How To Plan a Digital Advertising Campaign


The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed many shoppers to make their purchases online. In a noticeably short period of time, COVID has drastically changed the way we do business. The adoption of digital technology has been accelerated by several years. This ultimately forced businesses to rely on digital tools for various marketing tasks including raising awareness about products/services, customer acquisition, and including but not limited to building communities online. To stay competitive in this new environment, businesses can benefit from the benefits of Digital Advertising. According to Wordstream, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. With such potential to grow your revenue, it would be more than beneficial for your business to grab the opportunity presented to reach out more potential customers spending more time online.      


Understanding your target audience is the first step in planning for your paid media campaign. We have all been bothered by adverts that did resonate with us as potential buyers in our day-to-day lives. Could be an ad for weight loss whilst you are a bodybuilder, a Sale on cricket tickets whilst you are a pure soccer fan, or a sale in meat product whilst you are a vegetarian.      

Consumers face many advertisements per day due to the large volume of companies advertising online and short attention spans. At this point we want your audience to understand why your company is unique or why is your company offering a unique solution to solve their specific problem at that time. You want to convey what makes your brand sellable. This could be the quality of your products, durability, flexibility, free shipping, discounts, etc.

Here we are looking to answer the following questions:

·      What differentiates our brand from competition in the marketplace?

·      What are the unique selling points, core values that will get people to buy from your company and not your competition?  

·      Do these reasons relate to your target customers? (here we are looking at your audience behavior, interest). 

At this stage, it is about going deeper than just demographics. Here is a tool by HubSpot that might help you create a persona. (Make My persona by HubSpot). Amazingly simple and effective for this task. 

·      Where do they spend time online? what do they enjoy reading? their preferred social media website, type of language they use. Like or dislike

·      Where and how to effectively grab the attention of your audience and establish trust and value relationships.

TIP: It is beneficial to interview your existing customers to help you better understand how you can best solve their problems.    



As a business owner/marketer you will need to specify what are the company goals and how paid media will help you achieve this. Long-term profit maximization is the essence of every business goal. Here we need to evaluate how marketing helps us achieve our goals in relationship with other departments.

Within our marketing plan, we need to define what our customers value the most and how the paid media will help achieve that goal. For example, Investment products may need acquisition ads, whereas milk depends on brand recognition which means we need more brand awareness than lead generation.

At this stage we will ask the following type of questions:

Does our product require more brand awareness? more education before buying? what do customers value most when buying this type of product? What does our target audience value the most?


Every digital campaign needs a budget. Your first step here is to know how much you are willing to spend in this campaign to prioritize what are the channels and types of ads you would like to run. We need to define what are the areas of opportunity based on data collected in our industry whilst keeping these two criteria in mind:

1.The highest level of efficiency

2. The ability to increase the volume of the investment.

There is no one size fits all business budget. Those who need to get started, need to assess how much cash available and how much profits are we currently getting? What can you do in the most comfortable way?

To re-evaluate the existing budget:

–         Take the existing budget and experiment with different opportunities.

–         Monitor and collect results and optimize the campaign and define the average ROI.

–         Use the data to analyses areas of improvement for your next campaign.

For beginners, HubSpot Academy recommends the following method to split your advertisement budget.

  • 70% Conduct activities that drive the main KPIs.  
  • 20% Trying new channels like previous performance.
  • 10% In risk-taking activities that might drastically change your future performance.    


We have a choice between manual bidding and automated (smart) bidding when using Google Ads, Facebook marketing, and many other remarkably similar platforms. Manual bidding lets you define your maximum cost per click for your ads whereas automated bidding uses machine learning to choose the cost per click that optimizes the results of your ads based on your campaign goals.

For beginners, it is advisable to conduct your own research of your industry and use manual bidding until you gain a better understanding of the platform that you are using. As you understand the platform better, automated bidding will help you get better results since you now understand most of the variables that help defines the quality of your bidding.        

Automated bidding provides us with an opportunity to choose types based on our business goals. The following are to be considered :

  1. Target CPA (cost per acquisition): based on how much we want to spend per acquisition.
  2. Target ROAS (return on Ads spent): based How much return on ads spent.
  3. Maximize conversions: The greatest number of conversions possible.

Although you hand over control of your bidding to the platform, there is an option to cap your budget. From experience, we must be willing to allow the platform to learn and understand what the most efficient way would be to get desired results. Please remember all the bidding strategies employed take time to work as they should. They might take up to 4 weeks to see desired and reliable results.            


This is about making changes on a regular basis to improve the performance of your ads based on the KPI set. Monitor the budget to ensure that you are not spending too much or too little. For starters, we need to avoid optimizing too many factors at once. Changing one factor at once helps us remember what action had an impact on our campaign.

There are three categories to consider:

a.      Bids: How much we are willing to pay for a particular keyword, user, or for different times of the day or the week?

b.     Audiences: whom are we targeting? should we narrow it down to finetune? Learning from the current audience to grow further and reach new audiences.

c.      Creative: what message are we send to our audiences. (pictures, texts,videos,etc)

We should avoid changing too many parameters at once. We must test and learn what is working for our business. These insights gained from ads can be used beyond the campaign to improve our product offering or service to better serve our customers. The marketplace is dynamic, the change in any one variable can impact all the other variables going into your conversion channels which might hurt your sales volume In the long run. For example, when a new competitor joins the exact marketplace that you are currently benefiting from and starts to bet aggressively.            



Hubspot, Inc (2021). Make my persona.

Brad Smith, WordStream ( 2020, 17 July). 31 Advertising Statistics to Know in 2018.

Lucide Ingele

Lucide Ingele

Marketing Director

A Global Executive MBA candidate at Hult International Business School focused on creating value for business leaders through passion & expertise in Strategy and Marketing.

I am a Director at Ndolena Design, a full-service digital marketing company with offices in Johannesburg and Kinshasa, offering website design services, developing, and implementing SEO, Pay-Per-Click, and Social Media Marketing strategies for businesses.