With so many social platforms and advertising technologies available to businesses, and with them all having the ability to target vast numbers of people in their own unique way, the term “Digital Marketing” has never been broader.

Having worked in digital marketing providing services to maximise online presence for businesses, and setting up a digital agency in 2015, this article is going to highlight a number of the pitfalls that businesses (including our own) fall into when marketing themselves online and ultimately why these campaigns fail.

Being Realistic With Budget & Timeframe

Initially, every business looks for the cheapest way to promote themselves. An example of this would be setting up a £100/month Google Ads campaign over a 2 month period, or a £3/day Instagram promotion for a month. These monthly budgets are not high enough to allow you to harvest enough data for future use. Additionally, these campaigns are not long enough and don’t allow for ongoing optimisation and improvement.

Budget Breakdown
A healthy marketing budget should take into account how many projects or products a business would expect to sell in a full year. In its simplest form, for new businesses (younger than 5 years old) that are trying to establish themselves, the marketing budget should be between 12% and 20% of your projected yearly gross, and between 6% and 12% for established businesses who already have a strong online presence and lead generation strategy.

Campaign Length
Your marketing campaign should allow you enough time to:
Get your message out there.
Analyse Data & Demographics.
A / B test different ads and/or landing pages.
Test Variables & Improve Conversion Rates.

In our experience, the longer the campaign the better the ROI and data collection. Realistically the above can be achieved in a minimum of three months.

Monitoring Conversions

Monitoring conversions is essential to success. Often campaigns are set up to boost traffic to a social page or website but without an end goal, it becomes difficult to judge the success of a campaign. The most common conversion tracking would be a contact form fill out on a website or a product purchase. If your campaign is pushing traffic to a website, Google Tag Manager can be used for free to track goals. At the end of your campaign you should have a clear number of conversions, this can then be used with the overall cost to show: cost per lead/purchase, average conversions in a month and much more. Additionally, goal tracking is used as a clear indication that improvements are being made to a campaign over time.


This relates to the amount of time and effort spent on your campaign while it’s running. If after setup, your campaign is left to run without monitoring and improvement testing it’s likely that you will not see the return you’re after. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Trust the process!

Taking On To Much

Or spreading your resources too thin is a pitfall that many fall into. This is very common especially with social media marketing across multiple platforms. In most cases, we find that businesses have a wide selection of social profiles but they are all poorly managed due to lack of time available to look after them. It’s important to understand that every social platform is different and therefore the content you post and the way you engage with your audience is different. Try focusing your time on one social platform, get to know it, spend time on your content creation and tailor it for your chosen platform, build an audience by being consistent and the rewards will be far greater than spending the same time managing multiple profiles. It’s quality over quantity!

Content For The Sake Of Content

As of recent years, there has been an influx of low-quality content online and on social platforms. Due to this, search results are being diluted and it’s becoming harder for users to find what they are looking for without being spammed by low-grade content that offers little or no value.

Understanding The Future Of Algorithms
Let’s use Google as an example. Google processes roughly 3.5 billion search queries a day. Due to its high usage, businesses and individuals are able to capture website traffic from searches to gain leads. Capturing website traffic from search has become big business and as a result, the amount of content published online has increased drastically. The problem with a lot of this content is that it’s being created for the search engine and not the user, in other words, it’s tricking Google into thinking it’s “relevant” to increase online visibility. In short, Google’s job is to show us the most relevant results for what we’re searching for, and as the algorithm advances, it will be looking to filter out low-grade content and bring high-quality content to the forefront.

Whether its social, email, search or video marketing. Ensure that the content you are putting out there is high quality and not just for the sake of it. Give something back to your audience of value. Not only will this build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry, but it will also be favoured by future social and search algorithms.

In Conclusion

A successful digital marketing campaign should:
Have a realistic, calculated budget.
Have a long enough time frame to improve upon and gather data for future use.
Have clear goals set with conversion tracking.
Be realistic in terms of workload.
Have a quality over quantity approach to content publishing.