Digital Advertising

4 Steps to Building a Successful Digital Advertising Strategy

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4 steps to strategic digital ads

Krista Neher

Feb 18 2021

Digital Advertising Strategy Objective Content Targeting Optimization

Digital advertising is growing dramatically and already represents over 50% of marketing budgets. Digital ads are growing because of their agility, targeting power, content optimization and ability to drive action.

Making the most out of digital ads is different vs. traditional. In traditional advertising a campaign is planned and then launched. In digital the campaign is always evolving and transforming.

While budgets are shifting to digital, many businesses aren’t optimizing their digital ads to get the most out of them. To truly harness the power fo digital advertising, the ads should focus on 4 things: The objectives, content, targeting and optimization.

Digital Ad Objectives

The starting point is clearly defining your ad objectives. In traditional marketing most businesses are buying the same media regardless of the objective.

Digital ads are built on AI and machine learning. This means that every part of the ad delivery can be optimized based on your objective.

The first step in creating a digital ad is setting the objective. There are a variety of objectives that are different on each ad platform.

While many businesses start with “awareness” or “consideration” on digital you need to drive even deeper to identify your real objective. Consider exactly what you want to achieve and choose the right objective. For example within awareness do you want brand awareness or reach? If you’d like to grow sales do you need conversions or catalog sales?

If you have an agency that you work with, it is important to be sure you’ve given the agency enough information to correctly identify the objective.

Facebook digital ad objectives

Determine Your Ad Content

Digital content isn’t just about creating images or videos that are the right size for digital. It is about taking advantage of the specific benefits of digital and optimizing your content.

To make the most of your digital content, you should focus on:

  1. Digital first creative – Your creative concepts should be optimized to grab attention on digital. You need messages that work in the medium.
  2. Build content for the audience you are targeting – In digital you can build multiple creatives all optimized for the audiences you are reaching.
  3. Optimize content for digital – Digital requires specific content optimizations to break through the noise. Optimize your content specifically to work in digital.
  4. Test content – In digital you can test different messages and creative to see what works best. Build creative testing into your plan.
  5. Drive action – Digital allows for action beyond awareness or consumption of the content. Consider how you can encourage users to take the next step.

Target Smartly and Specifically

Digital ads allow for more specific targeting vs. any other channel. Depending on the ad channel you can specifically target exactly who you want to reach.

Focus on reaching the exact right audience by taking full advantage of digital targeting.

Some of the targeting available in digital includes:

  • Behaviour
  • Interest
  • Keywords people search for
  • Publications they read
  • Content topics
  • Demographics
  • Job titles
  • Videos they watch
  • And much more

Many  businesses and even large brands continue to build ads with generic targeting and fail to fully take advantage of digital.

If you don’t know the exact audience and how to reach them, you can also test different audiences.


Optimization is one of the most powerful aspect of digital advertising. Once an ad starts running the real work starts. Adjustments and improvements are an expected part of the process.

Every aspect of an ad can be optimized and improved upon over time including:

  • Creative
  • Audience
  • Messaging
  • Images
  • Placements
  • Formats
  • Budget
  • Objective

Every aspect of an ad can be optimized to improve performance over time. Smart advertisers are tweaking and improving the aspects of their ad delivery to grow their results.

Ready to grow your digital ads success? Check out our Digital Advertising Training course.

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