The Importance of Setting Goals and Tracking Performance in Digital Marketing

The Importance of Setting Goals and Tracking Performance in Digital Marketing

It goes without saying that all successful digital marketing campaigns start with the digital marketing team settling clear goals. Goal inform the details of the marketing campaign plan (how to get to the goal) and illuminate other objectives to reach. However, if a digital marketing team fails to set a goal properly, the campaign is doomed from the start. As such, it is absolutely critical that every digital marketing campaign have clearly defined and achievable goal; that goal is the foundation upon which the rest of the campaign relies.

But setting a goal properly is no easy task. While it may seem simple, specifying the exact objective of a digital marketing campaign is actually one of the hardest parts of planning the campaign. Therefore, it is vital for digital marketing professionals to understand how to form, analyze, and track their goals.

Choose a SMART Goal

Digital marketing campaign goals should be SMART. SMART is an acronym standing for:

Specific means narrow and clearly defined, not vague, and understood fully by all involved. “Improving sales” is too vague, “increasing by 10% the number of blue widgets sold in Florida by the end of the month” is more specific.

Measurable means having an objectively quantifiable or unambiguously qualifiable target to reach. “Selling a lot more blue widgets” is unclear and unmeasurable, since people will have different ideas about what “a lot” entails. “Increasing blue widget sales by 10%” is measurable.

Attainable means being realistic and not excessively ambitious, but still challenging and worth reaching. “Putting a widget in every home in America” is not attainable, “becoming the leading state distributor of widgets” is attainable.

Relevant means being worthwhile, aligning with company or consumer values, and fulfilling needs. “Lobbying Congress to remove environmental regulations” is not relevant, “finding cost-effective green production methods” is.

Timely means having a deadline or end-date that the goal needs to be completed by. “Releasing a new widget” is not timely, “releasing a new widget by Christmas of next year” is, because there is a clear deadline.

SMART goals have been used for decades in the professional and academic world. Until recently, their success was so self-evident that few even bothered to question them. But recent studies have confirmed what many already knew – SMART goals help people work smarter, not harder. In fact, a 2018 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that SMART goals can even be helpful in making students smarter. Resident medical students were found to study more after being briefed on SMART goals,

“SMART goals serve as a powerful primer to promote additional self-directed learning,” the study authors wrote in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. “This intervention can be readily applied to most simulation debriefing sessions and requires little training to be employed effectively.”

But SMART goals aren’t just for medical students. A number of different digital marketing campaign strategies mesh perfectly with SMART goals, which means that it’s smart to use them for digital marketing teams, too. The examples listed above are just a few of the ways that digital marketers can integrate SMART goals into their campaign plan. To really make SMART goals work well in the digital marketing world, however, KPIs are the place to start.

Getting SMART with KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure success against a specific target. Any objective or numerical goal can function as a KPI. Fortunately, SMART goals usually have key performance indicators built into the first two letters of the acronym. However, it is still important to understand KPIs on a deeper level.. As Forbes puts it:

“Too often owners fail to get an understanding of how their business operates. They fail to log any departmental metrics of their operations throughout the year, and they’re stuck with an idling business wondering where problems lay…KPIs are a pertinent part of measuring the successes and failures of your business.”

Because KPIs are data-driven, they are often tied to financial goals that measure profit margins or revenue. Perhaps the most popular and widely known KPI is net profit: the revenue left from a given period after accounting for all expenses in that same period. For many KPI measurements, net profit is converted to a percentage of revenue called the “net profit margin.”

