Why is my Advertising Campaign not Working?

Ads on TV during the morning news. Ads on the bus bench, and the bus, inside and out. Ads on Spotify as you pop in your earbuds for the commute. Ads on billboards as you walk to the office. Ads on every webpage while you work. Break time. Oh, look, a cool Instagram post. #Ad. 

Every day and everywhere is a battle for consumer's eyes. The competition is fierce and the ad blindness is real. Attracting the eyes of today’s ad-cluttered consumer isn’t always easy. However, before you write off advertising from your marketing plan, keep in mind that ads are essential to creating all-important awareness and conversions. You just need to understand how to break through the clutter to reach and engage the right people.

Are you a brand that finds that your ads aren’t working? Is the budget too high and the ROI too low? Here are four reasons your advertising campaign may not be delivering the results you had in mind.

1. The Creative is Boring or Expected

Advertising creative has changed with advances in technology, ad-blockers, distrust and the gold-fish-like attention spans of a dual-screening generation.

But fear not, creative is not dead and it is still the best way to capture the eyes and minds of today’s consumer. The use of intriguing or entertaining storytelling is a timeless way to grab attention while not necessarily sounding like an ad. We call it ‘ad-cognito.’ Remember, your brand is not entitled to a customer’s attention, it must be earned. Introduce your story and save your brand for the end. With a great story, you’ll have ‘em hooked until the final frame.

Grandma Asleep Because of Boring Computer Ad

Humor, in particular, can work well, when done right. In fact, a recent study found that 53 percent of consumers remember and enjoy funny ads. Good creative is risky, but the biggest risk of all is playing it too safe. Plagued by 1,500 messages a day, your brand must ask ‘what makes us stand out?’ Compelling creative can make that difference.

Some advertisers identify new, unexpected ways to incorporate messages. Take the ‘Big Spills’ guerrilla marketing campaign created for Bounty, for example. A guerrilla marketing strategy can be both low cost and high return, especially in an era where shareability is the new word of mouth.

Whether humorous, entertaining or presenting the information in a captivating way, the ad should serve to strike an emotional chord with the viewer, listener or reader. Consumers make purchase decisions based on these emotions and then justify them later with logic. You can’t logic your way into someone’s heart. The truth is, most consumers dislike change and are happy with what they have.

2. You’re not Reaching the Right People

It’s an advertiser’s job to know what a consumer wants when (or even before) they want it. The good news is that there’s more information on consumers available today than ever before. In fact, you can target an audience based on everything from age, gender and location to job title, education, interests, purchases, likes, dislikes and browsing history. The first step to a successful marketing campaign is to hone in on the right audience for your brand. This can be accomplished a few ways.Poor Targeting ad example

Google Analytics can reveal powerful insights into who is most interested in your brand simply by evaluating who is visiting your website. For a more precise understanding on how to find a target audience demographic, consider a comprehensive brand study. This will help you identify what consumers are already thinking about the brand. Then, use future campaigns to address negative connotations and strengthen positive ones in your brand strategy.

Once your brand has a proven target, ads can actually be viewed as useful by the consumer. Perhaps they stumble upon a new shirt while scrolling through Instagram. Maybe it’s a sponsored product on Amazon or even a banner ad swaying them into that last-minute trip they’ve been dreaming of.

A refined target audience isn’t limited to digital ads. For traditional media, it is just as important to run a television spot during the right program, a radio spot on the correct station and a magazine ad in a publication read by the brand’s target audience. Resources such as Nielsen, comScore and MRI can help you analyze your target audience and their media consumption habits.

When it comes to the size of your audience, think Goldilocks. This one is too big. This one is too small. This one is just right. Too big and you pay more to reach people you don’t need to. Too small and you limit many media buying platforms from being able to optimize and learn what data traits work better while the campaign is running. The just right philosophy should also be reflected in your brand’s overall budget.

3. Don’t Ignore the Results: Optimize, Re-Optimize, Repeat

The beautiful thing about digital advertising campaigns is the ability to see what is working and what isn’t in real-time. No need to wait for your campaign flight to end. Just days after launch, you’ll be able to view the preliminary results and manually optimize the ads based on initial metrics. The timely access to reporting for digital offers an opportunity

Grandma annoyed with high frequency ad

 to test a variety of headlines, creative and keywords during the course of your campaign. Make sure to wait a week or two before making any major adjustments to ensure you build a significant pool of data before jumping to any conclusions.

If you’re seeking a more hands-off approach, test auto-optimization, but be advised that it is important to still check in and monitor the system weekly to ensure that the program is continuing to optimize to your marketing, product, budget and messaging priorities.

4. Monitor the Metrics, But Don’t Obsess Over Them

Not too long ago, when clients asked how their ad campaign was performing, their agency was likely to shrug. Tracking was easier when there was a retailer effort or limited-time offer that allowed for the measurement of sales during a certain time period. Otherwise, it was rather hard for advertisers to prove an ROI.Optimized ad to the right audience

With today’s metrics, tracking the views and success of an ad is far easier than it once was. Digital ads can track impressions, clicks and conversions (just to name a few) through the use of pixels and UTM tags.

Metrics have improved the ability to track ROI and overall success of your advertising campaigns, but it is dire to not be too obsessed with the metrics or to choose only digital media. An integrated approach that includes cohesive digital and traditional components will increase awareness through a heightened frequency of consistent materials.

While all of this data is helpful, the less trackable more traditional medium shouldn’t be ignored. The metrics available for digital advertising can actually help your brand measure traditional media better. Measure the success of your television campaign by reviewing upticks in organic web traffic and conversions during your ad flight. Though this may not communicate exactly how many conversions are directly related to your campaign, it can indicate if it is hitting (or missing) the mark.

When it comes to delivering ad campaigns that break through today’s clutter and grab eyes, it pays to have knowledgeable experts on both the creative and media sides. Hoffman York is a full-service advertising and marketing communications agency that provides creative and digital, paid media, earned and social media, as well as research and analytics. To learn more about how HY can help your brand succeed, contact us at [email protected]. Or, click here to view our past work



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