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A Small Business Guide to Determining Advertisement Effectiveness

Team of business professionals in the office brainstorming about effective product advertising.

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for marketers to track advertising in general, whether native, regular display, or other types. It seems like marketing attribution is only going to get trickier, with the advent of the so-called “cookieless future.”

The thing is, you need to know how your campaigns are performing. After all, you don’t want to keep throwing resources into marketing efforts that aren’t going anywhere. The bottom line? It’s important to figure out whether your advertising is really effective — and if so, how effective.

Of course, the best metric for marketing success is a conversion: a prospect becomes a lead, and a lead becomes a paying customer. That’s the ultimate goal, but you won’t always see the results from your campaign that clearly. That being said, you can look at some signals which will give you a good idea of how well things are going.

Here are 3 key steps you can take to determine how effective your advertising really is:

1. Set a Baseline

This is the first, most fundamental step you can take. Your baseline is the attributed value of everything outside of your upcoming (or current) campaign. In other words, your baseline is the amount of business you would have received anyway, without any additional marketing. 

Establishing an accurate baseline can be tough, and it requires a lot of forethought and analysis. However, it is not an impossibility. Here are some areas you may want to look at when developing your baseline:

  • The volume of traffic coming to your website and/or the volume of traffic coming to a specific page on your site.
  • The number of impressions that you’re winning from your paid keywords.
  • Your average call volume over the past several months (or your overall call volume).
  • The number of unique newsletter signups you’ve gained over the past several months.
  • The number of “contact us” clicks you’ve earned.
  • Any other signs that may indicate the emergence of a new quality customer.

Once you’ve established your baseline, you’ll be able to detect any significant variance from the norm. You’ll likely be able to attribute most (if not all) of these variances to your new marketing campaign. 

Woman at home using a tablet device while looking at different product advertisements on the internet.

2. Use Unique Markers

Once you deploy your campaign, you may see some big spikes in your site traffic, call volume, clicks, and subscriptions. And that’s good! It’s what you want to see.

However, the question remains: How can you be sure these increases are the direct result of your campaign? One of the best ways to find out is to use unique markers along with your marketing material. 

For example, you can use promotional codes to track which conversions should be attributed to a specific campaign. Once the lead inputs the code (whether it’s a code for a discount or a unique sign-in code), you’ll be able to establish a clear link between that code and the originating campaign. Easy, right?

Another possibility is the use of unique landing pages. Instead of having a prospect click through to your site’s home page, you can direct them to a landing page that’s been specially designed for the campaign. From there, they can either proceed to your main site, fill out a form, or (in some cases) even make a purchase! If you go this route, make sure to use analytics best practices when you set up your landing pages.

If your company has the bandwidth for it, you can also use unique phone numbers as part of your tracking strategy. This one’s a cinch when it comes to tracking your campaign’s performance. After all, the only people calling the number should be people that engaged with your campaign!

3. Leverage Surveys

Of course, some results will inevitably slip through the cracks of your attribution machine. For instance, a consumer may see one of your ads on a Tuesday but decide to search for your company that Friday. The initial touchpoint was part of your campaign, but there would be no way to determine that when the consumer actually reaches out.

Hmm… or would there be a way?

Actually, your best option may simply be to ask your consumer. This is where surveys come into the picture. You don’t have to make your survey long and drawn-out or add a lot of friction to the customer journey. Just ask each converted customer where they first heard about you. Make it a multiple-choice question, if that’s easier for them. It will only take a second or two for them to answer — but you’ll get some valuable data as to which campaign helped move them down the funnel.

Of course, not all customers will respond to the survey — and some won’t respond accurately. But once you have that framework in place, you’ll be able to attribute at least a few of those conversions to the right campaign. In turn, those additional data points will give you an even more accurate picture of how your campaign is performing. 

Be Patient

Here’s one more tip for you determining your advertising’s effectiveness: be patient. Don’t expect stellar results overnight. Experience has shown that, on average, a person has to see an ad 7 times before they eventually make a purchase. If you jump the gun and give up on a campaign prematurely, then you may end it right when it’s “hitting its stride,” so to speak.

Of course, we’ve only covered a few of the basics around campaign tracking and attribution. There’s a lot of planning, technical skill, and maintenance involved in successfully executing a marketing initiative. But if you stick to the 3 steps outlined above, you’ll find that measuring your advertising campaign is easier than ever before.

And if you need any help with performance tracking or the development and execution of a new campaign in general, reach out to our team of experts at AdCritter today to start the conversation. We’d be happy to assist.

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