There are many other KPIs and new ones are invented to measure performance in new situations every day. However, there are some ubiquitous tried and true KPIs that have been used for years across a diverse range of different industries. It is important for digital marketing teams to know what these common KPIs are. Even if these KPIs aren’t useful for a campaign right now, learning about these common KPIs can provide insight for designing or selecting other relevant KPIs (and the more common ones might always come in handy some day in the future). Here are some of the most widespread KPI categories and how they are used:

Customer Metrics. KPIs focused on customers tend to cover customer retention (how many repeat customers a business gets), customer satisfaction (usually based on ratings or reviews from customers) or various measures of productivity/efficiency on a per-customer basis. Some common customer metrics include Customer Lifetime Value, or CLV, which is the total quantity of revenue that a customer gives to a business over the whole lifespan of their relationship with the business, and Customer Acquisition Cost, or CAC, which is the total marketing and sales cost necessary on average to get a new customer. Many businesses also get more perspective by comparing CLV and CAC, which can help determine the efficacy of marketing campaigns that are aimed at acquiring more customers.

Process Performance Metrics. These metrics tend to analyze operational performance in an organization. One example is measuring the efficiency of a production process by dividing the total number of defective products by total product output to find out how much waste is in the process. If a significant portion of products a business makes are defective, then waste is losing the company money and that number needs to get cut down. Process performance metrics are useful for this type of analysis, such as Throughput Time which measures how long a particular process takes to run and complete.

Financial Metrics. Metrics focused on the financial performance of a company are also important. One example of this type of KPI is Burn Rate, or the rate that a company is spending money for a given period of time. Financial metrics vary considerably based on the size and type of company, so Burn Rate KPIs (especially short-term ones that cover periods in the week or month range) are most popular among small companies that cannot undertake extensive, large financial analyses but still want to look at how sustainable their expenditures are.

However, digital marketing offers a whole range of its own KPIs that are based on the unique industry they represent. But before choosing KPIs for a digital marketing campaign and learning what KPIs can do to enhance campaign goal setting, it is crucial to understand what KPIs cannot do.

What are the Limits of KPIs?

Digital marketing teams should keep in mind that KPIs are limited in their efficacy, so they shouldn’t be relied on exclusively as the only type of SMART goal that can be set. Some of their limitations are their requirement for non-stop tracking and monitoring (as well as close follow up) to be useful and the fact that they usually need to be measured over a long time to produce meaningful data. Still, their biggest limitation is their effect on workers. Since KPIs are typically numerical and quantitative, they can ignore the qualitative traits that companies need to thrive. For example, a company maximizing the widgets made per month as a KPI can end up making lower quality widgets that break easily or don’t work as intended. KPIs can also force employees to shoot for unrealistic targets, undermining the point of SMART goals and creating unnecessary stress that damages long-term productivity. Workers that are just chasing after a numeric goal are less happy and less fulfilled, which may make them more likely to leave the company for competitors or other fields entirely.

Perhaps worst of all, KPIs have the potential to lead managers to “game the system” to try and appear to meet their performance targets. Although some level of “cooking the books” is an unfortunately widespread practice in many organizations, poorly designed and implemented KPIs can turn minor number tweaking into total falsification, which can spell death for any organization big or small. The importance of getting KPIs right shouldn’t be underestimated; historically it has led to the collapse of entire nations. One classic example is the Soviet Union. After Stalin seized power in the late 1920s, he implemented a series of “Five Year Plans” that were meant to rapidly industrialize the USSR which was still reeling from World War One, the two bloody revolutions and a civil war that followed, and a crushing economic crisis. Five Year Plans, interestingly, made use of KPIs – managers of factories and collective farms were given production targets that had to be supported with measurable data.

During the Five Year Plans, goal success was measured exclusively using these production quotas, and they were the end-all, be-all of the plan. However, the quotas were usually set far too high, and were sometimes impossible to meet. By the 1930s, the pressure to reach production quotas was so high that managers routinely falsified their numbers. As the British National Archives describes it:

“If workers did not achieve their targets, they were punished. Desperate factory managers fiddled the books or committed suicide as the pressure to produce more and more became too great. If the workers succeeded in reaching targets, they might be rewarded with increased wages. But usually their targets were increased as well [leading to] problems with wastage and inefficiency in the plans.”

