How to set your digital marketing budget, part two – what YOU said

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Last week we asked “how do we set a digital marketing budget?” This week, your answers!

But first, a quick recap.

Digital marketing offers three benefits over traditional marketing:

  • Better targeting
  • More measurable
  • Incredibly diverse

But with those three advantages come three problems – not problems with the marketing itself, but with how our organisations engage:

  • Better targeting might mean lower visibility to stakeholders (e.g. your boss might not see your ad on Facebook)
  • More measurability might overwhelm and confuse
  • Incredible diversity means it’s hard to know where to start. 

New technology often comes with a new mindset. But getting everyone using the same mindset is a perennial problem. Here’s what some of you had to say on the topic: 


“I’ve gotten Troy Rawhiti-Forbesthe most headway by comparing SM budgeting (specifically promoted/targeted stuff on Facebook) to radio advertising: Think regions, demographics, timespan, etc.”

Troy Rawhiti-Forbes, Communications Manager, Telecom NZ



Laurel Papworth

“I would talk about LIkes and Followers as “subscribers””viewers” “readers” and Engagement as “Exposure and Reach”. Point out that traditional marketing budgets are about talking to Subscribers, social is much bigger than the traditional 5x of reach of traditional. Id point out that social is Owned and Bought attention – bums on seats (time and bodies) and traditional is Bought attention so advertising etc. I also recommend that people don’t pay for services online until they’ve used the freemium and figured out what they need. Hootsuite, blogs, Apps for Facebook, MailChimp, etc..” 

Laurel Papworth, All kinds of awesome about social media

1ecc2f8Snakk Media have a few good examples within their testimonial videos. I believe digital marketing is marketing as usual. Set an objectives, target audiences, find mechanics (channels and creative) to reach the objectives and audiences, measure outcomes and feedback based on objectives. A budget should be based on the value the mechanics of the campaign can deliver to the client. In my experience the measurability of digital media (spurred on by Google in particular) has caused clients to search for cost per click. Customers are not always ready to buy when they see an advertisement, so brand awareness still drives significant long-term return on marketing investment and should be a consideration when investing digitally.”

Gerard Campbell, Entrepreneur and Rowing Coach

2f8f17f“For us here, in Dubai, really honing in on our target audience has been super important. In such a diverse market we’ve had to be as detailed as possible with our profiles to really understand what messages we want to communicate to each segment, via the channel most relevant to that profile. That’s paved the way for us to split our budget in what we’re hoping is the best way. Like you say in your post, it’s about trialing things out and that’s what we’re doing. Once we collate the data we hope we can use it to either justify the ongoing spend or redistribute to other areas to try again. The hardest part has been in the justification of digital spend in the first place, and illustrating the benefits over and compliments to traditional marketing. That’s ongoing. I think as we start to see the results and how they relate to revenue, we’ll be able to free up more budget and allocate based on our insights.”

Paul Matthews, Social Media & Digital Manager at Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group

Thanks Troy, Laurel, Gerard and Paul for your thoughts! 

Summing up some key themes:

  • Find some measurement in digital that translates to something you really need, e.g. exposure and reach
  • Start with your customer first
  • Compare with similar media (e.g. radio)
  • Don’t be too swayed by the characteristics of the medium (e.g. just because you can measure clicks, doesn’t mean clicks matter most)
  • Test a little before making a big investment (agile approach) where possible

Extra reading: 

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