6 signs your digital advertising campaigns are underperforming… and what to do about it

Poorly performing paid search campaigns could be costing businesses tens of thousands of pounds every month.


AI marketing expert Gez McGuire, founder of MCG Digital Media & Lead Acceleratorreveals how to identify and address the most common pay-per-click pitfalls…

Pay-per-click (PPC) is often a victim of its own success. With even the most basic of set-ups delivering results, marketing managers and agencies can see it as a fit and forget solution. A closer look however, will often reveal significant wastage.  

1 You struggle to maintain consistent results

Often businesses find that the amount of traffic driven by digital marketing is inconsistent, or in gradual decline. One of the key factors affecting this is a much too simplistic campaign structure. Having just one ad running for a given search term is rarely if ever the best approach. Multiple ads optimised for different times of the day, different devices and locations provide much more oversight on exactly what is and isn’t working. In this way each campaign can be assessed, tested, optimised and scaled to achieve consistent results.

2 PPC visitors aren’t converting into enough enquiries

In some instances, businesses can be seeing good or even high levels of traffic to their website through PPC, but visitors are simply failing to take the next step to get in touch. In this case it is often where potential customers are being driven to rather than the advert itself that is at fault. A poorly optimised landing page will be costing businesses £1000s in lost revenue. 

In the past, addressing this issue meant creating a single landing page with a clear and direct call to action. While this principle remains correct, there are now a series of advanced features that can supercharge conversions. Taking advantage of the latest advances in AI and machine learning, it’s now possible to quickly and effectively create intelligent landing pages that use multiple multi-step forms. Geared a lot more towards website visitors taking immediate action, we’ve adopted this approach across all of our clients and are seeing conversions increase to as much as 30 to 40 percent.

Introducing AI and machine learning eliminates the need for a "one-page-fits-all" approach to conversion optimisation by delivering the most relevant content to each visitor. Through analysis and learning AI-powered landing pages send visitors to a landing page variant where they are most likely to convert. 

3 Your competitors seem to be everywhere and are stealing your share of voice

Smart businesses make sure that they have multiple touchpoints with their prospective customers. Engagement in the form of conversions or enquiries often happen after the ninth or 10th time that a prospect sees a relevant and timely ad.

One effective way to do this is through remarketing. Incorporating a tracking pixel onto a website or landing page allows businesses to retarget prospective customers across digital platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. 

Soon, when the use of third-party cookies is phased out, there will be a shift in the way digital marketing is carried out, impacting how thousands of advertisers use platforms such as Facebook to target their desired audiences. 

One way advertisers can stay ahead of this change is to gather as much first-party data as possible, through the implementation of remarketing pixels and data collection, from lead generation. Creating your own multi-touchpoint campaign funnel will be important and ultimately, rewarding.

4 You cannot identify how and where to scale your campaign reach

Many companies with sizeable digital marketing budgets still have very limited ability to leverage their campaigns as a result of a poorly thought-out strategic approach from the offset.

Digital campaigns frequently need to be restructured so it’s easier to see where the greatest engagement and opportunity lies in terms of campaigns / devices / time segments and many other factors.

This allows for key decisions on where to spend budget being data driven: being informed by results is far more effective than anything else.

On average this transparency on where to increase or decrease ad spend can reduce waste by  around 25 percent and gov an increase in productivity of 20 to 30 percent in terms of increased conversion rates and lower cost per enquiry / sale.

The main takeaway here: do not take your in-house marketing manager or incumbent agency’s word for it when they say that nothing more can be done to improve your digital campaigns - in fact turnarounds can happen as quickly as within 30 days.

5 You do not have full autonomy or ownership of your digital strategy

All too often the ownership of many companies’ digital marketing lies with either one person in their marketing department or with the incumbent agency that manages it.

This is very dangerous as it can lead to big sums going out every month without the main people in the business even knowing how to access any view of how it is performing. Meanwhile in-house staff or an incumbent agency could be giving out bad advice, meaning the company could be not only missing out on opportunities to streamline and increase the efficiency of the campaign, but also be wasting a significant portion of ad spend.

Companies that find themselves in this situation often have to play a difficult game to get a fresh perspective from someone else but it’s ultimately worth it. If this describes you then act today to start putting things right.

6 Your marketplace is just too expensive to advertise in and you don’t know a way around it

Sometimes it’s just too expensive to advertise in an online auction, such as Google Ads, for certain sectors as the click costs can run very high. This is due to advertisers in those sectors ramping up their bids in order to dominate the paid search results.

Costs can be skewed, for example by a company with a fresh injection of venture capital investment whose new marketing strategy is to play the long game, as they can afford to do this and seek to out-muscle their competitors. 

However, there are multiple advanced bidding strategies that can allow advertisers to compete in very expensive markets without paying the inflated costs their competitors have created.

Take a look at all of the smart bidding options that allows advertisers to set goals in terms of target cost per acquisition, return on ad spend or even to target by impression share. The suite of bidding options available allow you to test and measure different campaigns in the same auction until you find one that works for you and your sector, and your budget.

By Gez McGuire


MCG Digital Media & Lead Accelerator