Digital Advertising in Singapore: Expectations vs Reality

by Harrison Lim
  “How much should my budget be?”  “How many leads can I generate per month?” “When can I start getting more leads?” “Which social media channel is the best?” “Can you guarantee me a minimum number of conversions?”

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me these questions.

As a digital business consultant, my job is to help businesses figure out what issues or obstacles they face in their digital marketing campaigns, and match them with a solution that addresses it.

I could go on and write what is essentially an FAQ, but it does not address the fundamental question at hand: why do businesses – and the people who work there – ask these questions?

Imagine this scenario: you are the sole owner of a small ice-cream shop that just opened, and you want to start a digital advertising campaign of a few hundred dollars each month to promote your business. You ask a marketing expert how much in advertising you should spend each month and he tells you the absolute minimum you should be spending each month is $10,000.

Does that mean you should go out and take a bank loan to start running Google Ads for $300 a day? Of course not. Then why do people feel compelled to ask such questions?

That is a microcosm of the two main challenges businesses face when it comes to digital marketing:

  1. Asking the right questions (instead of having the answers to the wrong ones)
  2. Managing expectations

Allow me to break both of them down.

Asking The Right Questions

When it comes to asking the right questions, people often get hung up on the wrong questions or the irrelevant details.

Take the marketing budget as an example. Before an expert walks through the door, most businesses already have a marketing budget in mind, or at the very least have an approximate amount they’d be willing to spend in the initial 4-6 months before they’d consider anything more.

Therefore, the right question one should be asking is: “for X amount of dollars per month, what kind of a digital campaign can I run and what is the goal of this campaign?”

If it is a new business, you’re better off focusing on raising brand awareness and driving traffic (and eyeballs) to your website instead of lead generation. The goal of the campaign needs to be aligned with the core marketing objective.

If you are a business owner, or someone in-charge of digital marketing for a business, it pays off to be asking the right questions.

Managing Expectations

A great example of this would be the question: can you guarantee me X number of leads/conversions?

It’s normal that we crave certainty; after all, we are only human. But in the context of digital advertising, the sheer myriad of factors that affect a business are limitless.

It would be impossible and utterly impractical to promise a cake business the same number of leads as a car dealership business. Heck, it would be just as absurd to promise two different cake businesses the same number of leads, especially if they differ in size and type.

My advice? Focus on incremental improvements instead.

Whenever a new campaign is launched, it is important to set your targets and KPIs. The first few weeks is usually when a campaign (especially brand new ones) establish a baseline of metrics, such as impressions, clicks, conversions, and so on.

From there, it’s the little adjustments or optimizations that count: adjusting your bid strategy, adding negative keywords, running A/B tests, et cetera.

Don’t expect your results in the initial months to start raking in cash right from the get-go. Unless you’re selling the cure for the common cold (and let’s face it, probably anyone could sell that!), a well-run and successful campaign often takes time and persistence before it starts to yield good results.


More questions regarding Ad spend?

If you need help in deciding which platform is best for your business,  get in touch with Harrison Lim. We’d love to buy you a cup of coffee!


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