Advertising ROI: How Do I Know if My Ads are Working?

February 27, 2020 Cox Media

How Do I Know if My Ads are Working?

Making sense of your local business' advertising ROI

It's no secret that getting your advertising strategy right is an ever-evolving process of trial and error, fluctuating with your industry, your customers, your goals, and the advertising options available to you. If you’re new to small business advertising, know that those first campaigns require a leap of faith. No matter how much study you’ve done on advertising strategy and how to create successful campaigns, you can’t be sure about your results until you pull the trigger and put that advertising strategy to the test.

But once campaigns are launched and the results come in, the success or shortfalls of your ad strategy might not be immediately apparent. To some degree, your return on investment (ROI) can be open to interpretation—and it’s also dependent on how well you’ve targeted ad campaigns to serve those specific advertising goals.

Strong advertising ROI is the goal for every business, but how you define that is unique to your company’s needs at any given moment. Here’s a look at how small business advertisers can study ROI and evaluate the value of their ad strategy.

THE RIGHT ADVERTISING PARTNER CAN OFFER TRUSTED GUIDANCE: IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD

The right advertising partner can help you set the right goals, choose the right tactics, and understand how to get your ad planning right, too. Not only will they help set your campaign up for success, but they will break down what's working and what isn't - and adjust for improvement on the next go-around. Having a team of industry experts is helpful in unpacking not only what is or isn't succeeding for your business, but also why that's the case and what to do about it.

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO MEASURE CAMPAIGN PERFORMANCE

There’s no single barometer for gauging ad success. Small businesses need to understand how they define an advertising return on investment (ROI) before they can crunch the numbers and determine the overall value.

When you’re creating and launching ad campaigns, it’s important to focus them on specific objectives that can be used to measure ROI. The ROI for ad campaigns can range from soft ROI such as building brand awareness, to more concrete ROI calculations focused on determining the revenue generated directly from an advertisement.

Typically, ad campaigns target one of these objectives. That’s not to say a revenue-focused ad campaign can’t also increase awareness and engagement among a new audience, but for ROI purposes, it’s best to focus on the primary campaign goals, and treat additional returns as an incidental bonus.

Your primary metric will help determine whether your ads are serving their intended goals. But to unlock deeper insights about performance, as well as to understand the total value of campaign ROI, you need to be using an analytics platform that tracks these campaign results.

WHY IT PAYS TO TRACK CAMPAIGN RESULTS

With campaigns existing across a wide range of digital and traditional ad channels, an analytics platform makes it easy to centralize the performance metrics for each campaign, helping small business owners easily monitor campaigns and evaluate performance. A digital platform also offers much deeper insights by connecting to data points that non-digital ad tracking can’t see.

With an analytics platform, for example, you can track an endless number of data points, from the location of people viewing your ad content, to the actions they take after viewing those ads. Online sales, phone calls to your store, social media likes and other clicks—all of these can be quantified through an analytics platform, helping you understand the full value of your ads.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU AREN'T REACHING YOUR ADVERTISING ROI GOALS

First, work with your advertising partner to understand why this may be happening. Pausing active campaigns can buy you time as you examine your strategic failings. But if your overall advertising ROI isn’t delivering value, you will need to implement changes to turn around that trend.

Certain ad platform tools may be able to identify gaps in your strategy that are affecting your performance. In other cases, A/B testing can be a useful strategy to try different advertising approaches, and increase spending on the version that delivers greater value. This process can also help teach you about the best practices for engaging with your specific target audience.

ONE BAD RESULT ISN'T THE END OF THE ROAD

If you launch a campaign and don’t get the ROI you were hoping for, that’s no reason to give up. What you need to do is equip yourself with the tools and expertise to take the lessons of that failed campaign, and use them to build future success.

Small businesses can benefit from working with a trusted advertising partner that has the advertising tools and technology to measure ad ROI and optimize those returns through strategic upgrades. If you’re trying to advertise your business on your own, it might be worth your time and effort to seek out professional help that can steer your ads toward the ROI you’re dreaming of.

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