Strategic Advertising Plan

How to Create a Strategic Digital Advertising Plan

Julian Frachtman
Julian Frachtman

Chief Executive Officer, Airtory

Published on: 27 May 2021

Reading time: 6 minutes

Having a digital advertising plan is the need of the hour for brands, and selecting the right strategic approach is the key to their success. Today, the majority of content consumption takes place on the internet. Owing to this, marketers and advertisers are thriving towards making a robust online presence to promote their brand, products, and services. However, this shift requires them to have a well-structured advertising plan that will help them accomplish their goals.

What is a Digital Advertising Plan?

A step-by-step process that works towards achieving the desired digital advertising objectives of a brand. Also called a road map, it guides all the day-to-day advertising activities of a brand with proper planning and strategy. However, just having a plan would not guarantee success.

Highly efficient and effective digital advertising requires proper planning and strategy accompanied by the right tools to market the brand well. 

Why Do You Need A Digital Advertising Plan?

Understanding why one needs a digital advertising plan plays a crucial role in achieving the desired advertising goals. However, it has been reported that even today, many brands do not have a clearly defined digital advertising plan. This is due to a lack of understanding of why they need one in the first place. Here are the common reasons why you would need one. 

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Maximizes reach
  • Affordable and flexible
  • Dynamic and interactive
  • Use of rich media elements
  • Real-time tracking and optimization

These along with other reasons are powerful enough to transform your advertising strategy and accelerate your results. 

Having an advertising plan with proper strategy and planning gives you a direction that leads to consistent growth, however subject to the right strategy document. Here is what your strategy document should include.

  • SWOT analysis of your business
  • All your short and long term objectives
  • Your target market and ways to reach them
  • Target market requirements and ways for your brand to meet them
  • A well-structured plan to attract and hold the attention of your target market

A detailed strategy document with all the above points will help you with strategic advertising planning that magnetically attracts your target audience.

How to Make A Strategic Advertising Plan?

Here is how to make an advertising plan that is effective enough to help you achieve your marketing objectives.

1. Setting Goals, Objectives & KPIs

Strategic advertising planning begins with identifying your goals and objectives accompanied by the key performance indicators (KPIs). This process will act as a road map to ensure that you are on the right track towards having brilliant ad planning, and hence it is #1 on the list of things you must pay attention to when learning how to create an advertising plan. You can use the SMART criteria to do this. 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely achieved

Outlining your goals and objectives in the above manner will ensure that you get there easily and effectively. 

KPIs on the other hand, are the key factors that help you effectively and efficiently analyze the performance of your campaigns. Otherwise a huge list, we have squeezed it to some common ones that generate consistent returns and will help you to jumpstart your strategic advertising planning.

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per visit
  • Conversion rate
  • ROI per content
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Fresh leads per day/month
  • Unique visitors per day/month
  • Marketing qualified leads (MCQ)

2. Understanding Your Audience

With a defined list of goals and KPIs at hand, you can move onto the next step of learning how to create an advertising plan, which is your target audience. It is very important to understand your target audience and in fact, the actual road to success starts here. Won’t finding the right customers to sell your product or service will make the process a whole lot easier and fruitful? The answer is an emphatic yes. All you have to do is understand their requirements and pain points to provide accurate solutions. Find answers to the following questions.

  • Who is your customer? 
  • Where do they spend most of their time?
  • Where can they buy your product or service?
  • What are their major pain points that you need to focus on?
  • What are their requirements for the type of product you are selling?
  • What makes your product better than the other market players?

Remember that the customer requirements are dynamic, and hence you will have to keep on changing your offerings for better reach that leads to a high conversion rate.

3. Identifying The Marketing Channels 

The next important step of learning how to make a strategic advertising plan is to identify the right marketing channels for your brand, product, or service. Some of the main marketing channels include,

  • Mobile ads
  • Landing pages
  • Interactive videos
  • Display advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Search engine optimization
  • Third-party display advertising

Unable to decide which one is the right choice for your business? Finding answers to the following questions will help. 

  • Does it fit your advertising budget?
  • Does it help you reach your target audience?
  • Does it allow you to measure ad performance?
  • Does it allow you to optimize ads for better results?
  • Does it allow you to effectively communicate with your audience?

4. Understanding The Digital Advertising Funnel

A digital sales funnel is a buyer’s journey right from being a prospect to a loyal customer. Advertisers and marketers make use of this funnel for strategic ad planning that guides their advertising efforts, however subject to the right analysis of each of its steps. There is an old and new digital advertising funnel, both explained below.

The Old AIDA Funnel

  1. A - Awareness
  2. I - Interest
  3. D - Desire
  4. A - Action


  • Has four steps
  • Focus on linear experience and universal user behaviour

Building Your New Funnel

  1. Engagement
  2. Education
  3. Research
  4. Evaluation
  5. Justification
  6. Purchase
  7. Adoption
  8. Retention
  9. Expansion
  10. Advocacy


  • Should have up to ten stages
  • Focus on non-linear experiences and behaviour driving a user

According to Google, the old AIDA funnel is now ineffective considering the rise in technology and how customers are building unique journeys instead of following a traditional linear approach.

5. Auditing And Optimizing Campaigns

Audits and optimization are the core principles of building a strategic advertising plan. Auditing enables you to simply conduct a thorough investigation of all your marketing efforts against the ad performance and ROI. Optimization, on the other hand, is the next step that involves the implementation of specific changes into the campaigns to boost the performance and ROI. Hence both auditing and optimization go hand in hand, enabling you to create strategic ad plans that help capture the performance metrics to analyze and improvise.

However, not everyone knows how to do so. Forrester’s research stated that about 60 to 70% of the advertising metrics go unused because the marketers and advertisers either do not know its proper utilization or are not equipped with the right tools to be able to access the same. Owing to this, they either take the help of Google analytics or switch to ad servers that provide them with a full-stack solution. Here is what you will get to know.

  • If clicks are converting
  • If there is mobility across the funnel
  • If you are losing engagement
  • If something is not working 

Ready to Rule The Digital World With A Strategic Advertising Plan?

Now that you are armed with the right guide to creating a strategic digital advertising plan, why not try building one for yourself? You can also take help from the ad builder software available online to create high-quality ads that instantly grab attention. Not just this, some of this software allows you to access the performance metrics of your ads in real-time and optimize them for better results.

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