4 Steps to a Solid Digital Advertising Plan

Learn what key steps digital marketing agencies use to build and develop your digital advertising strategy

Every growing business uses advertising to drive demand. With digital advertising, you have the flexibility to create many campaigns and leverage many channels to create an optimal mix in order to build awareness, create engagement or drive leads.

This flexibility can quickly produce hundreds of options which makes it hard to plan and manage campaigns effectively. Instead of a data-driven approach, it’s often easier to ignore the data and simply guess at the best advertising budget allocation.

The following steps can make it easier for you to create an effective digital advertising plan by leveraging the data you have and putting it into a format that makes it easier to make decisions.

  1. Audit Prior Results
  2. Research Alternatives
  3. Build a Model
  4. Create Plan vs. Actual Reports

We know this works because these are the steps we take with clients every day.  Nowspeed’s In the Zone digital advertising methodology is designed to create efficient and effective advertising campaigns using the best tools available today. By learning from the past, understanding what is possible, creating solid plans, and tracking actual results against the plan, our digital advertising agency services help organizations generate the best results possible with their digital advertising campaigns. As a digital advertising marketing agency, we utilize our ‘In the Zone’ methodology to develop a strategy that works best for your business using the best tools available.

digital advertising in the zone chart


Advertising Audit

When building a digital advertising plan, it is critical to understand how digital advertising has been used within your organization and the results that were archived in the past. A good understanding of prior ad campaigns will enable you to create campaigns with a better chance of success and keep you from repeating mistakes.

The first step is to do an in-depth digital advertising audit that examines the strategic decisions, channel level execution, and key performance indicators from previous campaigns to create a plan to improve results in the future.   Since new plans are not just a function of extending old plans, you should combine your experience from prior campaigns with innovative thinking and a deep understanding of what is possible through various digital channels to create forward-looking plans.

The three phases of a digital advertising audit are:  Strategy, Channels, and Key Performance Indicators.

In the strategy phase, you should examine the following elements to get a firm understanding of the underlying assumptions and goals behind the campaigns.

  • Campaign Goals
  • Target Personas
  • Competitors
  • Content
  • Website Quality
  • Product Lines
  • Geo Targets
  • Software Platforms

Once you have a good understanding of the strategy, you can take a deeper dive deep into the qualitative and technical aspects of prior campaigns. For each channel, you should review:

  • Campaigns
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Keywords
  • Ad Copy & Ad Formats
  • Ad Extensions
  • Ad Scheduling
  • Offers
  • Landing Page
  • Location Targeting
  • Network Targeting
  • Audience Targeting

In the final phase of the audit, you can review Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of prior campaigns to gather the data needed to build a plan for the future.  The KPI data you will need to extract will include:

  • Budget by Channel
  • Engagement Rate
  • Cost Per Impression/View/Click/Engagement/Follower
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost per Conversion
  • Cost per Opportunity
  • Cost per Sale


Advertising: What’s Possible

Your advertising plan should not just be an extension of the past since there are many new and innovative ways to leverage your media budget to drive results.  For example, if you have a successful Google search advertising campaign, you may also be able to drive good results from Google remarketing or LinkedIn advertising.

The channels you may explore could include:

  • Google Search
  • Google Display
  • Google Remarketing
  • Mobile Ads
  • Microsoft (Bing) Ads
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Content Syndication
  • ABM
  • Email

Advertising Planning

Once you have a good understanding of the past, and a good understanding of what is possible, you can build a successful advertising plan. Start with your total budget and goals, and then allocate your budget across various channels and offers to create an optimal plan.  For channels with good historical data, you can forecast the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions each channel will achieve as well as the overall results for the campaigns.

With an advertising model in place, you can build out a plan that will account for changes in the budget or the advertising mix over time. Nowspeed uses a proprietary In the Zone planner that is a powerful campaign planning tool that ensures you spend your advertising budget most effectively.

digital advertising campaign budget planning excel sheet


Campaign Results and Dashboards.

As you execute your marketing campaigns, be careful to collect and present all of the important KPIs in a set of dashboards that can provide a consolidated view of your advertising campaign results. Extensive data should be compiled for each channel and campaign, which will allow you to understand the effectiveness of each element and adjust budgets based on the results.  The dashboards can also calculate plan vs. actual campaign information to inform adjustments to future campaigns.

data studio adwords reporting




This four-step approach to creating an effective digital advertising campaign plan should help you create more effective advertising programs that use your funds more effectively to drive results.

Nowspeed’s Digital Advertising In the Zone methodology helps organizations feel confident that they are investing advertising dollars as effectively as possible and driving the best results possible. Please request a free consultation if you’d like to learn more about our methodology or our digital advertising agency services.



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