5 Ways To Reduce Ad Spend Wastage

Jul 26, 2019

With digital advertising now superseding traditional marketing in most industries, how can you make sure your precious ad dollars are delivering impressive returns? How do you reduce wastage in your ads spend, but still achieve mass exposure?
Chances are you’re investing heavily in digital, especially in a programmatic environment, so here are five things you should check when planning any campaign.

1. Frequency

Managing an optimal number of impressions that lead to conversion is a fine balancing act.  Most campaign managers use a daily cap on frequency to monitor this closely.

Measuring the number of impressions that you campaign achieves before it results in a conversion will help establish a general formula that you can rely on.  By analysing the type campaign, the offer, the copy and the category that your product competes in will give you a more holistic view of the frequency needed to build up interest leading to a conversion.

2. Time Of Day

Analysing the daily pattern of display impressions and conversion clicks may give you clues about when your audience is most attentive to your marketing messages.  Some ad platforms also allow you to set active windows for your ads, which allows you to concentrate your activity on periods that match your audience’s activity patterns.

3. Targeting

Do you know what the general characteristics are of you converting customers? Do they have any similar behavioral traits or consistent patterns?

By refining your ad targeting with behavioural insights as the campaign progresses, you are far more likely to have a higher conversion rate that continues to improve over time.

In addition, when you refine your targeting based on an audience’s related product interests, or content sites they frequently visit, the probability of them converting increases. This is despite the fact that the cost of addressing prospects increases as they become more targeted, and as the volume of prospects decrease.  

The trick is to find the optimal trade-off between conversion, costs and volume.  This is an ongoing process of trial and learning.

The importance of trial and learning can be seen in the ‘boost’ button in Facebook. The majority of experiences using the ‘boost this post’ deliver well below expectations, due to the ‘mass marketing’ approach of this tool. This highlights the importance of refined targeting.  The Facebook boost process is automated. The poor results may be caused by the quality of algorithm. More importantly, it is missing the crucial feedback mechanism, where campaign results are reviewed against objectives, algorithms are refined and rebuilt, and ads copies or offers are readjusted.

4. Relevant Content

Are you serving the same ad or copy throughout the campaign? Are you matching the content a prospect sees to the different stages of their purchasing journey?

This is often overlooked, with a lot of ad wastage caused by repetitive marketing messages that result in ‘message fatigue’.  By differentiating campaign message based on customer interest levels, you establish an ongoing ‘conversation’ with your customer as they develop trust in your brand, and interest and confidence in your product.  This will increase your conversion.

5. Top Of Mind

Are you optimising your ads based on prevailing interest in a prevailing market?   Are you matching ads on free to air TV shows, news events or even with activities of your competitors?

By placing your marketing message in the context of the marketing conversation, you can begin to move your marketing messages into the best product consideration window, for greater conversion probability.

This can be achieved through a number of programmatic platforms, where audience targeting is set in the context of free to air programs.


Managing ad wastage directly results in improved efficiency and in the end, increases the return on your ad spend.   To measure ad investment, a Return on Ad Spend calculation is commonly used.

ROAS is simply a ratio between revenue and ad spend.  Here is a detailed description.

In general, a ROAS of 1.0 is break-even point, where for every dollar spent on ad, it netted one dollar in revenue.    As Revenue is not profit, typically you require a ROAS well above 1.0.

The true value ROAS is in the trending of this ratio between months.  This is typically an indication of how well your marketing strategy is tracking.