Digital Marketing Campaign Goals & Structure

How do you make digital advertising as successful as possible? Which Ads products are best for you and your business goals?

Overtop Media Digital Marketing experts spend a lot of time thinking about these questions. Check out three key steps to help you answer them, with a particular focus on best practices for performance goals. We will be exploring Google Ads, YouTube, and more. 

1. We Always use data to set goals.

We always structure our ad campaigns towards clear goals.

What do we want to achieve with an ad campaign?

This is our marketing objective (MO). Our ads products are designed with a particular focus on these five: Awareness, Lead Generation, Online Sales, Offline Sales, & Mobile Growth.

What metric do we have to improve to fulfill that MO?

This is our key performance indicator (KPI). Generally speaking, Conversions are and should be the focus. 

What value does the KPI have to hit to be successful?

That is our campaign goal. This value is determined by the ROI required by our business based on the Customer Lifetime Value (or nearest proxy to this).
This framework helps us evaluate the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of our marketing efforts.
MO Examples of KPIs Examples of Campaign Goals
Reach, frequency
Cost per individual lifted
Lead Generation
Calls, contact form completions
Cost per lead, return on ad spend
Online Sales
Purchases, subscriptions
Cost per acquisition, return on ad spend
Offline Sales
In-store visits, appointment sign-ups
Cost per acquisition, cost per store visit, return on ad spend
Apps + Mobile Growth
Cost per install, cost per daily active users
Installs, engagement

Choosing a goal. A useful campaign goal is:

Results can be clearly measured.
Goes beyond what we would naturally achieve without any media spend.
Commercially viable
Produces positive return on investment.

Performance campaign metrics

When we work on campaigns to grow sales or revenue (which we call “performance” or “direct response” campaigns), we typically set targets for:
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
Tells us how much we are willing to pay to acquire new customers. The reason CLV is so vital is that it helps us set the CPA with the appropriate financial return.
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
Tells us the revenue we return for every dollar of ad spend we invest in our campaigns.
Overtop Media uses multiple tools that can measure conversions directly attributable to your campaign’s performance.

2. We use conversion tracking to unlock powerful automation

Conversion tracking

A conversion occurs when a customer completes a valuable action (e.g. a purchase). Read more about conversion tracking here. Conversion tracking is critical because:

  • It shows whether the campaign is effective in driving the desired KPIs and goals.
  • It allows us to calculate the campaign ROAS or CPA, to see if the campaign is cost-efficient.
  • It allows us to save time and improve efficiency by unlocking automated bid strategies for best performance.


We use powerful machine learning algorithms to help get the right ads in front of the right customers. Once we’ve set up conversion tracking, we always implement automated bidding.

  • Automation optimizes our campaigns towards a metric or objective (eg. CPA).
  • It’s guided by our CLV (customer lifetime value) and our target ROI (return on investment).
  • Saves us time, providing both flexible control options and insightful reporting tools.
  • Ensures efficiency by placing the right bid at the right time.

Dynamic creatives

Another great form of automation we access via conversion tracking is dynamic creative formats. We’ve seen that machine learning outperforms manual testing of our creative assets. We use dynamic creatives because in our experience, they deliver more revenue/sales per media dollar spent.

  • These ads are driven by machine learning algorithms to show images and/or text tailored to different customers & contexts.
  • With up to 30 individual text, logo, video and image variations, there are 45K+ potential permutations available to test.
  • Examples include Responsive Search Ads and Responsive Display Ads. They can be used in Search, Display, Shopping, Discovery, and App campaigns.

3. Waterfall media planning

A waterfall methodology allocates budget to different channels based on their efficiency. We almost always find it best to target remarketing lists before anything else, on all platforms. Additionally, conversion lift tools are especially important to activate to ensure proper accounting of incremental sales.

  • The best-performing channel receives full funding until it captures all available demand within our CPA and ROAS goals.
  • At this point it’s considered fully-saturated; only then does the second best-performing channel begin receiving funds, and so on.
  • We continue prioritizing channels in this way until our overall CPA or ROAS reaches the goal set by our CLV.

Running multiple campaigns and products across advertising channels can be complicated.

We’ve found that prioritizing our best-performing channels ensures we remain financially laser-focused and measurement-oriented. The waterfall approach works equally across large and small budgets, and for both single-country and global campaigns.

Every campaign is different, the products we recommend using at each waterfall tier, depends on your marketing objective. 

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