digital media buying

D.I.Y. Digital Media Buying: Scaling Impact with Strategic Ad Placements

The digital media buying process is a self-service model – requiring no more than a credit card and market research skills to implement a campaign. In other words, anyone has the ability to be an advertiser.

But it’s important to remember to purchase media with a purpose. While it can be tempting to just put content out there, organizations should first take the time to understand their goals and their audience when distributing communications.

At Media Cause, we follow a step-by-step process for planning, content gathering, and setup for all our media campaigns. If you’re looking to create an impact with digital advertising, follow along with our guide below.

Step 1: Discovery

The first piece of the puzzle is determining your audience, messaging, platform opportunities, budget, and key success metrics. This can include social media audits, persona development, content strategies, and more. Don’t select an ad platform and then figure out how to make it work. Take a look at who you want to reach first, then what you’re working with to get there.

Step 2: Establish KPIs

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. They’re the metrics that will ultimately determine whether or not your campaign was a success. Ask yourself: what goal am I trying to reach with digital media buying?

If you want to improve brand awareness, consider setting your KPIs as impressions/unique reach, unique clicks or landing page views, video views, etc. Is your goal to increase your lead generation? Define your KPIs as the number of leads captured through the campaign and the cost it took to obtain each lead.

Step 3: Set Goals and a Budget

Are you looking to acquire new leads, donations, advocacy actions, and create brand awareness? Is it a mixture based on a phased approach? Identifying a measurable goal is the most important factor before spending one dollar with an advertiser.

At Media Cause, we set SMART goals. Smart goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Step 4: Pick your platforms

“Where is the best place for my organization to be advertising? Is it YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?”

Well, it depends.

Look back to your target audience, and ask yourself where your organization’s supporters hang out. If you’re looking to reach a young audience, avoid spending your digital media buying budget on Facebook. Don’t have video content as part of your campaign? Maybe hold off on YouTube for now.

Step 5: Gather content and put together an ad plan

Almost there!

At this stage, you’ve done your research and set your goals. Now it’s time to select your visuals and craft your messaging based on what your supporters respond to best.

Remember: different platforms require different types of content. Look at how the types of messaging and multimedia engage with users per platform.

Step 6: Technical Setup

One of the best parts about digital advertising is the ability to see where your efforts are paying off. Digital platforms offer organizations the option to follow where and when an ad placement triggered a donation to happen.

This means you’ll need to use a platform’s “tracking pixels.” Simply put, this involves placing a piece of code on your website. These pixels allow you to measure results as they relate to your KPIs – like landing page views, CTA clicks, donations, and more.

Note: every platform uses its own pixel – so make sure you’re integrating for every platform that you purchased ads with.

And finally, execute your campaign. Track it. And optimize it.

We suggest letting your ads run for a bit to gather initial data, then optimize based on whether you’re reaching your goal through your determined KPIs.

Using digital for your media buying means you have access to a constant feedback loop through data. If you listen to the data, you’ll be able to understand what’s working and what’s not – allowing you to consistently improve.

Looking for more tips? Check out our free media planning guides.


Guides and Trainings

If you’re looking for help with your nonprofit’s paid digital media strategy, get in touch with us! We’d love to help.



Related Posts