How to Set Yourself Up for Digital Advertising Success

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

This quote from Dr. J. Roscoe Miller (or President Eisenhower depending on your source) always resonates with me as a product manager. It feels like you have to make at least 20 decisions a day between working on things that are urgent versus things that are important.

Having worked across SEM, programmatic, and social, I know how easy it can be to go into execution mode—think keyword expansion or ad set performance optimization. Along the way, I’ve noticed something: Successful advertisers often find a balance between the important and the urgent. Exactly where that boundary lies can vary. One common thread, however, is that they don’t get lost in the weeds.

Making sure you don’t get lost in the weeds can be as straightforward as following a simple process. It’s important to begin each campaign with a review of your social accounts and strategies and follow that with a deeper dive into your overall marketing stack to help you better understand your business and how social fits into your broader marketing mix. This process forces you to consider the important but not necessarily urgent tasks (strategy planning, streamlining processes, competitive intel, etc. ); it helps uncover key opportunities for growth, too.

We’ve borrowed inspiration from tools like Business Model Canvas, Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Persona Marketing to put together the following canvas—a visual framework you can use to help organize your analysis during onboarding and strategy development.

We use it as a framework to deliver a proprietary review called the Brand Networks Marketing DNA Audit

Brand Networks Digital Advertising Success DNA CanvasHere’s how we break it down:

Green: The green boxes are value proposition and key messages, i.e., why someone should buy from you and not your competitors. Setting these foundational aspects will help craft your messaging strategy in the market.

Suggestion: Getting someone to convert isn’t easy. Most products require a coordinated series of small touchpoints to close the sale. Squeeze out more efficiency from your remarketing efforts by borrowing from your email marketing playbook and schedule pre-planned messages over time for cart abandoners (shift from reminders about abandoned cart to consideration and new product messages as time goes on).                                                                                                                                                                                           

Orange: The orange box is your target audience or buyer personas. Segmenting your consumers and understanding who they are and how they will inform what combination of targeting options you can use to reach that audience. Smart segmentation of your audiences will also provide you with more opportunities for optimization.

Suggestion: Use your first-party audience data to your advantage. Facebook’s custom audiences, for example, allow you to retarget and build lookalike models based on your customer list (email, mobile advertising ids, phone numbers, etc.) or activity tracked on your website or app. Don’t forget to exclude audiences to minimize audience overlap.

Blue: The cluster of blue boxes represent the existing channel and media mix you use to deliver your message to the market. This is where everything, including creative assets and targeting constraints, come together to get you in front of your target customers.

Suggestion: Look for insights from one marketing channel and apply it across your marketing mix. Take a look at the search keyword your customers are using to find your brand and test creative messaging around the non-branded keyword themes in your social, programmatic or video ads.

Gray: The gray boxes represent your owned properties, customer experiences, and internal processes you use to capture and maximize the return from your marketing and advertising efforts.

Suggestion: Amplify the reach of organic social content that resonates with your audience by promoting organic posts. Advertisers working with Brand Networks have access to a bevy of social automation tools that include auto-promotion tools that’ll automatically put advertising dollars behind organic posts that hit engagement thresholds you define.

Teal: Pulling everything together are the teal boxes, which represent your analytics infrastructure and underlying customer datasets.

Suggestion: If you use Google Analytics as one of your tracking solutions, play around with the attribution model comparison tool to get different perspectives on how your marketing efforts across digital are impacting each other. We like the time decay model because it’s easy to explain and can be customized based on your internal testing and modeling.

Purple: The purple box represents your competitors and how your company fits into the overall competitive landscape as well as how you’re performing against competitive benchmarks.

Suggestion: Wondering what your competitors are doing on Facebook? The platform released a feature that allows you to see all active ads that a business is running whether or not you’re targeted with them.


Here’s what it comes down to: Be ruthless when identifying and eliminating non-important, non-urgent distractions. Delegate or automate the urgent but not important items, so what’s left are critical driving forces behind your business. Prioritize and execute on the urgent and important while always planning for what’s not urgent now but will be.