The lesson here is that the more unrealistic the goal is and the more pressure workers are under to meet it, the more likely they are to fabricate results. As such, when building KPIs into a goal, it is critical to ensure that the goal is reachable and that there are not excessive consequences for failing to meet it. It is almost always better to reward people for meeting KPI goals than to punish them for failing to reach the target. Another important lesson is that significantly raising KPI targets because workers reached the previous target can backfire. The USSR isn’t the only place this this has happened – in the U.S. federal government has this problem too. The “use it or lose it” approach – where agencies risk future budget cuts if they don’t use their entire yearly budget – has led to serious wasteful spending. It is counterproductive to punish people with budget cuts or drastically higher productivity targets. Finally, KPIs should never be the totality of any goal or plan, but rather be used as an objective indicator that helps paint a larger picture. Other methods of goal measurement should be implemented to compensate for the limitations of KPIs.

“Despite having multiple KPIs,” according to Forbes, “every report should tie together into a single flash for the business as a whole. Not every KPI measures the overall performance of the business. They don’t show the totality of a project’s performance.”

What KPIs Work Best for Digital Marketing Campaigns?

For digital marketing campaigns, KPIs are based more on the digital world than the financial or customer service world. While all these areas are of course still important, there are unique circumstances in the digital marketing industry that have led to innovative new ways to measure success. One of those circumstances is social media, and the way individuals can express themselves and tailor the content of their feeds. As such, digital marketing campaign KPIs are as varied and curated as the customers the campaigns are trying to reach. Still, there are some broad goals and KPIs that are often used to measure the success of digital marketing campaigns, such as:

Digital Marketing Return on Investment. Most people who have worked in the business world are familiar with return on investment (ROI), but digital marketing teams face the unique challenge of clients asking “how do we know all this digital marketing stuff even works?” Fortunately, digital marketing return on investment is the answer to that question. Calculating digital marketing ROI is easy as long as the digital marketing team can figure out what new revenue to attribute to their efforts. The equation for calculating this metric is: (Total Revenue From Digital Marketing – Total Digital Marketing Cost) / (Total Digital Marketing Cost)

Conversion Rate. The term conversion refers to users completing a desired action, such as creating an online account, signing up for a free trial, or downloading a file. The importance of conversion lies in the data it generates; every conversion is another entry in a marketing database that helps further analysis. Conversion rate is the percentage of users in a given period of time who complete the action desired and is calculated like this: (Conversions / Total Visitors) x 100%

Cost Per Click (CPC). One of the most common KPIs in digital marketing is CPC, the price paid for each click users make, typically on ads. CPC is useful for measuring the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign and is commonly used in display campaigns. It illustrates not just whether a campaign is generating clicks, but also whether those clicks are worth the cost of the campaign. It is also useful for comparison between different campaigns. CPC is calculated simply by dividing cost of an ad by total clicks.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). CPA is the average cost in marketing and sales for every new customer acquired during a campaign. It is a critical digital marketing KPI since it can make or break a campaign; campaigns that fail to acquire customers efficiently will inevitably be abandoned. CPA doesn’t apply in all circumstances, though. It is most useful when the goal of a campaign is acquiring customers that will have high lifetime value, rather than campaigns that aim to facilitate one-time sales. CPA can be calculated in two ways. The first equation is: (Total Ad Cost) / (Total Conversions). The second is: (Marketing Costs + Sales Costs) / (Number of Customers Acquired).

Cost Per Conversion (CPCon). Though similar to CPA, CPCon is a broader metric. While acquisitions refer specifically to gaining a customer, anything can be called a conversion (a sale, a lead, a download, a subscription to a newsletter, etc.) so CPCon takes a bit of a wider view. It varies and is defined by the business model and type of campaign it’s measuring. CPCon is also calculated in two possible ways, first: (Cost) / (Conversions). Note that in this first equation the term “cost” is vague; that is because the costs being used to calculate CPCon will also vary from campaign to campaign. The second equation is: (CPC) / (Conversion Rate).

