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It’s projected that digital advertising expenditures in the United States will increase by more than a 100 percent between 2019 and 2024. During this period, U.S. digital ad spend will grow from 132.46 to 278.53 billion dollars. It’s clear that digital advertising continues to be a driving force for business marketing, and if your business or agency invests in digital advertising efforts, it’s critical to have a strategy in place.

U.S. digital ad spend will grow from 132.46 to 278.53 billion dollars by 2024.

From narrowing down the right platforms, ad formats, budgets and more, it can be difficult to know where to start when beginning the process of creating a digital advertising strategy. It’s like taking a road trip. There are different roads and highways you can take to get to your destination.  

When it comes to creating a digital strategy, the destination is the goal you are trying to achieve. The right keywords, platforms, budgets, etc. are the roads and highways you’ll use to get you there efficiently.  

To build a successful digital advertising strategy, there are five crucial steps you must take to reach and exceed your business goals. 

1. Analyze and Assess

The starting point of any successful digital advertising strategy is assessing your business goals. Where are your strengths? Where are you struggling? To properly do this, you must look at a variety of factors within your business and outside of your business. What’s your main objective – awareness, leads, traffic, event responses?

Do you have an important event coming up and you need to drive attendance? Do you have a new product and you need to raise awareness? Did you publish a blog post and you want to drive traffic? These answers will vary based on your business and industry. Auto industry objectives will likely be much different than objectives for a healthcare company.

Outside of your business, ask yourself, what are the latest digital trends? Do your research to identify what opportunities make the most sense for what you’re trying to accomplish. Where is your company’s strongest presence? What are your strongest assets? And how would these things fit into the scope of the latest digital trends?

2. Targeting, Platforms and Placements

After doing all the appropriate research on what you want your digital campaign to accomplish, you need to figure out who you want to target and how you want to target them.

There are a multitude of ways you can develop your targeting strategy, including targeting based on demographics, interests, behaviors or previous online interactions with your brand.

Remember: when setting up targeting, if your campaign pertains to housing, employment, credit or social issues there is the possibility your targeting will be limited to restrict any discrimination. Each platform is different when it comes to campaigns related to these categories.

3. Content Strategy

Once you’re settled on the target audience you want to use it’s on to the fun part: content creation.

The content strategy phase is when you can (and should!) think outside of the box. The way your content is displayed will vary based on the available ad formats you choose to use on each platform. Your objective will certainly influence the type of ad format you choose, so review all available options to identify the best way to communicate your message.

Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes. What will resonate most with them?

You will also have to assess what assets you have available or if you need to develop new creative for these campaigns. Ultimately, your goal should be to “stop the scroll” and influence your audience to take the desired action(s) you’ve established.

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4. Optimizations and Adjustments

After your campaign is active, routinely monitoring performance is critical for long-term success. Campaigns typically go through a learning phase where the respective platform’s algorithm learns the campaign’s parameters to ensure the ad is delivered to the correct audience. It’s important to not make any changes to the campaign during this time.

Once the campaign is out of the learning phase you need to make sure you have benchmarks in place based on your platform and industry. If you notice the campaign’s performance starts to fall below these benchmarks, you need to do a deep dive as to why this is happening. Sometimes it can be a simple fix, or you might have to rethink the ad’s copy or creative. There are many factors that influence campaign performance, so you may have to try more than one fix.

Ultimately, consistency is key. Frequent monitoring and optimizations can greatly impact the overall performance of your digital advertising campaign.

5. Reporting

A crucial part of any digital advertising strategy is tracking a campaign’s performance. In addition to routine monitoring and optimizations, you’ll want to establish a reporting cadence, so you have consistent reporting. A lot of this is dependent on the campaign’s timeline. Shorter campaigns will have a different cadence then longer campaigns. However, typically weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports will paint the picture of a campaign’s performance.

You’ll also want to have a reporting template in place. Within this template, note the platform and industry benchmarks you’re working against. You’ll also want to highlight the specific goals of the campaign, which could include landing page views, leads generated or the number of event responses. Finally, note the different campaign key performance indicators, such as click-through-rate and average cost per click. You’ll want to include all the appropriate data so you can essentially tell the story of the campaign.

Work in Action:


The number one thing to keep in mind when creating your digital strategy is to remember it’s going to involve trial and error. The digital landscape is dynamic, and there isn’t one “right” way to reach success. Something that worked six months ago may not work six months later.

Staying up to date on the latest digital trends and extensively analyzing prior reports and performance are key.

Have questions? Contact our team of digital experts.

Ryan Solecki is a Paid Search & Digital Marketing Specialist at Franco. Connect with him on LinkedIn