How Long Should You Run A Marketing Campaign?

Micheal Smith

Micheal Smith About The Author

June 4, 2020 at 2:43 PM

How Long Should You Run A Marketing Campaign?

Have you ever wondered if there is a magic formula for determining the perfect length of time to run a marketing campaign? Before you consider how long you would like your campaign to last, take some time to identify specific goals that you would like to accomplish. This will help you determine a starting and stopping point for structuring your campaign. While every campaign is different, there are some general guidelines that can help you reach a decision. 

Factors That Determine the Length of Your Campaign

There are several factors that can impact the most effective length of your marketing campaign. Here are some of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering how long your marketing campaign should be. 

What Product or Service Am I Advertising?

One of the most important aspects to consider is exactly what product, service, sale or promotion you are advertising. Hot new items that many people have heard of and are already interested in buying may not need to be advertised for as long as lesser-known products. 

Once you’ve determined what you’re advertising, consider the factors that might influence how long you plan to advertise. One element for consideration could be how much of a product you have in-stock. You wouldn’t want to run an extended campaign for an item of which you have limited quantities. 

Another point that might influence your campaign timing is seasonality.  For example, you wouldn’t want to schedule a campaign for tax preparation services to start in December. Thinking critically in this way can help you decide the proper length your ads should run for, and when.  

What Type of Creative, and On What Platform Is My Advertisement Running?

Different types of creative advertisements should have different life spans and be used to accomplish different goals. When considering a branding campaign, television is the perfect high-reach vehicle to get your word out to many people at once. Though it is possible to run the same commercial for a relatively long time, seeing the same ad every day can get repetitive quickly.  Consider refreshing creative to avoid viewer wear-and-tear. Changing it up also provides you the opportunity to analyze performance midway through the campaign so that you can speak to the viewer from different angles if need be. If your campaign is centered around a timely sale or promotion, you will want to adjust creative based on the timing of your sale. Executing in short, purposeful flights will provide you the same aforementioned opportunity to judge your campaign’s performance for effectiveness.

When deciding the best creative for your campaign, it’s important to take into account the platform you’re advertising on, the length of the campaign, and what the consumer wants. For example, while a video with a voiceover works well as a TV commercial, an animated video that doesn’t necessarily require sound in order to be consumed might work better on social media. There’s a growing trend of social users that view videos without sound, making it  important to take the platform and the user’s viewing habits into account when creating the content. 

Who Is My Target Audience?

Like mentioned above, knowing your target audience can help you plan the most effective marketing creative. It can help you determine when the people who are likely interested in your campaign might be scrolling through social media, watching television, surfing the web, using their favorite apps or streaming digital content. For example, users in a younger skewing demographic might be more active on social media during the day, where users in an older skewing demographic might not be online during the work day. 

You also want to be mindful of the times of day in which your ads are running. If an ad is high energy it might be better received earlier in the day, whereas one that is more relaxed and calming could do better in the evenings as the consumer is winding down. Understanding your target audience's typical interest in using each platform and the times of day that they are most likely to do so can help you pinpoint when to schedule your advertisements. 

What Are the Goals of My Campaign?

Identifying what you would like your campaign to accomplish before you launch it can help you determine how long you expect it to take to meet your goals. Promoting a short sale on a few specific products, for example, has a much simpler end goal than introducing your community to a new business through a complex campaign that involves a grand opening party, several sales, and free items each month throughout the first year for customers who sign up for your email list.

How Well Do My Consumers Currently Know My Brand?

If your brand is a consumer favorite, you may not need to advertise for as long as you might for a lesser-known brand. However, if you are advertising to get the word out about a new company, it is a good idea to plan a longer and more in-depth campaign to establish brand identity. Customers are unlikely to forget about the brands they know and love, but it can take time to get a brand they have never heard of to stick in their minds.

How to Know When It's Time for Your Campaign to End

It often isn't hard to tell when a marketing campaign has reached its peak. By analyzing your campaign through the questions mentioned above, you can have a better understanding of how well your marketing is working and if it’s time to end the campaign or continue it. Because every business is different, it’s important that you keep your target audience in mind when doing this. You don’t want to continue marketing efforts if they aren’t properly serving your potential customers. You are familiar with which of the above points are the most relevant to your business, and by paying particularly close attention to those specific areas you are able to set your brand up for the most effective marketing campaign. 

Be Mindful of  Your Budget

Decide on how much you can reasonably afford to spend before you begin your campaign and be mindful of that. Be aware of  every aspect of your business, including advertising, so that your expected budget works in your favor and does not negatively affect other areas. If you find that you are spending more than you planned on a particular campaign and it’s producing measurable results, consider increasing your budget or reallocating marketing assets to further expand the reach of those that are working in your favor. 

Keep Track of How Your Audience Is Receiving Your Campaign

Market research on how your campaign is being received can let you know whether or not it is doing as well as you expected. It is possible to make various mistakes in the planning stages, such as miscalculating your reach on social media or misjudging how your target audience will interpret a particular commercial. Consider setting aside time midway through to determine if everything is on track. If you notice that your campaign is not being received as well as you expected it to, consider optimizing your marketing efforts by reallocating resources from one underperforming tactic to amplify a tactic that is performing on or above expectations, allowing you to execute through the planned end date.  If this is not an option, it might be time to end your push and plan your next move. 

Give Your Campaign Time to Reach Your Audience

Because some members of your target audience only use social media one or two days each week or watch specific TV shows or channels at certain times, it is important that your campaign lasts long enough to reach your target audience multiple times. While it can be a good idea to increase the amount that you advertise during the last couple of days of a long sale or the day before a major event, exceptionally short campaigns that run for less than a week are often unlikely to reach the maximum number of people who may be interested in your campaign. 

Know When Your Campaign is No Longer Making an Impact

Be realistic about the level of impact that your campaign is making. Several tools are available that can give you good success indicators, and ideal campaigns continue to produce results until the end. However, it is okay to consider ending your campaign early and moving in a different direction if it is clear that your goals are not being met.

While these guidelines provide a starting point for determining how long your campaign should run, it is important to remember that the platform and type of creative that you are using are among the most important factors. Although it is a good idea to begin a campaign with a general idea of how long you want it to run, be sure to pay close attention to how your audience is receiving it and whether your goals are being met and adjust the length of your run accordingly. For more guidelines that are specific to your business, consider working with a local media company that is familiar with the demographics of your area to decide on the most effective length for your campaign.

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