It is impossible to overstate how crucial digital marketing is for businesses today. The digital marketing industry generates billions of dollars every year. But as any experienced business manager will tell you, effective digital marketing is harder than it might appear. Even if you have all the necessary resources to put together a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, actually executing it can still be a challenge.

The smart approach to digital marketing aims to make it second nature for digital marketers to formulate realistic and worthwhile objectives for their campaigns. Next time you find yourself planning a new digital marketing campaign, stick to the steps outlined below, and you can be sure that you will head in the right direction.

Set Yourself SMART Goals

It is always a good idea to have clear objectives in business. Clearly-defined goals mean that your workers know what you expect of them, and you can focus on formulating the optimal strategy for achieving them. But a common mistake that managers make when setting goals for their business is assuming that more ambitious goals will lead to more ambitious work. Just because you set yourself a more ambitious goal, that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be able to produce the necessary extra work.

You can ensure that you are setting realistic business goals by making sure that they are SMART:

  • Specific: Any goals that you set yourself should be clear. If your objectives are vague, it will be hard to know when you have achieved them.
  • Measurable: You need a way of measuring every goal that you set yourself. Once you know what you will be measuring, it becomes much easier to track the progress of your efforts.
  • Achievable: As we said above, setting more ambitious goals won’t automatically improve your performance. You need to set yourself goals that you can actually achieve. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, as long as you are realistic.
  • Relevant: Every goal that you set yourself should have a purpose. You shouldn’t be setting yourself goals just for the sake of it. Think about how your SMART goals can help advance your entire business towards its primary objectives.
  • Time-bound: There is nothing wrong with having long-term goals that will take a long time to complete. However, most of the SMART goals you set yourself should be things that you can achieve over a reasonable time frame.

Clearly Define Your Target Audience

The better you understand your target audience, the easier it will be for you to reach them with your marketing. The broader the demographic(s) you are targeting with your marketing, the harder it will be to reach a significant portion of your audience. On the other hand, if you have a clearly defined target audience, you can focus your campaign on appealing to those people.

As well as defining the demographics of your target audience, you should also try to gather and analyze data about their behaviors. For example, it is helpful to know whether an audience member who clicks on an online ad that takes them to your website is more likely to read your blog or download your app. By monitoring what your audience does and how they react to your marketing, you can begin to predict how they will interact with your business more accurately.

Finally, it is worth taking the time to define the motivations of your target audience. Why are they coming to your business? Sure, your exquisite marketing no doubt played a part. But why have they chosen you over your competitors? Once you have a better understanding of precisely what your audience wants from you, it is considerably easier to give it to them.

Invest in Click Fraud Detection

It doesn’t matter how well you plan and execute a digital marketing campaign. You should always expect to be the victim of ad fraud. If you are vigilant or lucky, any fake clicks or page views you attract will be statistically insignificant and won’t affect your subsequent decision-making. But if you ignore the problem altogether, you could end up in serious trouble. Data-driven marketers are at particular risk from the effects of ad fraud because the data that they base their decision making on will be unreliable. If you make an effort to quantify and identify ad fraud, you can at least consider your findings when you make plans for the future.

There are numerous different forms that ad fraud can take. Click fraud is perhaps the most common example, partly because it is a comparatively easy type of fraud to perpetrate. A simple script can access a website and click on an element on the page. In doing so, the fraudster will mislead the website hosting the ad, the business whose ad it is, and the marketer who put it on the site.

Separating the fake clicks from the organic ones can be a complicated process. If the fraudster has been lazy and hasn’t used a proxy or VPN to disguise their IP address, you can quickly identify their activity.

More sophisticated fraudsters will take steps to disguise what they are doing and make their activities appear to be organic. This traffic is more difficult for a person to spot without some intensive data analysis.

Smart campaigns should always include a plan for detecting and combatting ad fraud. There are now businesses like ClickGuard, which provides click fraud prevention services. As the most common type of ad fraud and one that we can effectively combat, preventing click fraud can substantially improve the final results of your campaign. You can learn a lot if you follow ClickGuard’s advice.

Many people are surprised to learn the full scale of ad fraud today. Most people know, or at least assume, that ad fraud is occurring to some degree. But it is also one of those problems that a lot of websites and businesses think to affect others but not them. However, ad fraud is much more common than most people believe, and plenty of marketers are still failing to take the threat seriously.

You should always assume that your campaigns are going to be targeted by opportunistic fraudsters. If you are running an extensive campaign attached to big business, you are more likely to attract sophisticated fraudsters who will be much more challenging to detect. Combining a machine learning-based approach with human oversight is the most effective way of combatting ad fraud. This fight isn’t something that we can fully automate just yet. However, numerous automated systems, including ClickGuard’s platform, will combine artificial intelligence with human intelligence to get the best of both worlds.

The supremacy of data-driven marketing is now beyond doubt. The right data can enable marketers to construct focused campaigns that are considerably more likely to resonate with their target audience. But data-driven campaigns are only as good as the underlying data. Make sure that your marketing campaigns include an ad fraud detection component. With a detection component in place, you protect your data from being poisoned by fraudulent activity. You also ensure that you are getting the biggest possible bang for your buck while minimizing the amount of money wasted on fraudsters.