Cost Per Lead (CPL). Although it can be tempting to look at the raw number of leads to measure success, that isn’t enough to mark the success of a digital marketing campaign. Lead acquisition costs have to be low enough to maintain a good margin and show significant growth. That’s where CPL comes in. It can be calculated as: (Total Campaign Cost) / (Number of Leads)

Revenue Per Lead (RPL). Measuring CPL is good, but it’s important to consider the other side of things and look at the approximate sales value for each new lead. This metric allows digital marketing teams to predict their future sales based on conversion rates and expected traffic. It also helps reveal where the most profitable leads come from so the team can allocate resources effectively and reinvest in those more profitable channels. It can be calculated as: (Total Revenue Attributed to Campaign) / (Number of Leads)

Email Clickthrough Rate (ECTR). In email marketing campaigns, the email clickthrough rate measures the target audience’s engagement. It shows whether an email is actually getting customers to take a desired action and can help the team discover what aspects of an email do and do not work. It can be calculated as: (Number of Clicks) / (Number of Emails Successfully Delivered) x 100%

Email Open Rate (EOR). It is one thing to measure ECTR and know how many people are taking a desired action, but it is important to compare ECTR to EOR. Why? Because some members of the campaign’s target audience will open an email and then not click through. EOR also shows how effective the email subject lines are at grabbing the attention of potential customers. A big difference between ECTR and EOR demonstrates that an email has an eye-catching title, but the content of the email might be failing to get customers to take the desired action. EOR can be calculated as: (Emails Opened) / (Number of Emails Successfully Delivered). However, it is worth noting that tracking of email open rate is achieved through the use of an invisible pixel on the email which, when downloaded in the email client, informs the email service provided that the email has been opened. In June 2021 Apple announced that, with iOS15, the iPhone mail app would no longer support this type of email open tracking in a bid to assure users that Apple valued user privacy. As of this writing, the impact of this change is not yet clear.

Bounce Rate. Of course, not all emails are delivered successfully. Sometimes things go wrong, such as the email list having incorrect or invalid emails. A high Bounce Rate means it is time to clean up the email list and potentially get more email addresses. The Bounce Rate can be calculated as: (Emails Sent – Emails Delivered) / (Total Emails Sent) x 100%

Cost Per Install (CPI). There are few metrics more significant for mobile app owners to measure than CPI. It is a way of measuring the number of paid installs against organic installs. For companies that are trying to extend their existing business into the mobile world, CPI is a critical indicator of where they need to invest to make sure mobile marketing is effective and reaches out to their target customer base. CPI can be calculated as: (Total Ad Cost) / (Total Installs).

After creating a digital marketing plan and selecting the main KPI metrics that will measure its success, it is time to choose what tool to measure them with.

Choosing Analytics Tools

There are a number of different platforms to manage digital and social media analytics. They fall into three categories: web & SEO tools, social media tools, and email marketing tools.

Web & SEO Analytics Tools

Search Engine Optimization and web analysis is difficult and complex, but fortunately there is an abundance of different tools to help assess the success of efforts in these areas. Here are some of the biggest ones:

Google Analytics. By far the most popular, Google Analytics runs on a freemium model provided directly by Google to help digital marketing teams track various metrics about traffic and other web performance measures. The basic version is free, but the premium version (Google Analytics 360) has a number of additional features that many find well worth the cost.

Google Search Console. This program, which is a part of Google Analytics, offers in-depth SEO reports when linked to a Google Analytics account. The service is completely free to use and does much of the SEO-based analysis that Google Analytics doesn’t offer.

HubSpot. For those looking for inbound marketing and automation, HubSpot can be used to track website traffic, social media channels, landing pages, inbound marketing, calls to action, and more. HubSpot is especially geared toward B2B companies.

Moz. One of the more comprehensive platform for web analytics, Moz offers a broad range of tools for virtually everything a digital marketing team would need to do, including: keyword analysis, SEO competition, SERP features, search volume data, and more.

