In this 3-part blog series we’ll uncover the three key factors that can decide whether a campaign is a winner or a waste of money.  We’ll pinpoint the three biggest digital marketing mistakes, how to avoid them, and get the most out of your ad spend. Mistake #1: Speaking to the Wrong Audience, otherwise known as poor ad targeting.

Before launching any campaign, you need to define who your product or service is for. Ideally, your business will have detailed customer personas. These personas describe your “ideal customer” by age, gender, industry, and a bunch of other factors. (Here’s a great resource to get you started on building your customer profiles).

With a clear picture of your ideal client, you can now target the campaign so that it reaches this ideal audience, and avoids showing ads to irrelevant groups. A poorly-targeted campaign can leak money by showing ads and paying for clicks from the wrong audience.


Today’s ad platforms, like Google Adwords and Facebook, offer powerful targeting tools that allow you to connect with the right audience. That means your ad spend is directed towards a likely-to-convert audience, which improves the campaign’s conversion rate and boosts your ROI.

Ad Targeting with Facebook

Facebook’s targeting has improved in leaps and bounds these last few years. Nowadays, there’s no reason for a business to blindly click “Boost Post” on their Facebook page. You can use Facebook’s ad targeting features to deliver relevant messages to specific people.

This kind of precise audience targeting is key for successful advertising on Facebook. (The Facebook audience is in more of a “social” mindset, and in less of a “buying” mindset). When you target your message to the right crowd, you get the most value from your ad spend by reaching only the people that matter to you.

Ad Targeting with Google Adwords

With Google Search Ads, your ads are only show to an interested audience, at the moment they are searching for a business like yours. 

Google decides which search ads to show based on the keywords the user types in. Keywords are loaded with information about a person’s intentions. For example, if I type “high efficiency furnace” in to Google, it shows that I’m in need of, or at least thinking about, replacing my furnace. If you’re a local HVAC company, that’s a perfect moment to get your message (ad) in front of me. (And that’s exactly what Google Adwords does!)

Google Adwords targeting starts with building your keyword lists around your ideal customer’s likely search terms. Then, you should keep improving these lists over time. A strategic digital marketer should regularly drill down into the keyword lists to review the conversion rate of each word.

Strong keywords will not only draw traffic to your website, they’ll draw traffic that turns in to leads and new customers. Weak keywords will draw poor-quality traffic to your website: people who will bounce away within seconds of arriving, never to return.  But since you pay for every click through to your website, you want to weed out these weak keywords, and keep the keywords that are driving great quality traffic to your site.

(How do you know which keywords are leading to sales and which ones are a waste of money? One word: Analytics.  But that’s for another blog post series). 


Improving your online ad targeting has a direct impact on your campaign’s success. Great ad targeting puts your business front-and-center with the crowd that’s most likely to become your next new customers. When you only target the people that matter to your business, you get the most value from your ad spend.

Up next: Top 3 Reasons Why Ad Campaigns Fail- Part 2