Every month, the digital advertising team at Inman runs over 400 campaigns on behalf of our advertisers. And the team sees it all, from beautifully executed campaigns to, well, less so. That’s why we decided to capture all errors, mistakes and missed opportunities we’ve seen over the years for a helpful guide to your next campaign.

MISTAKE 1: The ads are too generic
The powerful part of digital advertising is being able to target an audience. And when you advertise on Inman, you know exactly who you will reach: the top agents and brokers that invest in their business by reading the news and stories on Inman. Here’s what that community looks like:

Inman Audience Demographics

As with any campaign, the ads should speak directly to your audience. Tap into their pain points. And make it very obvious who your product or service is meant for and what problem you solve.

MISTAKE 2: The ads have too much copy
It’s an understandable temptation to use your digital ad to over-communicate with your audience. But ads are meant to be the beginning of a conversation, a tease that elicits a response. Busy ads are hard to look at and will repel your prospect, not to mention leave a negative impression of your brand.

MISTAKE 3: Not using animation or video
Static ads are everywhere you look. So if you want your ads to break out and get noticed, try an animated gif or even a video. All ad inventory on Inman.com can be used for animation, and there are simple gif maker apps available. Inman also has a powerful pre-roll product for your video ads, letting your brand engage with the audience in an exciting way.

MISTAKE 4: Not testing ads
When you run a digital campaign on Inman, you can do more than drive demand. You can learn about your own branding — what messages work? What call to action performs better? You can even test static ads versus animated ads. The Inman digital team will help you optimize the campaign based on what performs best so your top creative is always getting air time.

MISTAKE 5: Not having a purposeful landing page
As we said before, digital ads are the start of a conversation. Your ad should engage on an emotional level with a promise. And if you send your visitor to your home page once they click on that ad, you aren’t holding up your part of the conversation.

Custom landing pages are part of sales funnels, and they continue the conversation started by the ad. They should be simple, clean and to the point. And the conversion element, perhaps a signup form of some kind, should be easy to find and not buried at the bottom.

MISTAKE 6: Not having a CTA
Sure, most people understand that digital ads are clickable. But it doesn’t change the fact that we like being told what to do. Your call to action is just that — a direction to your prospect about the exact thing they need to do if your message attracts them. It’s psychological, also, because even though the whole ad is clickable, people will go for the ‘button’ graphic.

MISTAKE 6: Not providing UTMs
Marketing is measurement. The hard truth is that your company is wasting ad dollars if you don’t track performance. And to do that, you provide more than just the URL of your landing page. You should provide Inman (or any advertising provider) with UTMs.

UTMs are the tags you can add to the end of the URL for your ad. The tags may look like a jumble of letters and numbers, but they reveal valuable data for your business and help you understand your ROI. Inman can provide performance stats on all our campaigns, but what UTM parameters give you a better understanding of your customer journey. To get started with UTMs, try Google campaign URL builder.

With the current climate, digital advertising might play a bigger role than ever for your brand. We are here to help. Learn more.

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