Advertising research

Creating a Successful Advertising Campaign: 5 Questions to Ask

When it comes to advertising campaigns, there’s a lot of different ways to judge success. From gaining more followers on Instagram to a spike in sales, a campaign’s success really depends on what you’re looking to accomplish.

Prior to starting a campaign, it’s a good idea to sit down with your account manager and have a conversation about your goals. Talk to them about what success would look like for you and your brand. Is success conversions, or are you looking for more brand awareness? Making your account manage aware of your goals will help him or her put together the best possible suggestions.

Here are five questions you can ask yourself during that conversation to help ensure you’re booking the right content:

1. What is my key objective? 

This one is pretty simple: what is your main goal with this advertising campaign? Essentially this question asks what would you most like to see as a result of your campaign? Are you looking for sales, or for brand awareness? Do you want to grow your newsletter subscriptions, or are you hoping to encourage consumers to try a newly launched product? 

Once you have this question answered, your account manager will have a much better idea of what placements will work best to help you accomplish these objectives. 

2. Who is my target audience? 

Again, another pretty simple question, but nonetheless a very important one to ask yourself. 

With this campaign, who are you hoping to reach? This can be as specific as age, gender, household income, marital status, and/or number of children to something more general like “people that like to hike and camp.” 

Once you have your audience in mind, this will ensure your account manager books the proper publications for you that reach your target audience. 

3. What message do I want to convey to my audience? 

This is when things start to move toward the creative process. Once you realize who you want to reach, it’s important to craft a message that resonates with them. 

Are you launching a new product or service and want readers to give it a try? Or are you showing readers that your product is the perfect gift for Mother’s Day? Whatever your message is, it’s important to make it clear to your audience if you expect them to take action. Make sure to include a CTA (call to action) that is fitting for this message, as well. 

It’s also a good idea to make minor changes to your message. You can even A/B test a few different ads to see what performs best. Sometimes a simple headline or coupon code change can result in a totally different reaction from readers. 

4. What makes my product unique? 

Here’s another question that should be asked during the creative process: what sets your product apart from the competition, and why should consumers buy your product instead of this other one? 

Every product should have something that makes it unique, whether that’s a special ingredient, a unique way the product is packaged, or your brand’s mission, i.e., “we plant one tree for every product sold.” These unique characteristics make consumers connect with your brand and products. Make sure these are expressed in your advertisement so readers know you’re not “just another t-shirt.” 

5. How will I track advertising success? 

We often hear clients say, “I don’t know if this campaign worked for me, so I don’t know if I should try it again.” This is why asking these questions before getting started makes such a big difference. 

Before you start your campaign, ask yourself: how will I know if this is successful? This ties back into your key objectives in this first question. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with some advertising metrics so you know what to evaluate at the end of the campaign.  

If your key objective is more Instagram followers, then it would be a good idea to set up a way to track your Instagram follower growth for the 30 days after your advertisement goes live. If your key objective is conversions, then we’d recommend using a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module or essentially a unique tracking link), or a discount code so you can see where those sales are coming from. 

Remember that not all campaigns can be judged by running one ad and then seeing a giant spike in revenue 30 seconds later. Sometimes, you have to look a little closer at what you’re hoping to achieve and how that will be reflected. 

These questions will help you get a better understanding of what makes your advertising succeed. Play around with your key objectives and your audience, and don’t be afraid to test out different placements. Even when you think you have all the answers, advertising can sometimes be a process of trial and error. Sometimes the publication you didn’t give a second thought to actually ends up producing amazing results, or something as small as a different photo grabs much more attention.