ClickMeter. As a single virtual platform, ClickMeter aims to be a one-stop shop for businesses seeking to analyze and optimize their marketing links and conversion rates. If Moz is a toolbox, ClickMeter is a comprehensive multi-tool.

SimilarWeb. SimilarWeb is a platform that allows businesses to compare their website to competitors around the world, discover what sources drive traffic to any website (search inquiries, social media, referrals, etc.), and analyze target customer base interests. SimilarWeb has the unique advantage of allowing digital marketing teams to see the organic and paid keywords – even the “Google not-provided” ones – of any website.

Crazy Egg. With a number of unique tools such as Heat Map, Scroll Map, Overlay, and Confetti, Crazy Egg allows heatmap tracking of website usage. Crazy Egg is notable for its visualization features, making it easier to understand the data without getting buried in numbers. Crazy Egg also offers A/B Testing and other editing tools that are designed to help businesses build and modify content features for success.

Ahrefs. Unlike its competitors, Ahrefs is made for maximum ease of use and minimal navigation. A paid SEO software suite, it has various tools for rank tracking, link building, keyword analysis, competitor analysis, and website audits. For many businesses, the biggest draw for Ahrefs is that it is designed specifically to learn why competitors rank highly. Getting that inside information can give companies an edge by showing them what they have to do in order to outrank the competition.

Social Media Marketing Analytics Tools

Social media marketing can seem deceptively simple, but a deeper look reveals that there is much more than meets the eye. There are a handful of good programs to help dig in and gather metrics so help you engage social media users better.

Facebook Business Manager – Facebook Business Manager is your control console for paid Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns. In Business Manager you’ll build you creatives, add your copy and calls-to-action, set campaign targeting, and set the goals for the campaign. You’ll be able to track progress to goal and see engagement with your paid Facebook promotions.

AdEspresso. Hootsuite’s latest social media management suite, AdEspresso offers a wide range of helpful tools that provide real-time social media performance metrics. Some of the analytics it includes are: engagement, clicks, follow/unfollow statistics, mentions, and the performance of the social media team in responding to visitor messages and comments.

Socialbakers Social Media Analytics. A completely free collection of cutting edge social media analytics tools, Socialbakers is designed to measure social media performance against competitors. It is built on the idea of multi-channel publishing, social media listening, and analyzing competing companies’ social media accounts to learn from them.

Buffer. It can be exhausting to try and keep up with all the different social media accounts that a modern business can have, but Buffer helps by providing a platform to manage them all in one place. Buffer helps social media and digital marketing teams schedule content and publish it automatically, get analytics insights for all social media accounts, and understand how to improve performance. It also has the unique bonus feature of creating reports for managers and clients with pre-designed templates.

Email Marketing Analytics

Email marketing is like Pong: easy to learn, but hard to master. Email marketing analytics fall into several basic categories:

Email service providers (ESPs) – ESPs are the tools you use to design and send out your email marketing. They range from simple, easy to use tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact, up to more sophisticated ESPs like Salesforce and Marketo. ESP analytics generally cover open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate and bounce rate. ESP analytics will also include details on which links or buttons were clicked and some insight into deliverability.

UTM codes – Putting UTM codes on your email CTAs (calls to action) allows you to track how well each CTA does in driving traffic to your site. Using Google’s UTM code builder is the easiest way to generate logical UTM codes. You’ll track UTM codes in your site’s Google Analytics dashboard.

Email deliverability – Deliverability has to do with whether or not your outbound email marketing is being received and, if so, in what tab. If you have a Gmail account you know it has three tabs: Primary, Social and Promotion. Of course, every email marketer would like their outbound email offers to land in recipients’ Primary tabs, but can be difficult to achieve. Use Google Postmaster to monitor your IP and mailing domain reputation for recipients’ Gmail accounts. To assess deliverability across all email clients you can use a tool like Glockapps which will send test emails and measure whether they are delivered or blocked in Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, and more.

