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Ad Waste — Definition, Causes, and How to Prevent It

Ad waste happens when you spend money on advertising and marketing campaigns that don’t bring in any profit for your business.

Every dollar matters when you spend on advertising. You want to make sure that your advertising strategies are working properly to avoid one key problem — ad waste.

With so many profitable, customizable options out there, you have the tools needed to prevent waste. So, how do you use them?

This page will break down ad waste in the following sections:

  • What is ad waste?
  • What causes advertising waste?
  • How to prevent advertising spend waste

Keep reading to learn more! If you want to speak with an expert about how to prevent ad waste, call 888-601-5359 today!

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What is ad waste?

Ad waste is money spent on advertising and marketing campaigns that don’t generate profit for your business. Ad waste can occur with any digital or traditional marketing and advertising method.

Ad waste example

Let’s say that you run a small bakery. You might not have a huge advertising budget, but you want to get your name out there. Ad waste might happen like this:

  1. You spend $1000 on an ad campaign that is supposed to tell people about your opening day specials.
  2. You find that only 56% of your ad views led to clicks, which means most people didn’t learn about your specials or business.
  3. You didn’t earn a profit from your ad campaign, resulting in ad waste.

This scenario is just one way that ad waste can hurt your company and hurt your chance at profiting.

What causes advertising waste?

There are a few different causes of advertising waste, including:

  • Ad fraud
  • Ad blocking
  • Poor targeting

Let’s break down each one to see if and how you can prevent waste.

Ad fraud

Ad fraud involves raising impressions, clicks, and conversion data for financial gain. This process ends up harming the advertiser and wasting your budget.

There are many ad fraud types, but in general, the main perpetrator is bot clicking. To prevent ad fraud, you can:

  • Research different ad hosting platforms to find reputable sources.
  • Monitor traffic and look for any sharp changes that don’t reflect with your conversions.
  • Find abnormalities in backend data like IP addresses and geolocations.

Ad blocking

Ad blocking uses a specific software to prevent ads on a user’s browser and device. The user doesn’t have to see any ads, which can be a plus for them. However, that also means that you can’t run ads or guarantee that they’ll see them.

Ad blockers aren’t inherently an issue, though. While there aren’t many straightforward ways to get around ad blockers, you can use alternative advertising methods (like email or social media) to help you find ways to target people that are less intrusive.

Poor targeting

The final cause of ad waste is poor ad targeting. In this case, your ads might not appeal to the right people. If you don’t focus on those who need your products or services most, you will be spending money on those who will never convert.

For example, let’s say you only serve clients in Dallas, Texas. If you don’t make that clear in your advertising strategy, you might be wasting time advertising to those outside of your location. They see an ad they don’t want, and you lose money on empty impressions.

How to prevent advertising spend waste

Now that we have covered some causes of advertising waste, we can jump into preventing it. To avoid advertising waste, follow the steps below.

1. Hone in on your audience.

The first step to any digital marketing or advertising campaign is finding your target audience. As you build your audience, you can come up with content that appeals to them and avoid targeting the wrong people.

You can use your current client base and your ideal customer to create your target audience. Some factors to consider in your advertising audience might be:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Job title
  • Location

Once you gather that information, you can go even further and create advertising buyer personas. These personas can detail what social sites your leads prefer, which content they engage with most, and even what device they use.

2. Clean up your retargeting strategy

Retargeting involves reminding website visitors about your products or services after they leave your website without buying. When people visit your site, you can gather data about them and see what actions they did or didn’t take.

From there, you can show them ads about your business that remind them of your services:

ad retargeting example

Your retargeted ads might look different depending on your business and customer journey. For example, if you notice people are leaving your site with items in their cart, you might target ads for those products or send an email reminding them to complete their purchase.

3. Personalize your ads

Creating personalized content is key to preventing ad waste. In fact, 54% of people want to see content personalized to their interests, and that includes your ads. If you give people content that directly applies to their interests, they’ll be more interested in buying.

Let’s say that your ideal customer base happens to be sports fans. In that case, you can create ads that target that demographic and highlight your service. You can also use tools like Google Ads to collect customer data and see what other interests they may have.

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Bonus tip: Work with an advertising agency like WebFX

If you want to get the most out of every advertising channel, WebFX can help. When you partner with us, you get data-backed strategies that focus on getting the most out of every dollar you spend on advertising.

The process is simple. Your dedicated account manager will research and advise you on what changes, channels, and tools will impact your approach most. After we implement your strategy, we evaluate it continually to make sure your strategy is as effective as possible.

Ready to become one of WebFX’s 2,000+ clients? Contact us online to see what we can do for your company!

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