superHUMAN Blog

How to plan the length of your digital advertising campaign?

  1. Aim of the campaign
  2. Budget and channels to be used.
  3. Where are we leading and for what purpose? What do we want users to do?
  4. How long is the user path and what action does it end with?
  5. Do we have a base of users that we will target or will we build our audiences from scratch? How long will it take us?

Whether you’re in the position of a client or an agency, certainly when planning a campaign more than once you have faced the question “How long to last?”. The answer to this question is not easy and depends on many different factors. In the following lines we will try to structure the more important points that we consider being key in making this decision and hope you find them helpful. By taking into notice4 that we have considered planning in the case of performance-oriented campaigns, and not so much campaigns supporting large-scale TV or offline communication.

  1. We start with the goal

Before undertaking any planning, it is important to define the purpose of the campaign very clearly. What do we want to achieve – whether it’s pure positioning or creating brand awareness, sales, collecting user feedback, signing up for an e-mail newsletter, participating in a game, etc. Why is it important? – the complexity of the mechanics will give us a good indication of the timeframe we would achieve our goal using the relevant digital channels and a given advertising budget.

Having mentioned  budget, we naturally move on to the next factor on which planning inevitably depends.

In relation to the size of the budget and its optimal allocation on a daily basis, we can easily calculate in what time period the campaign would achieve good effectiveness – i.e. there would be a good saturation of communication and would cover a sufficient volume of audience with which to continue the interaction at the next stage. With a larger budget, the media mix can include more channels that complement each other or alternate for a longer period of time. With a tighter budget, it’s a good idea to first plan the channels that will ensure we achieve our goals in an optimal timeframe.

  1. Where are we taking consumers and why? What do we want from them?

Imagine you want consumers to buy your product, but you don’t have a real e-commerce site. You work with affiliate sites, but the path from site entry to order completion is so long that almost no one buys. Or do you want to introduce your new product that’s already in the mass market, but all you have is an outdated corporate website? This again is not good.

It is up to the company’s digital assets what approach will be applied so that the set goals are achieved. What the user sees on the site, how he will interact with it, what actions he can perform and whether there will be a subsequent interaction – all this determines how to develop a campaign. If our goal is only to get the user to the site and let them know that there is a new product, they will probably need no more than one visit to inform themselves. If we don’t have something to engage him with at step two, then in all likelihood we won’t have a remarketing we can use to continue our communication with him. I.e. we will need a shorter time to achieve our goal, which is to announce that we have a new product. This was an example of a very short user path, but how do we approach if this is not the case?

  1. User trail

The length of the user path, along with several other factors listed above, is determinant of the length of a campaign. It would be very difficult in, say, four weeks, to take a sufficient number of users through all the steps of a more complex mechanic so that they reach the end goal, especially for higher priced technology products or cars. Imagine the following path:

  • Step 1: Introduce the user to the topic /product, service, game we are making/ and familiarize them with the basic information.
  • Step 2: If they haven’t taken any action but have left a digital signal that they are interested, we bring them back to the site via remarketing communication to tell them more about the benefits of the product and what people who have already bought it are saying. This is the so-called Early value predictor – you can find presentations on this topic in our Slideshare
  • Step 3: Again there is interaction, but no follow-up. We remarket the user with a discount code or other special offer.
  • Step 4: The user adds the product to their cart but gives up at the last step. We had to bring it back, reminding him to complete his order via a remarketing banner or e-mail.
  • Step 5: We are successful!

With a good setup of tools and digital assets, such a scenario can also unfold relatively quickly, especially if we are talking about an online store with extensive experience. But for a startup, the process can take longer, especially if we launch the campaign without any ready-made audiences to leverage.

  1. Target audience

Here we’ll talk about audiences. Once we’ve determined the profile of the people we want to reach, we need to see if we have those people in our remarketing databases (if we already have remarketing lists created) or if we need to create them from scratch. In case we start with interest-based targeting, demographics, location and similar criteria, it will take more time to gather information about the behavior of these groups of people – which ones are most interested, which ones we should exclude from the communication due to worse results and which ones we should continue with to the next step.

In order to build up a large enough base to analyse, it takes time and a corresponding investment in the channels that will bring us this data. With a more limited daily budget, the time to build up such a base would increase, and with it the overall length of the campaign. Because, without the foundation, we can’t move on to the rest of the steps in the user path. Conversely, having a ready-made base to start with, and to supplement later, would shorten the time to achieve goals.

These are some of the factors we most often consider in our practice. Of course, they are not the only ones, and each campaign is different with its specifics, but they would give a good basis for thinking and building media planning. And how do you plan your digital activities?

You can find detailed how to plan the frequency of reaching users according to Facebook, as well as our specific experience in our video from the presentation of Zhoro and Lenko from the second F5 conference

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