It’s one thing to create a solid digital advertising plan to help organize your thoughts and to share with your team. It’s another to create an engaging digital-advertising plan. This article tells you how to do both! Read on to understand what you should include in your digital advertising plan and how to use epic, easy, free online digital tools to make it look amazing.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Digital Advertising Plan?
- 7 Important Things To Include in Your Digital Advertising Plan
- How To Create an Engaging Digital Advertising Plan
A digital advertising plan can be a subset of your overall advertising plan. But it can also be your entire advertising plan—if your ad plan is focused exclusively on online advertising (i.e., no billboards, TV ads, or print ads). In either case, a digital advertising plan is a document created to showcase your upcoming online advertising initiatives, from search or display ads to influencer partnerships, as well as the logic and cost behind them.
Digital advertising plans are growing in importance in the advertising industry and for all businesses for a number of reasons. For starters, digital advertising affords you far greater and more targeted reach than traditional advertising.
Also, unlike traditional advertising, digital advertising allows consumers to engage with ads in real time by clicking a link, watching a video, participating in a survey, and more.
People used to have to throw down big bucks for traditional advertising and blindly hope for good results. But digital advertising is cost effective with measurable results. It has room for all sizes of budgets and requires you pay only when a user interacts with your ad (e.g., cost-per-click or CPC or cost-per-mille or CPM). Consequently, digital ads offer real-time results, which allow you far greater insight into the impact and ROI of your advertising efforts.
Whether your digital advertising plan is a subsection of a larger overall marketing strategy or not, it needs to include all the details normally included in any marketing plan.
Here are seven important elements that you should feature. You can get more familiar with each of these by reading about how to write a marketing plan for your business.
1. Advertising Goals
This is where you define the purpose of your advertising plan and when you intend to execute. Perhaps you want to boost sales, gain new customers, or attract return customers. Or maybe your aim is to heighten brand awareness, promote a new product, or generate e-commerce activity.
Declare your goals through an informative statement. Make it clear and concise. Then outline the period of time you are proposing to achieve your goals through your advertising efforts.
The more specific you are in defining your advertising goals, the easier it will be for you to showcase how your plan is the pathway to achieving your goals.
2. A Budget
Nearly every advertising effort costs money. An advertising budget ensures everyone in your company is clear on the proposed advertising spend and earmarks the dollars accordingly.
3. Your Target Market
Experienced marketers know that understanding your target market is critical to making well-targeted ad buys. For example, if you’re selling a Bacon of the Month Club subscription, your ad will get more engagement on recipe websites or on the accounts of food-related social-media influencers than it will on vegan lifestyle sites.
Make sure you know the demographic of your target internet users and define them in your plan. This way your whole team will know who you’re targeting your ads to. You can even segment your target audience to address different types of core consumers through different channels.
4. The Focus of Your Advertising Initiatives
What are you trying to get in front of your target market? Maybe you want to remind them about your brand in time for holiday shopping, debut a new product or service, or share brand values with potential customers that share your beliefs. Whatever you’re highlighting, make it clear in your advertising plan.
5. A SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a staple evaluation in advertising plans that addresses what you’re doing right, any competitive edge you may have, where your competition stands, and internal and external vulnerabilities that can affect success for better or for worse.
This is your chance to think through your business’s advantages, disadvantages, opportunities, and risks that may be influenced by your staff, the market, season, competitor flaws, or unforeseen circumstances.
6. Your Digital Advertising Plan and Digital Advertising Strategy
This is the what, where, and when of your plans.
What banner ads and other types of ads and ad campaigns do you want to run? Where will they appear, and when?
“Digital advertising” may make it clear that your campaigns will be online, but it doesn’t clarify the “how.” Your advertising plan should outline what types of digital advertising campaigns you intend to leverage, the advertising platforms you plan to showcase them on, and the timing in which they will appear online.
Here are the four different digital advertising avenues.
Paid Search Results
This is where you buy online ad space for your digital media ads on a variety of affiliate websites, which can include the above mentioned search engines, YouTube (through Google ad buy), and other ad networks. These ads appear at the top, bottom, sides, or middle of content on a webpage rather than as part of a search result. They are also known as retargeting (remarketing) personal advertising.
Banner ads are part of this group, as are video ads, which have become extremely influential in inspiring online purchasing decisions. Bonus: It’s easier than ever to create super sleek, on-brand digital banner ads or other ads with free online templates for banners, free online ad maker, and free online video editor. Tap the image below to remix our banner design to suit your own brand!
Social Media Advertising
All of these social media platforms offer advertising opportunities in the form of text, images, and videos:
- Facebook ads
- Instagram ads
- Twitter ads (which offers cost-per-follow, or CPF, options)
- Pinterest ads
- TikTok ads
- Snapchat ads
- LinkedIn ads (consider their cost-per-send, or CPS, offerings)
This is where you pay a social media influencer to promote your product or brand on their social media network(s). There are two traditional pricing models for influencers. One is a pay-per-post flat fee based on the size of their following and the other is a sliding fee based on user engagement or performance.
7. KPIs To Measure Success
Your ads are only as good as your results. Make sure your advertising plan includes a section on key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your success. These metrics tend to fall into one of the following categories: conversion rate, click-through rate (CTR), cost per acquisition (CPA), or return on investment (ROI).
Now, on to the creative stuff!
You’ve done all the legwork in deciding what you want to do and why. You even have free tools to help you design your ads. Now it’s time to lay out your ideas in a way that is on-brand, polished, and visually exciting.
Fortunately, you can look to online tools for this, too. Adobe makes a free marketing plan template that works just as well for advertising plans. Start by adding your plan for all of the essentials listed above to the template.
Then dress it up with the following visual elements. You may already have these assets. If you don’t, you can easily create them for use in your ad plan, your ad campaigns, or both!
Add your logo on the first page and smaller on the bottom of every page. (Don’t have one? You can make a free logo and even use the template above by clicking on it!)
Sometimes it’s easier to get your point across in graphics with or without images. Use a free graphics template to make it effortless or click the graphic above to design from its template.
Sometimes you just need images to break up text. Easy peasy! You can craft totally pro-looking layouts using free images. To access the above template, click on it.
Include Relevant Graphs and Charts
Pie chart, bar graph, line graph, you name it, you can do it quickly and easily using free templates. Click any of the templates above to start your own.
Whether you want to share an actual video ad you’ve crafted or bring your plan messaging to life with another type of video, you can make and edit your own videos to include in your digital advertising plan.
The Additional Benefits of a Quality Digital Advertising Plan
Once you’ve completed your plan, you’re ready to get off and running! The beauty of crafting a great advertising plan goes beyond communicating your intentions. It acts as an actual roadmap, and it’ll help you stick to your proposed ad spend, too. Once you’ve nailed it, you need merely execute.
Whether your intention is to increase brand awareness, generate sales or new customers, drive repeat business, or announce exciting news, your digital ad plan will lead the way.