3 Reasons Your Last Digital Campaign Totally Failed



Creative is on point. Ads have been trafficked. The campaign is live. “Here come the leads,” you say. One month later, it’s bombing. Big time. You aren’t seeing a fraction of the clicks and sign-ups you expected.

Your ads are being seen, so why aren’t people engaging with them?

Chances are, it all went wrong long before you even got to the creative part. See, there are three really important things you need to do before you start a digital campaign.

  1. Establish your target demo
  2. Identify the type of campaign
  3. Set goals to measure success 

They might seem minor, but these details determine whether a campaign succeeds or flops. Let’s break them down.


If you don’t know who your campaign is targeted to, you can’t possibly expect it to be successful. (PSA: Now’s the perfect time to brush up on strategic planning.) Your target demo influences all of the decisions you make going forward – from messaging and creative to advertising channels.

If video killed the radio star, then the internet at the very least changed the marketing campaign. Gone are the days of selecting a radio station because your target demo falls in the range of “someone who listens to radio.” Or picking Vogue magazine because its primary readership is female. 

Internet users are willing to share an obscene amount of personal details online. Platforms like Google Display Network, and channels like Facebook and Pandora, tap into this data, which gives you the ability to target incredibly specific demos. Digital advertising has moved from getting your ad in front of anyone, to getting your ad in front of the right user at exactly the right stage of the buyer’s journey.

Want to have your ad seen by women, 25-35, interested in outdoor activities, who live within 20 miles of a specific zip code? OK. We can do that.

Have an email list? Using Customer Match, we can find new leads based on the habits and interests of your current clients.


There are two types of digital campaigns (hooray, simplicity!):

  1. Branding/Awareness : you want a consumer to know a brand or product exists
  2. Direct Response : you want a consumer to take a specific action, like sign up for an email, call or request a quote

Outside of choosing your target demo, this is the most important decision to make. So pick one. It really is that simple. 

I can hear it now. “Well we’d really like to do an awareness campaign, but we want to collect email sign-ups…” But stop right there.

In rare cases a digital campaign can have a secondary goal. But by identifying a primary goal and sticking to it, you’ll ensure the messaging is clear and you can accurately measure success. Speaking of…


Once you’ve chosen the type of campaign you’re going to run, you can establish goals or benchmarks to measure success. These goals will be different for awareness than for direct response, which is why you have to pick one.

Here’s how goals differ by campaign type:



  • Impressions
  • Engagement (with the ad or landing page)
  • CPM (cost per thousand impressions) |

Direct Response:

  • Conversions (form submissions, calls, clicks, literally anything)
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion |

Knowing the difference between awareness and direct response, and how to set goals based on these differences, will help you better gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. And because digital is more fluid than traditional media outlets, you can react to campaign inefficiencies and make adjustments mid-campaign to prevent wasted spending.


Do other factors play into a digital campaign’s success? Of course, but some of them may be outside your control. For example, media spend, share of voice and campaign timing.

That said, by defining a target audience and understanding a campaign’s one (and only) purpose, you’ll create highly focused and measurable creative that delivers ROI. And, you’ll spare yourself the shame of telling your boss why your digital campaign totally flopped.

If this all sounds like too much, you could always contact us.