3 Costly Mistakes People Make When Running Ads


Brad Ayres

Owner of Bears Digital Marketing

Hi, I’m Brad Ayres, Founder or Pack Leader of Bears Digital Marketing! I started Bears for two reasons.

A. I’m a massive marketing and advertising nerd

B. I love the challenge helping grow small business through kick-ass strategy rather than big-ass budgets

Having worked in digital agencies and teams for years, I understand just how valuable every single advertising dollar is. So, it’s crucial to ensure that if you’re investing money into paid ads, you need to be doing it right. And with that, here are the 3 most costly mistakes I see when people are running paid ads online!

1. No Conversion Tracking 

There’s a famous saying in the advertising world - ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’. In the days of traditional advertising, this was accepted. When you’re putting out newspaper ads, TV commercials and brochures, it’s impossible to know the exact impact of each message. How times have change! One of the biggest advantages to digital advertising is the ability to track just about every single aspect when it comes to reach, effectiveness and, of course, revenue. 

The best thing about it is setting up this tracking is completely free. This includes your Facebook Pixel, Google Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics, depending on what advertising you’re doing. At Bears Digital Marketing, we never run any advertising without tracking in place. Why? Because tracking performance is the single quickest way to reduce your wasted spend and increase profits. 

We call it Conversion Tracking and if you aren’t using it, START NOW! Seriously, go away, set it up, then comeback and finish reading the rest of these tips later.

2. Not A/B Testing 

If you’re like me the toughest struggles of writing great ads is picking the best one! When you’re passionate and knowledgeable about a product or service, coming up with ideas is the easy part. Figuring out exactly what entices your customers most takes more than just passion, it takes skill... and this valuable little trick. 

In the good ol’ days, you just had to trust your gut and hope you made the right call. But now? Using A/B (or Split) Testing, we can let the system and data tell us EXACTLY which ads lure in customers and drive more business. For those who are unfamiliar, A/B Testing can be done through every digital advertising channel and simply runs two or more ad variations side-by-side and lets the numbers prove a winner. Simple but effective is an understatement.

The closest thing to A/B Testing with traditional advertising is putting two different billboards on opposite sides of the road and watch which way people turn their heads to find out what’s working better. Thank god the good ol’ days are just that.

3. Lack of Strategy 

This one’s a bit harder to implement but without a solid strategy all the other tricks are going to have limited impact. So, what do I mean by lack of strategy? Well, my good friend, Google defines strategy as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. I describe it as knowing what you want to achieve and knowing what to do to make it happen! 

Now that we’ve gotten the vocabulary lessons out of the way, let’s go over what this looks like. If you’re just randomly running an ad here and there, under-committing on budget because you’re afraid of spending too much or (please don’t tell me) just boosting posts on Facebook, you might have a real lack of strategy

You need to look at your digital advertising as a holistic approach rather than a collection of ads with separate objectives. A successful strategy is designed to grab the attention of new customers, nurture them down the purchase funnel and turn them into a loyal customer. Depending on your business this can require several touch points across digital channels all communicating a consistent message.

I know it can be tough to commit to a larger vision but find a strategy that works and trust the system.  

One More For The Road

I’ve kept this one off the list as it’s a more of a mindset but the single biggest mistake I see are business owners who consider advertising as a cost. When done right paid advertising is purely there to drive revenue and should be treated as such.

A great man once said (might have been me), ‘Advertising is like a bowl of Nutri-Grain; you only get out what you put in’. Do with that what you will but Nutri-Grain paid to get that message out there and now it’s stuck in my head. 

Now this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty of other mistakes, and opportunities, to help turn your costly ads into lucrative sales. Give them a try and if you’re ready to take it up a notch, Bears Digital Marketing is here.

Claire McKeen