Email rendering – Every email client will read your email code slightly differently. This means that your email will look different depending on whether it is received by Gmail, Outlook, AOL, Yahoo, or others. And your email will also look different on an iPhone, Android phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Tool like Litmus and Email on Acid will test your email designs across all email clients and viewport sizes to give you clear metrics on how it will look.

Making Digital Marketing Campaigns Work

Often, the reason that digital marketing campaigns don’t succeed is not that they lack quality, creativity, or skilled team members. The actual reason that many campaigns fail is that they do not set the right goals and track the campaign’s performance.

LNP Media Group is a leading Lancaster digital agency with the staff to do all of your digital campaign management in-house. We work with businesses across the Harrisburg-Lebanon-Lancaster-York area as well as businesses up and down in the east coast. During a marketing planning and strategy session we’ll set SMART goals for your campaigns to ensure their success. And, following campaign deployment, we’ll continue to be your partner in mid-campaign optimization and post-campaign analysis. Contact us today for a free consultation.

How to Get in Front of the Lucrative 50+ Demographic

How to Get in Front of the Lucrative 50+ Demographic

Adults over 50 years of age are a prime audience for many businesses, including retirement communities, financial planners, insurance agencies, health care providers, retail shops, travel agencies, restaurants, and many more. Older adults have disposable income and the free time to spend that money. Plus, there are a lot of people in the 50+ age bracket – about 200 million according to the US Census Bureau.

This article will provide an overview of traditional and digital marketing strategies to reach older adults, especially those in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and surrounding counties such as York, Lebanon, Berks, Chester and Dauphin.

First, this article will review traditional marketing channels that are most important for reaching older adults, then this article will review specific digital targeting strategies that help businesses find adults 50+ wherever they may be on the internet.

Traditional marketing channels to reach the 50+ demographic


The average age of newspaper readers is about 57.9 years according to Nielson Scarborough, making newspapers one of the very best ways to build brand awareness with seniors. Locally, LNP newspaper commissioned an independent market research study that found that about two-thirds of their paid subscribers are 55+, making LNP a highly targeted channel for reaching older adults in Lancaster County.

Newspaper marketing has powerful benefits: you get broad reach, you can ensure exclusivity within news sections, and your ad appears alongside trusted local news stories. All these aspects are particularly important for the 50+ demographic since they were raised in an era when newspapers were the dominant source of information, long before the advent of websites, smart phones and social media. For older adults, newspapers remain a source of reliable, trusted news content. Advertising in the newspaper associates your brand with those feelings of trust and reliability.

Newspaper special sections

Most newspapers publish regular special sections which offer deep dives into specific topics of interest to older adults. Typical topics might include health care, home improvement, senior living, or travel. Advertising alongside this type of content is especially important if the products and services of your business align with the special section content. For example, a special section on home improvement would be logical choice for a business offering roofing, HVAC, plumbing, building services, kitchen/bath renovations, flooring, painting/drywall, window treatments, lawn care, hardscaping, furniture or interior design.

Lifestyle magazines

Many newspapers also publish lifestyle magazines which cover topics such as wellness, fashion, food trends, home, and garden. This type of lifestyle magazine retains the trusted voice of local news media while showcasing content that isn’t normally presented in regular newspaper pages. Businesses get a unique opportunity to present their business in the form of sponsored content (storytelling about your business) with great photography on glossy paper. This approach is not offered in the regular pages of the daily newspaper.

Direct mail

Direct mail reaches the home, has a long shelf life, can be personalized, and is very influential. A research study by Temple University and the US Postal Service found that direct mail recipients were strongly likely to remember the content of printed ads and had a strong emotional response to printed ads. Direct mail is essentially a printed ad that is delivered to the mailbox. For older adults, direct mail is familiar, personal, tactile, and non-intrusive, which are all important attributes when communicating with this demographic.

