6 Reasons Online Advertising Campaigns Fail

6 Reasons Online Advertising Campaigns Fail

Are you finding it hard to run a successful online advertising campaign for your business?   Are you unsure on how to improve it and make it profitable?

The majority of businesses stink when it comes to advertising their business.  Little thought and a lot of money is the usual advertising combination, leading to poor performing ad campaigns.  No wonder that so many businesses don't consider paid advertising as a good way to generate new business.

What if I told you that advertising works, specifically online advertising.  What if I told you that people grow and scale profitable businesses every day using nothing but paid advertising.

Online advertising works, it actually works very well if done right.  The problem is that you are doing it wrong.  If you tried to play the piano for 5 minutes and sucked at it, would you declare that pianos don't work?  Of course not, you just need to learn how to play the piano.

People often say that nobody pays attention to advertising, only organic search results.  Those people are wrong and missing the boat.  While the vast majority of people ignore ads when searching for information online, when they have a commercial intent (they want to buy something), they click on ads 2-1 over organic search results.  Why?  Because ads are often very targeted and show exactly what you want, where you may have to sift through lots of articles and junk to find what you want to buy in the organic search results.

People searching in Google with commercial intent click on paid ads 2-1 over organic search results – Wordstream study

If you are currently investing in online advertising and finding that it is not working for you, you need to examine the many parts involved in forming a successful ad campaign.  Below are 6 areas you need to examine to make sure you are doing them correctly.  Each part relies on the other, so getting one of them wrong can lead to the entire ad campaign falling apart on you.

Targeting is Wrong

Do you know what kind of customer you are trying to reach with your advertising?  How much time have you spent building out a specific customer profile you want to target with your advertising campaign?

Having a solid understanding of who you want to target is a pre-requisite for a successful advertising campaign.  Many businesses gloss over this crucial part and it almost always leads to a poor advertising campaign.

Before you begin any advertising campaign, figure out who you want to target and build out a specific profile of this person.  Once you have this information, then you will have a much better idea of how you will reach them, what you will say to them and what you plan on offering them.

The average person now spends more time online than with TV and all other media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) combined. – Business Bricks

Wrong Online Advertising Channels

Are you reaching the right people with the wrong online advertising channel?  Are you using Twitter ads when you really should be using Google Adwords?  At this point, you should have a clear understanding of who you want to target, which should make choosing a advertising channel easier.

  • If people actively search online for your type of product or service, then Google Adwords may be a good option for you.
  • If you want to get in front of a very specific audience, the Facebook Ads offers laser focused demographic and interest targeting options
  • If you are a BtoB company, then maybe LinkedIn Ads is a good choice for you
  • If visuals work well with your business, then Instagram Ads or Pinterest Ads may be good choices
  • If you want to reach a younger, more tech-oriented crowd, then Twitter Ads is a good choice to reach your audience

Once you know who you want to reach, finding a way to reach them becomes easier.

Budget Is Too Small

You need to spend enough money and generate enough traffic to your website in order to understand if your advertising campaign is working or not.  You can't throw $50 at an ad campaign and then decide it doesn't work if it doesn't generate any leads for you.  You need to have an understanding of how much click volume you will need to generate in order to get an idea on how an advertising campaign is working.

My rule of thumb, at a minimum, you need to generate at least 100 clicks to your website before you can even consider evaluating the effectiveness of an ad campaign.  In reality, that number should be much higher to get more accurate data.  So if clicks to your website are costing you $1 a click, you need to spend at least $100 to even begin to consider if it is working or not.

It also depends on what your offer is.  If you are trying to get people to schedule an appointment with you, then your conversion rates may be much lower (and you will need more clicks) then if you were offering a free report in exchange for an email address.

Another mistake businesses make is spreading their advertising budget across too many campaigns, never getting enough click volume in any one campaign to make an informed decision.   Give your ad campaigns a chance and let them run long enough so you can get the necessary data to make an informed decision.

Landing Page Not Converting

If you are reaching the right audience with the right marketing channel and still nothing is happening, then most likely the landing page you are sending people to is not converting for you.  Your landing page is your virtual salesperson, it needs to compel people to take the next desired action you have set out for them.

If your landing page is not converting, look at the following:

  • Is the message on your landing page compelling to the kind of people you are targeting with your ads?
  • Does the landing page message match the ad that you are running?
  • Are you adding supporting evidence like customer reviews and supporting facts/statistics to the page?
  • Do you have a clear call to action so people know what to do next?

One of the best things you can do to improve your conversions is to test your landing page.  Change the offer around, create more compelling headlines, offer a no questions asked money back guarantee.  The point is to try out many different things to see what combination works to create a high converting landing page.

Poor Offer

Are you making a compelling offer to people visiting your landing page?  You can't tell people to take action, you need to make your offer so compelling that they feel like they have to.  Just having a “call us” or “order today” call to action isn't enough, you need to show them how their life will be better with your product or service.  You need to explain to them the financial and time costs if they do not take action.

Your ad and landing page copy should follow the tried and true AIDA copywriting formula.

Attention – Get their attention, say something that will perk up their ears.

Interest – Keep them interested with interesting facts, figures and examples. Use stories, examples and case studies to make your point.

Desire – Make them really want to buy from you.  Show them how their life will be better with your product or service.

Action – Get them to take the action you want.  Lead them through the steps they need to take to become your customer.

Not Measuring Results

For every ad campaign that you run, you should know:

  • How much I spent on the campaign
  • How many clicks to my website it generated and what was the cost per click
  • How many leads/sales did it generate and what the cost was for each lead/sale
  • How much an average sale is for you business and what your customer lifetime value is

Once you know these numbers then you can start making really smart decisions on your advertising.  With these numbers, you will know how much your business can afford to spend to generate a lead/sale.  You can then track your ad campaigns to make sure they are you are withing these numbers.  Without these numbers, you will continue guessing and going with “gut feeling”, which are wrong most of the time when it comes to marketing effectiveness.


The best online advertising campaigns improve over time

You're most likely not going to hit a grand slam on your first ad campaign, the key is understanding the ingredients to a successful ad campaign and continually assessing and improving over time.  Eventually, you will know exactly how to reach your audience and the words and offers will get them to take action.  You just need to commit to getting better every time you run a new ad campaign.

The following two tabs change content below.


CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.