July 18, 2023
6 Mins to Read

6 steps to get interstellar ROI on your paid media campaigns

6 steps to get interstellar ROI on your paid media campaigns

Running a paid media campaign includes leveraging partnerships, detailed audience targeting, creative assets, design, tracking, reporting, optimization, analysis — and that’s just the start. To be truly effective, you need to be doing all of this at once, with multiple campaigns testing simultaneously and detailed customer journey mapping in place. Dizzy yet?

Without this system, you may find yourself spending more than you planned, or missing the returns you expected. Too often, we hear clients confessing they aren’t seeing adequate ROI  and that they’re losing faith in their process. This is usually due to a poorly set up reporting system or a lack of ongoing optimization. 

Skyrocketing your ROI is possible when you take a deep dive into your business goals and audience needs. It takes detailed tracking and a team that can support you through the process. With a few simple tweaks, you can double your returns.

1. Lead your media executions with strategy

You’ve heard it before, but strategy matters. Before you start pouring money into your channels, take a step back and think about your business. If you don’t understand your audience, you can’t tailor your creative to their needs. If you don’t have adequate tracking in place to guide them through your flywheel, you won’t know what content performs well and what needs further optimization. 

Here are a few questions to consider when evaluating your current strategy:

  • Have you clearly defined your business objectives?
  • Do you understand the unique challenges you face in your niche?
  • What is your competition doing that you like/dislike?
  • Do you have a specific, granular understanding of your audience?
  • What has been successful/unsuccessful in past media campaigns?

In this stage, it’s crucial to define your customer journeys. Be sure to focus on the key touchpoints along the way. This includes what happens when a customer reaches your campaign landing page. What will they do there? What information or calls-to-action will lead them towards a sale

Once your strategy is executed, it will require ongoing optimizations at every level — by channel, placement, audience, and creative. Plus, constant testing to improve results.

strategy meeting

2. Revisit what works (and doesn’t) with ongoing optimization

In the words of Winston Churchill, “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” 

The longer your strategy is in place, the more information you’ll have about what’s achieving the best results — and where other decisions are falling short. Don’t let it go to waste. Instead, put this data to use by optimizing your campaigns. 

Campaign optimization means adjusting different elements of your strategy based on your growing pool of data to achieve better results. Think of it as testing different hypotheses about your campaign. 

Maybe you thought that your eCommerce audience was most active on Instagram, but the conversions are coming from somewhere else, like Google Shopping. Now is your opportunity to follow the data rather than your gut, and update creative, copy, and/or your ad placement budget to better target the audience, platform, or messaging that is actually delivering results.  

What’s more, just because something works for you now, doesn’t mean it will work forever. Changes in seasonality, customer behaviours, or even the broader economic landscape can all turn today’s winning approach into a dud tomorrow. You might even see diminishing returns if you stick with a single approach for too long. After all, what’s fresh today might be background noise tomorrow if you don’t periodically refresh your assets.

Regular analysis and optimization can help you catch these changes early — and update your approach accordingly.

3. Create a high-functioning landing page

Landing pages form the foundation of your campaign. They are the final frontier between a potential customer and your product, so they need to be your wow factor.

Landing pages should be designed for a single focused objective, or campaign goal, such as completing a contact form. Your landing page should clearly communicate your value proposition and deliver compelling, easy-to-digest information that is tailored to your target customer.

A successful landing page has the following traits:

  • Headlines
  • Value propositions
  • Hero images
  • Social proof or testimonials
  • Forms
  • Calls-to-action
  • Professional design

Each element on your page should be tested on an ongoing basis for optimization. For example, does your CTA offer value, or friction? Does your messaging match your user’s expectations? Tools such as Unbounce can help you in this process. 

One tactic we love is the headline test. Can you read only the headlines of your page and have them tell a complete story on their own? We know that users mainly skim webpages until they find what they’re looking for, and this tactic leverages that to your advantage.

4. Define your audience’s challenges, motivations, and interests

The kind of ultra-specific audience segmentation you’re looking for revolves around not just demographics, but also psychographics. It’s not enough to know where your audience lives. You want to know how they behave online, what their spending habits are, and how that echoes in their values.

Similarly, you should test different types of targeting for different audience segments. Consider your in-market, affinity, contextual, and lookalike audiences. What are their behaviours, interests, and motivations? These parameters should align with the audience characteristics that you defined when you created your strategy. 

