. Since you only pay for the clicks you receive, expanding your keyword list to include specialized terms costs nothing. Once you compile your list of strategic search terms, consider close variants of those phrases and continue building.

Campaign structure will also play an important role in your success with paid search. It’s critical to ensure that the keywords and ads in each ad group follow the same theme and that the ad groups roll up into an overall campaign theme.

One question many businesses struggle with is whether to invest in “branded” paid search campaigns that provide coverage of a company’s own brand names. It can seem counterintuitive to invest in terms that your company will rank first for in organic results. But we generally advise clients to include a branded campaign in their program. There are two significant reasons for this:

  1. It keeps your competitors from hijacking search engine result page (SERP) space for your branded terms.
  2. It gives you the flexibility to drive traffic with brand affinity to low funnel offers that are more likely to result in conversions.

Amplify reach with paid social

Paid social media programs offer an opportunity to reach your target audience quickly and through a variety of platforms. This makes it an affordable and effective marketing solution for businesses of all sizes. Social channels can employ advanced targeting and dynamic ad types based on attributes and audience traits. By using the available targeting options, brands can make sure they pay for the exact audiences they want to reach. This can include retargeting those customers that did not convert on an action, expanding into new audience segments, or engaging with an existing customer base.

Marketing through social enables brands to broaden how they connect with potential customers and go after previously untapped audiences. Visibility through paid social can further increase your brand recognition and provide an easy way to interact directly with your customers. Each of these engagements is an opportunity to improve customer loyalty and retention.

Optimize landing page conversion

Often, the desired outcome of your paid digital investments is to drive your audience members to a landing page conversion. It’s important to approach your landers strategically since they are often the first experience visitors arriving via ads, emails, or social posts will have with your digital experience.

When it comes to landers, we’ve found that focus is critical. Unlike your main site pages, which may take visitors down multiple paths, landers are best focused on a single purpose. For example, here are some things to avoid:

  • Unnecessary inclusion of a navigation bar
  • Too many offers
  • Misalignment between lander content and source the visitor arrived from
  • Ambiguous next step

Now that we’ve covered what not to do, here are some best practices we’ve seen work time and again:

  • Express the value of your product or service clearly: The exact content of a landing page may change based on why a user came to the site. But the central theme should remain focused on why your product or service can meet the user’s needs and solve the problem they’re researching.
  • Make sure that your offer matches expectations: Align what a user expects to see when they arrive with what is actually there. This includes considering the content on the lander and ensuring that source ad content sets consistent expectations.
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions: A visitor arrives on a lander for a specific reason. The page should be structured to make it as easy as possible for the visitor to do what they came to do.

Test and iterate continuously

Once you optimize your paid media programs, you will have a wealth of reliable data that you can use to measure their effectiveness. Even when you follow the best practices outlined above, you may find that ad performance or conversions do not live up to your expectations.

The good news is that by taking a systematic approach, you will have more opportunities to gain experience and measure the impact of small changes.

For example, try creating multiple ad variations. We recommend three per ad group. Rotate them and collect data for two to three months, depending on your search traffic volume. Pause out messaging with poor click-through rates and try new alternatives. There are no wrong tests to run because each one will give you more data to work with and bring you closer to understanding what works best for you.

The same concept applies to landing pages. Make different versions of a lander and measure the performance of each. You can also experiment with adjusting offers and individual elements on the page, including removing elements to identify the ones that are truly necessary.

Enhanced Analytics Stack Drives Revenue Growth

Segment was deployed across the website and app, generating events based on user activity. These events were then used to build a comprehensive reporting system to track user behavior, the number of insurance policies sold, and total revenue generated. This allowed us to gain visibility into ROAs and help them allocate funds for paid and other marketing efforts more effectively.

View customer story →

Start your journey to more effective paid digital

Ultimately, there is no single silver bullet for optimizing your paid digital investments. Success in the long term comes with:

  • Taking a systematic approach
  • Following best practices at each step
  • Generating data you trust
  • Experimenting and iterating over time

Do you need help with this?

Get in touch to learn more about how Convertiv can help you:

  • Assess your current paid digital execution
  • Design and implement paid digital programs
  • Create templatized ad creative
  • Optimize tag management and tracking
  • Monitor your campaign performance over time
Understand and accelerate growth with us.
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