January 10, 2023 - By Hawke Media and Jesse McCarl

Your Before-You-Kill-A-Campaign Checklist

Featured, Latest, Paid Media

You’ve done all your keyword research, kept abreast of emerging trends, and reviewed the analytics prior to launch. You have an established digital footprint and a strong online presence across multiple digital marketing channels. This advertising campaign should be driving targeted traffic to your website, but for some unknown reason, it isn’t.

With PPC (pay-per-click) advertising generating twice as much traffic as SEO (search engine optimization), and with that PPC traffic 50% more likely to make a purchase than organic traffic, it behooves you to figure out exactly what’s wrong with your ad campaign.

PPC campaigns work because of the time, money, and effort involved in making them work. So how do you figure out what’s happening when a campaign just isn’t working? More importantly, at what point do you stop a marketing campaign and start over? Here is a ready-made list of things to check before you kill a campaign so you can decide when a marketing campaign is not working.

What to Try Before You Kill a Campaign:

  • A/B testing: Surprisingly, less than 20% of digital marketing teams take the time to perform A/B testing. Don’t make this all-too-common mistake. Test everything on your digital campaign. Test keywords, images, headlines, offers, fonts, and your CTAs (calls to action) on the campaign itself and your landing page.
  • Review Analytics: Yes, you may have to deep-dive and review the analytics ad nauseum, but there is something you missed. Don’t just focus on the obvious. Take your analysis a step further and check your landing page’s traffic, the icons visitors clicked on, your ad’s CTR (click-through rate), your landing page’s conversion rate, your text, and any potential issues where customers stopped their orders.
  • Verify Landing Page: Your landing page and ad’s content must be cohesive. An ad campaign with a high CTR – alongside a landing page with a high bounce rate and low conversion rate – means something is wrong with the landing page’s content, or the content and the ad don’t match.   
  • Improve Your CTAs: This goes together with A/B testing. Be direct, concise, and on-point with your CTAs, and be willing to test different CTAs on your ad and landing page.
  • Review Your Buyer Persona: Understand whom you’re targeting and ensure your chosen keywords align with your buyer persona.
  • Review Your Buyer’s Journey: You may be targeting your buyer persona at the wrong stage of their journey. Outline what portion of the buyer funnel the ad should target and review if that’s happening.
  • Change Targeting Location: If you’re running a geo-fencing/geo-targeting ad campaign and aren’t getting any results, consider widening that geofence. Increasing your targeting location across mobile, search and display campaigns may be what’s needed to improve results. Start small and expand gradually, so you can fully control your budget.   
  • Review Targeting Settings: Ensure your ad’s targeting settings address the proper age, gender, geographical location, and device type used by your audience.
  • Check Negative Keywords: Using negative keywords allows you to eliminate similar-sounding and similar-spelled keywords that may appear in search results but don’t match what you’re selling. Using negative keywords will help to improve your campaign’s performance and help you save money.
  • Double Check Ad and Landing Page Links: It’s always a good idea to ensure all your links are working correctly. Check all links and URL addresses on ads and the links on your landing page.
  • Check Your Competitor’s Ads: Sometimes, the best way to change your PPC campaign is to see how the competition’s ads look and feel. Have they chosen different keywords, better images, or a more exciting and attractive CTA? What can you glean from their advertisement that can help you improve yours?
  • Double-Check Page-Tracking Settings: Ensure your tracking code is correctly placed on your landing page and tracks user behavior after conversion.  
  • Review Keywords: Generating keyword-specific ads and landing page content isn’t an exact science. A minor tweak here and there might just be the magical elixir that improves your campaign’s performance. A good content strategy always helps.
  • Review Ad Text and Use Ad Extensions: Ensure that your ad text is well-written, clear, concise, and enticing to your audience. If everything checks out, consider using ad extensions so that your ad appears larger and provides your audience with more information.   
  • Run a Search Query Report in Google Analytics: A great way to ensure they’re relevant is to run a search query report. You’ll instantly see if your chosen keywords trigger your ad in the search or display network. If specific keywords bring up your ads – but those keywords aren’t your focus – then add those to your negative keywords.
  • Create Local Landing Pages: Often, the best way to improve a PPC campaign’s performance is to personalize it. If you’re targeting a specific geography and using geo-targeting, then consider making your landing pages more in tune with your local audience. It might just be the one thing that improves the campaign’s and landing page’s performance.
  • Ask for Guidance: If you’re completely stuck and have no other recourse, consider reaching out to the platform you’re advertising on. Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Meta (Facebook) can often help when you’ve exhausted all other avenues.
  • Check Your Remarketing Strategy: If you’re running re-targeting or remarketing ads, then double-check all the content, links, and images the way you do your primary ad. If you’re not running a remarketing strategy, then consider enacting one. It will help you target site visitors after they’ve left.
  • Check Each Channel: If you’re running a multi-channel ad campaign, then take a step back and focus on the channels that are producing results. Even if those returns are small, they’re a starting point you can make incremental improvements on.
  • Bring on an Expert: Great marketing minds may not be a master of every individual service. Outsource an expert advisor like those at Hawke Media who are in the platforms and tools all day every day, with a variety of industries, to see if they can find something you missed. 

Get a free consultation from Hawke Media

Use All the Tools at Your Disposal

Google Analytics provides multiple tools to determine precisely what’s working with your ads and what isn’t. Google Trends will help you stay up-to-date with recent news and events. This will help keep your keywords relevant while giving you insight into changing customer preferences.

In several instances, it’s merely a matter of trusting your judgment. If you’ve recently run similar campaigns with fantastic results, then systematically reviewing your campaign will more than likely help you uncover things that need changing.

Digital Advertising and Marketing Audits from Hawke Media

If you’ve exhausted this checklist and are still unable to determine exactly what’s wrong, we can help. Hawk Media is a full-service digital marketing and branding agency with a proactive, tech-savvy, and resourceful team of media marketing experts. 

If you want better insight into when to stop a marketing campaign or would like to have a complete paid media audit from a Hawke Media expert, contact us now.