So you’ve got this great native advertising campaign ready to go. Your content is awesome and you have a killer hook to grab viewers’ attention. It’s engaging. It’s relevant to your audience. It fits with your brand identity like a cat fits in its favorite box. (And hopefully just as viral) And yet, your conversion rates are low and your CPAs aren’t looking very cost-effective. What gives? Well, did you look at your campaign optimization?
Unfortunately, killer content, while essential to native advertising, isn’t enough to guarantee success. Think of it like being an artist. It’s not enough to make great art. Your art needs to get to the right people, at the right time, for you to be known as a great artist. And unlike an artist’s (say, Van Gogh) works, your ad campaign is probably not going to stick around long enough to get popular after your death. You need a properly optimized campaign to see the kind of results you want.
But what does that mean? How do you go about optimizing an ad campaign? Well, in this post we’re going to go over seven optimization strategies you can use to boost your campaign’s performance.
Campaign Optimization Strategies
1) Separate your campaigns by device
Remember that mobile, tablet, and desktop are very different environments. Users will behave differently depending on what device they’re on. Usually, ad platforms won’t let you adjust your CPC bids on anything lower than a campaign level. That means if you adjust the CPC bid for optimal results on desktop, your tablet and mobile bids will also the same. It’s smarter to set up separate campaigns for each device you’re targeting, and adjust each separate CPC bid as needed.
2) Take the time to set up blacklists/whitelists
If your native ad network allows it, consider setting up a blacklist and/or a whitelist in order to refine your campaign’s reach and presence. While programmatic advertising is a highly efficient way to get your ad campaign rolling, it carries the risk of squandering your views/clicks on the wrong kind of audience. But blacklists and whitelists can help solve that problem.
A blacklist, in this context, is a list of traffic source IDs you don’t want to receive traffic from. In contrast, a whitelist is set up when you want your traffic to come exclusively from a very specific set of traffic source IDs. While you receive less traffic with blacklists and whitelists, it will be of considerably higher value.
Remember that the whole point of native advertising is that relevant ads are more effective. Well, how relevant is an ad that doesn’t apply to a viewer’s locality? An ad for an absolutely awesome winter jacket won’t see great traction in the tropics.
Use geo-targeting to make sure your ads are deployed where they are most relevant. One study showed that 67% of smartphone users want the ads displayed to them customised to their area. Geo-targeting allows you to run different campaigns in different locations, and vary your marketing message according to the area that you target.
Geo-targeting at the country level is already valuable. But today’s technology can allow your native ad geo-targeting to be as fine-grained as the state or DMA (Designated Market Area) level. A New Yorker is much more likely to pay attention to an ad tailored to New Yorkers than if it was for an international audience, or even just for Americans in general.
4) Use multiple ad networks
As the native ad space matures, the different ad networks have developed their own unique value propositions. Some of them have exclusive partnerships with premium publishers. Some of them have advanced targeting metrics and/or advanced analytics. Some of them can offer more cost-effective CPCs or CPVs, being smaller networks. You should place your ads on multiple networks instead of sticking to one. Aggregators like Native Ad’s Titan platform streamline the process of placing on multiple networks.
5) A/B Test Your Ad Unit Creatives
Knowing how your creatives are performing is key to campaign optimization. A/B test various title/image combinations to check which do well, and which should be shut off. You can even use something like Titan’s bulk uploader feature to generate multiple ads by mix-matching headlines and images. Maybe Headline A and Image B suck, but Headline A and Image A do well together. Maybe Headline B and Image B do best of all. By disabling the others, only your best-performing ads get shown on publisher sites.
There’s a reason dayparting – that is, scheduling your ads to run at certain times of the day, or certain days of the week – has been essential to the marketer since the advent of broadcast programming. That’s because it’s always been understood that different audiences tune in (or, in our case, are browsing) at different times. And it’s just as essential to campaign optimization now as it ever was.
Dayparting can work for you in two different ways. First is cost-wise. You can either choose to run your ads at a busier time of day, which brings you more traffic, or schedule them at a less busy time, which brings you the same level of traffic at a lower bid. For example, by 4PM PST/7PM EST, about 1/3 of campaigns are done for the day.
You could also arrange your dayparting according to the specific needs of your campaign. For example, if you target college students, you should schedule your ads outside class hours. If you target stay-at-home parents, go for a daytime schedule. If you’re marketing a leisure product, you might run the ads during the weekends or after work hours. Good analytics will help you narrow down the best times for your ads to run.
7) Automate your optimization
Opt for automated campaign optimization when you can get it. For example, on the Titan platform you can set your campaigns up so underperforming ads are automatically turned off. This saves you from having to go through your campaigns and do this by hand, or from having to comb through your analytics to figure out which ads to disable. And with this task taken out of your to-do list, you’re free to focus on other things – like coming up with more great content for future campaigns.
Do you have any favorite campaign optimization tips of your own? Drop us a line to share!