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online_advertising_failureThere is a fine line between success and failure in the digital marketing industry. Ensure your brand strategy is primed for prosperity by avoiding these mistakes in your next campaign.

Whether people are browsing websites from their mobile phones, checking the news on portable tablets, or buying products online, it cannot be disputed that everyone is spending more time online. The Internet has never been been more convenient than it is today, and just about everyone looks for information online. Hence, online advertising is an important part of any contemporary marketing strategy. 

Yet despite the effective reach of online marketing, there are still ways in which an online advertising campaign can fail. Here are three of the reasons why your strategy may not go according to plan.

1. You're Just Copying Your Competitors

One of the best things that you can do to generate ideas for your own marketing campaign when you're just getting started is to research your competitors and study what they've been doing. However, getting inspiration from people in the same market doesn't mean you should simply copy and paste their ideas onto your own website. What works perfectly for your competitors won't always work quite as well for you. 

The truth is that most marketing channels are already overly-saturated, making PPC campaigns incredibly expensive for broad keywords and phrases. With this in mind, you'll need to think outside of the box for marketing methods that aren't quite as easy to copy. 

For instance, you could try combining your banner advertisements and social media marketing schemes with content production to generate more traffic. With content marketing, you can analyze the things that matter most to your audience and offer them potential solutions to their problems. This lets you develop an authoritative position within your market, and establish yourself as a location that offers value.

2. Your Advertisements Aren't Consumable

Today, a great deal of online marketing success comes through social media. If your ideas, messages, banners, and landing pages can't be translated and shared through blog posts, videos, and tweets, then you may need to scrap your current plan and start over from scratch. Advertising yourself doesn't have to be a lengthy process involving huge blocks of text. Grabbing your audience's attention can be done in as little as 140 characters, if you know how to generate interest properly.

Also, remember that most people are currently browsing the Internet via smartphones. In fact, mobile media usage is at 51 percent, making it more popular than desktops at only 42 percent. With that in mind, any of the creative content, ads, and banners that you develop and post should be able to function just as well on a smartphone screen as they would on a laptop or desktop. 

If the way that you market yourself isn't optimized to fit on all different shapes and screen sizes, chances are, you are losing out on a significant percentage of possible future customers. Indeed, an easy way to immediately shut the door on new relationships with customers is to provide links that send mobile users directly to desktop websites where they can't click buttons or fill out forms.

3. You're Focusing on Traffic Instead of Conversions

After getting in touch with a professional online marketer, you might find that the first thing they try to sell you on is how much extra traffic they can send toward your website or landing pages. Although traffic is important for developing a positive online presence, it's crucial to remember that the ultimate goal should be conversions - not traffic. 

Traffic is all well and good, but it's useless to find that you've had thousands of people visit your website within a day, if none of them purchased your product or signed up for your newsletter. Remember that traffic doesn't necessarily equate to profits and increased revenue. 

Online advertising campaigns shouldn't just focus on driving traffic. Rather, optimizing conversion rates should be priority. Ideally, you want to ensure that people are actually completing the desired action when they arrive on your website or landing page. All the attention in the world is futile if you can't translate the number of views your website gets into an actual profit.

Your advertising efforts will not be in vain if you create innovative content that can translate well on both mobile and desktop, and is creatively executed in a manner that incites user engagement and ultimately stimulates conversions. Making note of these common missteps and being aware of their potentially damaging consequences will put you on the path to success.

Note: Originally published on October 8, 2015 via ClickZ.com.

Topics: Online Advertising, Advertising, Online Marketing, Conversions

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI and SouthWest Florida.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.

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