Krista Neher

Dec 20 2022

Digital Advertising Strategy

When running a digital advertising strategy, the key to success is matching your objective, content, and target, then optimizing, which we refer to as OCTO.

Many ad campaigns are not effective because one or more of these elements is poorly defined or executed.


The first step is to clearly define the objective of your ad. Each ad can have only one objective, so you must choose wisely.

The ad objective is what you want the ad to do for you. Compared to traditional advertising, digital advertising is much more specific in its outcomes. Many traditional marketers are used to incorporating multiple objectives into a single ad “We want to build awareness and drive people to the website.” In digital, you have to choose one and optimize for it.

Choosing the right ad objective is important because once that decision has been made, the other parts of the ad will be pre-defined based on it. For example, if your objective is to click, you will pay per click for the ad. The ad will then be delivered to the people who are most likely to click on it.

Each ad network provides slightly different choices for ad objectives and they frequently add new options. As you can see in the example of Facebook ad objectives below, many objectives can be selected, even for a single marketing objective.

Each ad objective may also have different creativity. For example, the creative that you would use to generate clicks would be different than the creative aimed at building awareness.

Building creativity that specifically matches your business objective will give you the best probability of success.


Great content or creativity is critical in digital ads. Businesses sometimes get so lost in the technical elements of running ads that they deprioritize the creative.

Your ad creative/content should be designed to achieve your business objective and be as relevant as possible to your target audience. In addition, you’ll want to incorporate best practices to give your content the best chance possible of standing out.

The biggest thing that you can do for your content is to keep it simple and focused. Most people spend only a fraction of a second on it initially, so clean and compelling visuals or videos with a single message are most likely to drive action.

Here’s a takeaway:

If you want to know if your content is standing out, look at your quality score or relevance score. In as little as 500 impressions, an ad network can tell you if your ad is relevant to the audience that you are sending it.

Digital ad platforms are also set up to allow for automatic testing and optimization of content. For example, you can upload several different creatives, and the ad platform will quickly determine which ad is generating the best results and put the ad budget towards that ad.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have multiple creative variants to maximize your budget for the best-performing ad.


Once your ad objective is selected you can choose your target audience. Many businesses don’t take full advantage of the targeting options available.

To target, define your audience as specifically as possible, and don’t be afraid to create multiple ads aimed at multiple target audiences. You can segment your audience into smaller targets to reach each one effectively.

For example, if I am a restaurant owner and I want to reach people 20–50, I can segment them into groups: 20–30, 30–40, and 40-50 and send different ads to each one. I am still reaching the same broad audience, but by segmenting, each audience can receive an ad that is best tailored to them.

Depending on your business and your objective this may be more effective than trying to reach everyone with the same content.



Optimization is vital to the success of your digital advertising strategy and is one of the things that make digital ads such a powerful marketing tool.

Once you have created and started running your ad, you aren’t locked into anything. You can still make changes to any element of your ad based on how it’s performing. Many businesses do the work upfront to create a great ad, but then let the ad run without checking in on it.

There is a famous saying in marketing – “I know half of my ad spend is wasted, I just don’t know which half.”

Not anymore.

We can know if we take the time.

Even with the best planning and the best creative minds, we don’t always know how something will work until we put it out there. Digital advertising should be regularly optimized and updated based on real-time performance.

When getting started you’ll want to check in regularly, maybe daily, to see how things are performing and make changes. As you gain experience and once you’ve done some initial optimizations you may check-in and optimize weekly.

Big Idea:

If you have an agency executing your digital advertising strategy, ask them what their optimization plan is. Make sure that they are checking your ads regularly and optimizing your budget to maximize your return on investment.

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