While you can send direct mail to a list of customers or prospects that you already have, most direct mail providers also offer targeted lists for purchase. These lists can be selected based on location plus demographic attributes like age, income, marital status, home type, home value and more. Direct mail list vendors also offer interest-based targeting. An example of interest targeting for adults 50+ would be an interest in golfing or crafting.

Digital marketing channels to reach the 50+ demographic

Research shows that not only do seniors (and their adult children) want to become familiar with a product or service before purchasing, going online is a popular way to do that kind of research.

Take a look at the following facts that dispel the senior/anti-tech stereotype:

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing’s value is not inherent in the content or the platform. Digital marketing is valuable for its own set of unique benefits when marketing to older adults. Most notably, digital marketing offers:

  • Refined analytics
  • Precise targeting (see our blog post on digital targeting)
  • Reliable success measurements
  • Budget-friendly options
  • Increased exposure

Across all digital platforms, there are three general categories of targeting:

  • Demographic (location, age, income, gender, etc.)
  • Behavioral (sites/apps that users have visited, or their status as a customer).
  • Interests (inferred information about users’ interests based on their behavior)

While these overall categories are consistent across all platforms, there are differences in the details. Below is an overview of the targeting options in each of the major digital channels that will allow your business to reliably reach the 50+ demographic.

Social Media – Facebook and Instagram

Facebook ad campaigns (which include Instagram) have four levels of targeting to help you reach older adults:

  • Demographic – This includes targeting by age, which is an excellent tool for reaching your businesses’ desired older adult age group. You can also use Demographic targeting to select your ad’s audience by gender and location.
  • Behavior and interests – Facebook’s list of behaviors and interests is huge. Using this targeting feature for older adults simply requires that you have a clear idea of the interests of the particular type of older adults you want to reach. For example, under Entertainment targeting, older adults are less likely to be reached by selecting Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, and more likely to be reached by selecting Word Games. If you know what your audience likes to do, this targeting feature can be very effective.
  • Custom – This option is for retargeting people who have already interacted with your brand. For example, a custom audience could be created to target people who have visited your website, added your company’s items to their shopping cart, or interacted with your company’s app. To create a custom audience, you can also upload a csv or txt file of your customers and then Facebook will use this to target your ads.
  • Lookalike – Once you have created a Custom Audience you can leverage it to find people with similar behaviors and interests. Facebook provides a sliding scale so that you can define how similar the Lookalike audience needs to be to your Custom Audience. If the current customers you used for your Custom Audience are older adults, using Facebook’s Lookalike targeting is a great way to find more older adults who are similar.
Social Media – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the #1 platform for businesspeople to connect with each other. If your target audience is older adults who are retired, then LinkedIn may be less relevant to your campaigns because the further people get from the workforce, the less likely they are to actively engage with LinkedIn.

However, if your desired audience is still in the workforce, LinkedIn’s ad manager has some powerful and unique capabilities to help you reach older adults.

  • Demographics – LinkedIn allows targeting by age, which you can use to reach older adults, plus gender and location. While demographics are a standard targeting feature across all digital channels, the following four targeting options are unique to LinkedIn.
  • Job Experience – Target your ads by job functions, seniority, titles, years of experience and skills. This is also relevant to targeting older adults based on attributes like seniority and years of experience.
  • Education – This includes degrees, fields of study, certificates and schools.
  • Company – This includes company name as well as corporate attributes, such as growth rates and size.
  • Interests and Traits – Member interests, traits and groups (relevant to peoples’ skills, careers, and education) are all targetable with this category.
Social Media – YouTube

YouTube is a video-centric social media platform owned by Google. Your business’s ads on YouTube should be short videos that auto-play before, or in the middle of, YouTube content videos. It is possible to use a static image in a YouTube video ad spot but it is not recommended because you would lose the inherent power of communicating via video to a video-focused audience.

