Seven reasons why your digital marketing campaign may fail.

February 12, 2020

Quite often we place all our hopes on digital marketing campaigns but sometimes, they just don’t work out the way we want them to. And pretty often the exact reasons for this aren’t obvious. Today I want to share my list of why I think your digital campaign may fail. The list does not claim to be a one-size-fits-all model but nevertheless, I’m sure it can be useful for marketers with different levels of experience.

1. You don’t have a clear goal

It may seem obvious that the goal of your campaign should be the first thing to discuss when planning marketing activities, but marketers tend to forget about it with surprising frequency. And there are plenty of ways to forget about a goal. The simplest of them is to not to think about the goal at all. And as strange as it sounds, the planning of different campaigns often starts with discussions about what can be done but not about what should be achieved.

One more way to fall short when it comes to goals is by trying to achieve multiple goals at once. The situation can become even worse if these goals are mutually exclusive like banner impressions and sales.

Another problem is if your digital marketing goals appear out of nowhere, all by themselves without a relationship to higher-level business or marketing goals. This could also indicate confusion between different company departments and poor communication between the marketing department and the organization as a whole.

How to avoid: always clearly define a digital marketing campaign’s goal. It should be easily accessible for all stakeholders, and it should be consistent with general higher-level marketing and business goals.

2. You try to reach different audiences at once

It is human nature to try to please everybody but it is a bad idea to target everyone with the same campaign until your product can be used by a very broad audience (and in the vast majority of cases it can’t). An attempt to reach everyone is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut – eventually, your message will be seen by an irrelevant audience and possibly missed by the relevant one. And this, in turn, can lead to a significant and unnecessary overspend.

How to avoid: after defining a goal clearly define your target audience (or audiences). If you are planning to reuse the same campaign for different audiences, please note that it will require edits (on the landing page, in creatives and targeting). The costs of creating more narrow landing pages and creatives are often overestimated, especially if you compare these costs with the losses associated with poorly targeted campaigns.

3. You don’t measure the results properly

Measurement is a crucial part of almost any digital marketing campaign. But proper measurement isn’t easy and there are several ways it could fail. For example, sometimes marketers totally forget to define a single and clear target metric and remember about it only after the campaign has gone live. Similar problems can appear if the target metrics were discussed and planned but weren’t implemented, e.g., the event tracking in the web analytics system was never configured. Measuring a campaign’s goal with the wrong metric is another mistake to avoid, for example, when brand awareness is measured with performance metrics.

How to avoid: always define a target metric when planning a campaign. Check if campaign measurements are configured beforehand – there are many cases when data are not sent to the web analytics system automatically. Your target metrics should be connected with higher-level objectives.

4. You don’t care about the landing page

Unsuitable landing pages are a common factor that contributes to campaign failure. Using a homepage as a landing page is a classic example here. The problem is that the homepage quite often contains a lot of unnecessary links, which makes it hard for users to convert. At the opposite extreme is the usage of very short landing pages which don’t contain enough information and simply show a CTA as frequently as possible.

How to avoid: your landing page should be well balanced and consistent with a global goal. It should provide users with all the necessary information. If it’s a case that you can’t understand which information is actually required, start with A/B tests of different page variations and, in doing so, focus on testing one element at a time.

5. You send the wrong message with poorly produced creatives

High-quality and relevant creatives are an entry point for a campaign. Don’t neglect creatives in terms of time and resources. Your images should be clear and understandable, texts should be concise and your message should be unequivocal. Creatives mustn’t lose their quality when displayed on both desktop and mobile devices. Lack of attention to creatives can lead to excessive spending and negative feedback about a campaign from your audience, which can nullify all marketing efforts.

How to avoid: pay a lot of attention to creatives, they are a crucial component of a successful campaign. Make them clear and concise. Check beforehand how your creatives will look on different devices. There are various requirements for creatives on different platforms, but it is vital to keep key messages consistent across all placements.

6. You don’t try to optimize after some time

Modern digital marketing tools and platforms provide a large number of opportunities to optimize campaigns on the fly and to make changes quickly. But if you want to make these changes, you should keep an eye on the campaign and not postpone the first results check. Large amounts of data are available in real time, and some automated recommendations are available within a few hours, but you need to watch your campaign carefully to know when to implement them.

How to avoid: make a habit of creating campaign reports on a regular basis. Major metrics checks won’t take much, but it can be of huge benefit if done on time. Automatic and custom reports can help too.

7. You don’t learn by mistakes and don’t make conclusions

It seems like an explanation of this point is not necessary. Everyone makes mistakes but it is doubly unfortunate to not learn from them and to continue to make the same mistakes again. Top-level professionals distinguish themselves from others by their ability to succeed despite making mistakes.

How to avoid: take some time to look back and analyze past campaigns (even if they went well). It is always useful to slow down a little bit and check what worked and why, what didn’t work and why. Such retrospective analysis won’t take too long but will have long-term advantages. It is also important to share the results with all interested parties.

If you have something to add to this list, please share it in the comments. Thanks for your interest!