Three Strategies for Testing and Optimizing Your Next Media Buy

The first time you purchase ad space on a major website in your niche, you’ll be doing a bit of guess work. Sure, it will be educated guess work as you research the top sites in your niche, check traffic numbers, review past ad campaigns and more. But when you have no data to analyze, you’re alway guessing a bit.

After that first campaign, however, you have no excuse for “guessing”. Everything from here forward should be based on sound testing and here are three strategies to help you do just that.

1. Ask to Split Test

When you purchase ad space, email the website owner and ask if they’ll allow you to provide two banners – one for the first 2 weeks and one for the latter. Split testing is one of the most effective ways to generate data about the effectiveness of your campaign, and while you can’t ensure conditions remain the same from one banner to the next, you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

2. Look at All Metrics

While the most important metrics are conversions and sales, look at all the numbers related to your campaign to see if you’re doing as well (or as poorly) as you think. Say for example you are receiving a large number of clicks but no conversions – this may be an issue of a mistargeted audience or maybe your landing page isn’t doing what your banner ad promises. Say for example that you are getting tens of thousands of impressions but no clicks. No one is clicking anything you put on this site. Don’t necessarily drop the site right away – too many people walk away from good ad slots too quickly because they don’t get results right away. Test your banners and see if you can bump your numbers first.

3. Look for Underdogs

There is a false sentiment out there that the best media buys are the ones with the most impressions. But that’s not always the case. Take Facebook for example. If you put the wrong ad on Facebook, you can get 30,000 impressions and one or two hits. The audience is unique from other audiences so while page views are extremely high (20+ per visit), the click through rates are very low.

At the same time, a small site with a relatively low monthly traffic volume can produce some solid results if the traffic is active and targeted.
Don’t be afraid to spend for smaller impression numbers if their click through rates are high.