empty billboard

Top Mistakes to Avoid In Your Paid Media Strategy

Over the years, paid media has rapidly evolved into something more complex. Gone are the days when someone would simply choose their keywords, set bids, write a brilliant piece of ad copy, add in negatives, and let it run free. With more competition comes the need for a more complicated media planning and buying system, and a more complicated strategy lays the groundwork for human error. 

Avoiding mistakes in your paid media strategy is tricky, but possible. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the top pitfalls to avoid, and how a paid media agency can help you circumvent them entirely. 

1. Choosing the Wrong Bidding Strategy 

As with any effective advertising campaign, a paid media strategy should be built around your ultimate conversion goals. Between manual bidding and bidding algorithms, it can be easy to get lost in the search for the ‘right’ one. If you aim for conversions, using a strategy that only boosts visibility is a step in the wrong direction. 

Here are some common paid media bidding strategies, and when they’re best deployed: 

  • Maximize Clicks: This strategy focuses on traffic and higher funnel metrics. It’s less than ideal for conversion rate, but it’s still valid. 
  • Target Impression Share: Perfect for visibility and visibility alone. 
  • Maximize Conversions (without a CPA target): As the name states, this technique seeks to maximize conversions, and usually maximizes its budget as well. 
  • Maximize Conversions with CPA Target: This strategy, like the others, is laser-focused on conversions, but now it uses a target CPA. It can be extremely useful for high-volume campaigns but detrimental to lower ones. 
  • Maximize Value: This technique drives as many conversions as possible while keeping a budget in mind. It tracks value as well as volume, which has qualitative benefits. 
  • Target ROAS: This method is perfect if you already have conversion value data. 

2. Paying Too Much For Clicks 

Naturally, most people approaching a paid media strategy, especially for the first time, want to spend as little as possible on a campaign and clicks. When budgets are tight, lowering the bid could earn more clicks while maintaining a conversion rate. 

To avoid overpaying for clicks in a paid media strategy, view conversions and conversion-oriented metrics as KPIs, while running tests with varying bid amounts. Use that testing to determine if paying less results in increased traffic that leads to conversions, as opposed to the cost of buying direct conversions. 

3. Leaning Too Heavily on Smart Campaigns 

Smart campaigns are tools set up by search engines as a way to assist advertisers. They do this by streamlining and simplifying the campaign creation process for a very basic campaign. While this is a tempting offering, especially for those just starting out, it comes at a slight loss of control and freedom. 

Do not misunderstand; smart campaigns can work! The Smart Shopping and Smart Display tools are especially handy for their purpose. However, when it comes to search campaigns, they tend to draw a lot of traffic but not quite as many conversions as other paid media strategies. 

If setting up an ad campaign seems daunting or outside a team’s area of expertise, a paid media agency can help. It will handle the complex bidding process while allowing you as much creative freedom as you need, whether that’s a lot or just a little. A paid media agency is more expensive than a smart campaign, but the long-term return on ad spend (ROAS) is well worth it. 

3. Following Search Engine Defaults 

It’s a sad truth that search engines are not always built with an advertiser’s best interests in mind. When setting up a paid media strategy, ensure that the settings are in line with the strategy’s ultimate goals. 

For example, if advanced location targeting is not implemented correctly, it can lead to mishaps with geotargeting. Another common paid media strategy mistake is including the display network in search campaigns, which is the current default setting. Google also uses broad match keywords, which are typically the lowest-performing of the bunch, as the default match type. 

4. Not Optimizing or Testing Ads Continuously 

Paid media strategies are not ‘set it and forget it’ projects. When an ad goes live, check the analytics and run A/B testing to gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. 

Without a timeframe of continuous optimization, it’ll be impossible to completely understand what paid media strategies work in the long run and what is more effective with a target audience. After allowing a campaign to run for a few months, gather data and, if necessary, pivot direction. 

5. Not Watching Display Placements 

Catching a placement mistake in paid search results can be a massive pain point for paid media advertising teams. To see that an ad has been used on a junky, spammy placement on a low-quality website can feel like a massive waste of time, effort and money. 

As mentioned above, a paid media strategy cannot be a ‘set it and forget it’ endeavor. Monitor display placements carefully and step in to exclude irrelevant or poor-quality placements. This should also serve as a reminder to establish brand safety controls that will limit the types of content you are willing to place your ads beside. 

6. Handling Your Paid Media Strategy Entirely By Yourself 

No man is an island. While you may have a team to help with a campaign, it can still be incredibly beneficial to enlist the help of a paid media agency to handle the more tedious, obstacle-heavy aspects of a paid media strategy. Especially for smaller businesses, the help of an expert agency can make the difference between a campaign that flops, and one that changes the landscape of your conversion rates. 

Trust a Paid Media Agency For Your Next Campaign 

At BloomAds, we are paid media strategy professionals who know the ins and outs of this complex, intricate world. We avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes that others might miss. Through data science and advanced analytics, we provide robust measurement and actionable insights to fuel your brand’s growth. Contact BloomAds today to learn how we can step in to supercharge your paid media strategy. 

Scroll to top