Marketers looking to get the greatest return on investment (ROI) from various digital ad spending formats must confront a variety of different metrics and approaches best suited for each unique channel. Paid search, social ads and online display are three of the key digital ad tactics, and marketers worldwide reported to research firm Econsultancy, in a July 2013 survey in conjunction with Adobe, that each one serves a slightly different mix of goals.
Nearly the same percentage—just fewer than two out of five client-side marketers—used each of these channels for lead generation, with this as the top objective for both online display and social ads. Marketers were far more likely to use paid search, over social and display, to generate direct online sales. Social advertising showed the greatest implementation for branding purposes, when compared with the other two approaches. And about the same percentage of marketers—just fewer than one out of five—used each of the three tactics to increase traffic.
Having identified the purposes that each of these paid ad types are designed to serve, marketers can begin to wring the most value out of each one’s performance.
For paid search, both agencies and client-side marketers ranked the landing page as critical for optimization, cited by more than half of agency respondents and nearly half of client-side marketers. Bid management and managing search engine optimization (SEO) alongside paid search ranked as the next most important tactics, with client-side marketers putting more emphasis on integration with SEO than agency marketers. Search retargeting was a tactic that just over one-quarter of respondents considered important to getting the most out of paid search.
For social advertising, marketers from both brands and agencies put audience targeting at the top of their list of optimization tactics. The strategy led by a wide margin, which makes sense given that social networks host an engaged user base who are actively sharing their habits and interests, which advertisers can then use to identify key customers.
As for online display, targeting also ranked high, though in this case, advertisers looked to segment audiences and then deliver ads based on that delineation. This was followed somewhat closely by serving retargeted ads to audiences.
But whatever marketers may consider the ideal strategies for getting the most out of paid media, that doesn’t mean they can execute on these plans. When it came to barriers preventing client-side marketers from optimizing their paid media, lack of resources led, followed by disparate data sources.