Marketing metrics 3: Five steps to great online advertising

There is a great misconception in digital marketing that because you can access statistics and track online journeys it is a better medium to use. Whilst the data that can be provided is undoubtedly impressive, most marketers get bogged down in irrelevant figures and consequently give a distorted view of return on investment to their board.

Indeed, the only KPI that matters in online advertising is the enquiry or conversion that is effected by a click-through on one of your advertisements elsewhere. Nothing else pays your overheads and provides you with profit. Check out this previous post if you are in any doubt.

To give your advertising the best chance of success consider these five steps.

1/ Ensure your planning of an online campaign follows the same process to offline. That means picking websites based on audience demographic, frequency and size data and matching your offering with their needs. Demand as much information as possible relating to audience so you make informed decisions.

Do you need to target a specific decision maker by job role, geography, company size? Lots of sector specific sites as well as mainstream sites like, provide a wealth of data about their audience because their content is increasingly being locked behind registration and log in, or in a growing number of instances, is actually paid for content. These sites might cost proportionally more but you are getting access to customers who have registered an interest in the content for that site and are going to be more relevant – so increasing your chances of interest and conversion.

Invariably, the best websites and portals are affiliated to the most widely read magazines in your sector, so if your budget needs a little stretching opt for negotiating a deal including offline and online advertising and perhaps try and add some additional opportunities in email newsletters etc. The key word is negotiation.

2/ Design your adverts to be targeted and attractive. Ask a leading question or propose a thought provoking solution. And tell them who are you. Web users are less likely to click on an advert if they don’t know where it is taking them. Apply good aesthetic design principles as you would to a print advertisement and ensure there is linkage to your established brand using the right fonts, colours, logos and photography style if appropriate.

3/ Make sure you give your online advertising the best chance of success by ensuring that they can click through to a specific landing page on your website, or a campaign specific landing page if preferred. Don’t abandon them on the home page when they have clicked through with a specific need. That just infuriates visitors and you lose them, even your click-through statistics may appear to be high. And ensure your site is loading quickly and can handle the increased volume of traffic that advertising will create or the click-through statistics provided will be inaccurate (see below).

4/ Demand data from media owner and cross reference against your own web statistics. The numbers of click-throughs and visits will be different for a number of reasons and you have to take a calculated view on the success of your campaign by looking at both data sets. We all know that we can click on an advert and realise why we don’t want to load the page, the page can take too long to load, or we can arrive on the landing page and quickly leave. Only paying for the clicks you receive if especially important if you have negotiated this route with your media partner.

5/ Ensure you follow up promptly on all leads and enquiries you receive. This backs into your sales process and you need to ensure your sales teams are fully briefed on the messaging and logistics of the advertising campaign so they understand what was seen and where and be able to act quickly to convert. Automation can help in this area but don’t forget the personal touch can have a greater effect on conversion.

As online advertising gets more targeted, look out for forthcoming posts which will cover targeted advertising on platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook.


One response to “Marketing metrics 3: Five steps to great online advertising

  1. Ensure you follow up promptly on all leads and enquiries you receive.

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