A successful campaign begins well before its launch. There is a whole host of things a media team needs to think through before they launch a digital advertising campaign.
Here, we’ll go through the nuances and particulars you need to take into account as you complete this worksheet.
1. What Is My Campaign Objective?
Your campaign objective is the motivator behind why you’re spending money on advertising in the first place.
We often see campaign objectives mistaken as the goal end result (e.g., X amount of visitors on the website), when they should be your organization’s motivation behind the campaign (e.g., gain brand awareness through quality website traffic).
It’s important to take your time, get this step right and get everyone on board because the objective serves as the core motivator of all decisions moving forward.
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2. Who Is My Target Audience?
When it comes to programmatic advertising, thinking about your target audience in traditional ways is useful, but you need to dig deeper if you want to truly succeed.
This is because the sheer opportunity of targeting technology is so massive (partially demonstrated by this art project). The best place to start before diving into the granular specifics is with:
- The personas (who)
- The geographics (where)
Personas are the type of people you’re looking to hit with your ads. Think young professionals or new grandparents or C-level execs looking for new enterprise-level software. You can have multiple personas per campaign, but make sure they all align with your campaign objective.
Next, think through the geographics of where these personas are physically. Young professionals in Seattle? New grandparents in Phoenix suburbs? C-level execs in New York City for a big industry conference?
Be prepared to adjust your assessments once your campaign is live. Many times what you think is true about your audience may not be reflected in reality. Use this as an opportunity to adjust your understanding of what your organization offers and who responds to your messaging.
Once you establish your personas and geographics, much of the rest will start to fall into place.
3. How Will I Reach My Audience?
Next, you need to think about where your campaign will live in the larger marketing funnel stages of Awareness, Engagement and Conversion. It might be in just one stage, two stages or all three.
Your answer to where your campaign fits in the marketing funnel will help you determine which channels you will use to reach your audience in the most impactful, cost-effective way.
Here’s a high-level run through of channels and which marketing funnel stage they fit with:
- Display (Awareness, Engagement, Conversion)
- Paid Social (Awareness, Engagement)
- Paid Search (Awareness, Conversion)
- Video (Awareness)
- Audio (Awareness)
- Connected TV (Awareness)
4. How Much Money Do I Want to Spend?
Money is, obviously, very important. Ultimately, a good return on ad spend is what you’re looking for out of a campaign.
So, at least a ballpark idea of not only how much money you’ll spend, but how you’ll spend it is vitally important to setting your campaign up for success.
A good way to start thinking about your budget is, how much are you willing to spend to achieve the lowest level of what you want out of your campaign. In other words, if your objective is more demo requests, what are you willing to pay for one demo request?
Then build your budget out from there. We have a more in-depth formula on the worksheet, so be sure to work from that.
One thing to be aware of is that not all campaigns will fit this way of thinking exactly. For instance, if your campaign lives solely in the Awareness stage of the marketing funnel, it might be tough to identify the lowest level of what you want out of your campaign. So, treat this as a useful starting point.
The two next questions to tackle budget-wise are:
1. Should budget be booked on a Cost per Impression (CPM), Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per Acquisition (CPA) or some other basis?
2. Do you have enough budget to divide it among channels or platforms?
3. If yes, how exactly will we do so?
These questions may be easier to answer down the road, so don’t get hung up on them here. But be sure to answer them comprehensively (along with why) before you launch.
5. When Do I Want My Ads to Run?
What you report on and when throughout the life of the campaign is vitally important to its success. These two facets are determined, to a large extent, by the start and end dates (i.e., flight dates).
While it may seem like this has a quick and easy answer, there a lot of things to consider. Be sure to think through outside influences that may crop up during the life of your campaign — anything from a particularly competitive holiday season to a surprise recall of a competitor’s product.
There are some things you can plan for and some things you can’t. Keep this in mind as you decide on your flight dates and stay flexible.
One way to stay flexible is using multiple sub-flights for more granular reporting. You’ll want to tie these sub-flights to specific strategies and budgets. Your campaign objective should justify why you’re using sub-flights and the purpose behind each.
6. What Do I Need to Report On?
The importance of determining, specifically, how you will measure success from the get-go (KPIs, leading indicators, goals, etc.) is hard to overstate.
The answer to this question will set the tone for all collaborations you put in place. It’s the central agreement that all parties involved with the campaign will work towards. It will also allow you to set everything up to work together smoothly, from individual line items to comprehensive end-of-campaign reports.
It’s best to start at a granular level when answering this question. Think about the lowest level of information you’d like to report on. Depending on your objective, that may be individual creatives, designated market areas, audience profiles or even entire sub-campaigns.
Next, think about how you will break that information out to be reported on (Which designated market areas?, Which creatives or groups of creatives?, etc.).
7. How Will I Track Performance?
Once you decide what to report on and how you’ll start to break it out, you need to set a litmus test for success. In other words, you need to establish your KPI (Key Performance Indicator).
The right KPI will unite all campaign stakeholders around one metric for success. It will also give your team what it needs to optimize quickly and intentionally as the campaign develops.
This level of importance brings with it a lot of nuance. In rare cases, you might even need a set of KPIs (though we don’t recommend it, except for edge cases). Setting a good KPI is a science in itself, so if you need help thinking through it, drop us a line.
8. What Tools Do We Need?
So far, we’ve worked through the tactical aspect of setting up your campaign (the what, who, when and why). Now it’s time to think about the technical aspect (the how).
Now is the time to start building your tool chest of everything you need to achieve your campaign objective. If you have everything already, your campaign is do-able. If not, reassess your objective or buy more tools.
Figuring out what you need to execute a successful campaign can be a huge task. We’re always available if you need help thinking through it all.