This is where you should be building a robust email list to fuel your retargeting and bottom-funnel tactics. Your email subscribers are likely people who have already bought into your brand, so building lookalikes from their habits and preferences is more likely to net you success with future conversion-focused campaigns.

Still, once you start your audience targeting, take the entire customer journey into consideration. In almost every industry, a user needs to interact with your brand multiple times before they convert. This is usually in the realm of 2-3 interactions. In a B2B setting, high-value clients will need even higher frequencies, somewhere between 5-10 interactions.

Another important tip: don’t forget to add exclusions to your campaign. Without exclusions, your prospecting and retargeting efforts are likely to see a lot of overlap. In other words, reaching the same people multiple times from multiple ad groups. In and of itself, that’s not the end of the world, but it will cloud your data and stop you from properly optimizing for each audience.

Tools such as Nielsen, ComScore, and SEMRush, as well as data from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party partners can help you through this stage. From there, you can begin to target those behaviours and interests through your paid media.

5. Creative combinations will set your ads apart

The internet is a visual world. The only way to communicate with your audience is through an effective combination of copy and design. Your creative assets include:

  • Design assets like photos, videos, and graphics
  • Copy and messaging

designer on ipad

It’s important to harness the full range of your creative arsenal when creating new campaigns. If you don’t have an in-house creative team to tap into, you can hire outside help.

Testing your ad formats allows you to tailor your creative to your audience segments. When you use dynamic and responsive search ads, you can leverage platform algorithms to serve combinations of image, video, and creative copy. This automated A/B testing offers a more efficient, less manual method of testing that allows you to take advantage of your data in real-time. 

You can also test ad formats that allow for a seamless user experience. For example, lead generation ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram allow user-information to be pre-populated into a form after clicking the ad, without even leaving the interface. This can go a long way in improving your conversion rates. 

6. Track your campaigns and understand your metrics

Even if you have interstellar creative, a robust media strategy, and a killer product to sell, you won’t see ongoing returns if you aren’t tracking your campaigns properly. 

Effective tracking means knowing when and how a customer sees your ad, what they do or don’t do in the moment, and what actions they take after they leave you. You need to do this across every channel, with every ad, and every customer.

This goes further than simply tracking a form submission or an eCommerce sale — either of which looks solely at the users that took that final action on your site. What about the ~95% of users that didn't take that action? Proper tracking needs to account for them and help you get them over the finish line. 

To measure those interactions, you can use tag management systems and heat mapping tools, which both offer different ways of determining how users are interacting with your site. Tag management (e.g. through Google Tag Manager, or GTM) lets you track granular level interactions on your site, such as link clicks, specific form fields, and call-to-action clicks. You can even create user buckets in which to segment your visitors, along with a huge array of other benefits. Heat mapping and session recording show you exactly what a user has viewed and how they’ve consumed your site. 

When you move beyond your website, this can get a bit more complex. Trying to assess the success of multi-channel campaigns can be a real challenge, especially when there are numerous touch points across your website, alongside multiple ad platforms. Having a centralized reporting hub makes this a lot less of a headache.

That means you should be using centralized reporting systems and interactive dashboards, such as Google Data Studio. Centralization allows you to quickly identify gaps, adjust your strategies, and notice opportunities as soon as they arise.

We like to create real-time custom dashboards for our clients so they can have easy access to spends, results, and performance metrics at any time. We also conduct regular monthly meetings to view results, evaluate goals, and pivot to continuously improve. All of this helps keep your approach strategic and thoughtful, rather than scattered and reactive. 

Looking for a bit more data? Leveraging in-house research tools such as Nielsen and ComScore can also help you accurately pull your audience insights.

In the end, it’s really about how much you know about your audience and how precisely you can prove your results. To do this, you need a dedicated team, ongoing analytics, and a reporting structure that goes beyond cost-per-click. 

data analysis

Take your first steps today

If you haven’t started any of these steps, they can seem like a lot of work to do all at once. 

Not to worry! The important thing is starting where you can today to set yourself up for bigger wins and improvements down the road. Whether it’s refining your data collection to provide better insights in the future, starting to refine your audience insights, or getting that landing page off the ground, progress will happen one improvement at a time. 

Want to see the results of when all of this comes together? Take a look behind Teck’s award winning campaign.

If you like what you see, then discover how our media services can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Hannah Macready, Digital Marketing Copywriter

To create is to live twice.

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