It’s Not Your Ad, It’s Your Ad Budget – Optimize Your Spend

Is your ad budget large enough? According to Nielson’s latest advertising report, the answer is most likely no. 

Anyone who advertises online and relies on this medium to reach their audience needs to check the performance of their ads regularly. When the results don’t meet your expectations, the first place most people try to optimize is the ad itself. 

Instead, we should be looking at increasing our budgets. And no, I’m not being paid by Google Ads! This information is shared in detail in this Nielson Report. I highly recommend reading and taking an objective look at your business as it stacks up. 

If you don’t want to dig into this report, here are my recommendations based on Nielson’s key takeaways. 

ad budget takeaways

1. Stretch Your Ad Budget

Every ad platform has a different AI to help advertisers improve their ads. Most advice leans towards spending more. So, we tend to be suspicious of this type of unsolicited advice.

Before you increase your budget, run a report with all your KPIs for the current month. That will be your benchmark. Then, increase your budget for a month. Review your results and if you are getting a little more ROI, try raising it again the next month and the next until you find that sweet spot.

Of course, if your ROI doesn’t improve, it’s probably something about your ad. 

ad budget impact

2. Test Ad Budget on New Media

If your targets are the right demographic for a new media, test campaigns. But do your research first. Just because you like TikTok, your brand may not land there.

You will need to adjust your campaigns for each platform. You may need to get comfortable taking some risks.

For example, podcast ads, influencer marketing, and branded content delivered over 70% in aided brand recall. But, you still need to do your homework to find the right podcast or influencer for your target. This alone tends to stop most companies from moving ahead. 


I recommend hiring a consultant or using an influencer matching platform to get started. Be aware that most influencers focus on consumers, so they tend to be more effective for B2C and B2D campaigns.  

Branded content is a little more nuanced and needs to be absolutely amazing information that your target audience cannot resist. In B2B marketing, this usually means outsourcing to a specialist, agency, or industry analyst to create custom content. You can also produce your own video content if you have the skills, team, and time.

3. Reach is Key to Using Ad Budget Wisely

This centers around targeting and making absolutely certain you are getting to the targets you want. Once you choose the media that aligns with your targets, you must match the message they want to hear or see. 

ad budget tracking

How do you know if it’s working? This requires digging into the data. Metrics to review center around engagement and time. Are your targets engaging and are they staying? 

4. Distribute Your Ad Budget at TOF & BOF

Your ads need to deliver both awareness and revenue. So, it’s important to align your channels with the buyer’s place in their journey.

All of my B2B clients use a combination of upper and lower-funnel marketing. I can’t imagine ignoring awareness (TOF) content and campaigns with so many choices on social media platforms. Your audience is out there.

“Brands can’t afford to waste valuable ads on the wrong audiences. By investing wisely and having a balanced strategy of both upper-funnel and lower-funnel initiatives, brands can reach the right audiences and maximize their ROI.”

ad budget funnel

Comparing channel ROIs can help you distribute your ad budgets, pricing strategies, and focus your team on areas that work best for your brand. 

Nielsen’s data confirms what I have been telling anyone reading my blog for any length of time: campaigns with substantial on-target reach have better sales outcomes. Pay attention and solve your marketing problems in this order:

  1. Ruthlessly Target Your Audience. Get comfortable saying no.
  2. Your Message Must Match the Customer Journey.
  3. Change Tactics Lower in the Funnel

A mere 63% of ads across desktop and mobile are on-target for age and gender in the US. That’s pathetic. The only reason marketers still have jobs is probably due to leaders not paying attention to the right metrics that demonstrate that their target audience is being reached. If you need fresh eyes on your data, schedule a consulting appointment. I work with many stakeholders to audit what their marketing teams are doing.