YouTube has a comprehensive list of targeting options. The most important ones for reaching people who are 50+ include:

  • Demographics – This includes geography, age, household income, parental status, and gender. These are all excellent choices for defining the older audience you want to reach.
  • Interests – Use this type of targeting when you know what your specific 50+ target audience is interested in. Interests include topics such as avid investors, cooking enthusiasts, frequent salon visitors, etc.
  • Customer Match and Similar Segments – As with Facebook, YouTube allows you to target people who have already interacted with your website or apps, and also allows you to reach your current customers based on uploading a list. Further, YouTube can create lookalike audiences who are similar to your current customers or website/app visitors.
  • YouTube search history – YouTube allows you to target your ads based on the search history within YouTube. So, for example, you could target people who have searched for videos on “European river cruises”.
  • Competitor Channels – If your business has a competitor with a robust YouTube channel that is relevant to a 50+ audience, you can target that channel to serve your ads. This is a great way to get your products and services in front of an audience that is already consuming video content that aligns with their interests.
Targeted Display

Targeted display ads are served on the Google Display Network, which is comprised of over 2 million websites, videos and apps. It’s huge. Targeted display campaigns harness many of the same targeting options as other digital campaign types, including:

  • User based targeting – Location, demographics, interests, and affinities. User based targeting shows ads to a set of users, regardless of what websites or apps they are using. User based targeting is easy to use for reaching older adults.
  • Website-based targeting – Select specific groups of websites where you would like your ads to be displayed. This approach shows your ads to all users on the targeted websites. So, in this case, you’d want to select websites where you are confident that there is a high proportion of older users. Or, you can select specific types of content or keywords relevant to your business.

Targeted display also offers targeting options such as remarketing (serving ads to people who have visited your site), similar audiences (people who are similar to your current customer list), and in-market (users whose behavior online has shown that they may be in the market for a particular product or service).

Two other very powerful targeting options within Google Ads are Custom Intent Audiences and Custom Affinity Audiences.

  • Custom Affinity Audiences are essentially a customized version of Google’s standard affinity targeting options. You layer on additional attributes (like keywords) to define an audience that aligns with the interests of your customers.
  • Customer Intent Audiences use multiple factors to determine that a user is in the market for certain products and services. The factors might include that users have visited your competitors’ websites, or that they are using certain search terms or keywords, or that they have watched certain types of YouTube videos. Custom Intent Audiences harness the power of your users’ actual behavior to find the people who are most likely to want your business’s products and services.
Paid Search

Paid search ads are shown when users use a search engine, like Google or Bing, to search online for products and services. With paid search, your business bids on certain search terms (or keywords) that are relevant to your business. For example, if your business sells golf clubs, you’ll want to bid on search terms relevant to people who are shopping for golf clubs (e.g. “5 iron for sale in Lancaster PA”). These ads are powerful because your ad will be reaching people who have just demonstrated that they are looking for exactly what your business is selling.

There are different types of paid search ads from which to choose. For example, there are shopping ads which display one of the actual products in your e-commerce store (e.g. golf clubs) and click right through to the product page. And there are text ads, which appear within users’ text search results, with the word “sponsored” displayed above. And there are local listings, which appear next to a little map on the search results page, showing where relevant local businesses are located.


As the name implies, geo-fencing is location-based targeting. With geo-fencing, your business’s ads are served to people on their mobile devices, based on their interaction with a geographic perimeter that you define. When the person passes the geographic perimeter with their mobile device that has location services enabled, their phone is tagged as qualified to receive your business’s ads.

The value of geo-fencing is the tight radii that can be defined. For example, if your business offers financial services to seniors, you could fence local retirement communities. Other types of businesses, such as car dealerships, can fence their competitors to target people who are actively searching for a new car. Or, if there is a bridge competition at the local convention center, you can fence that area to reach what is, presumably, an older audience of bridge players.

Geo-fencing ads have about double the click-through rate of regular digital display ads making them an excellent digital tactic when you have defined location information to harness.

Digital marketing channels that are less useful for the 50+ demographic

TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat are three social media channels that have fewer older users than other digital channels. Here is the percentage of users 50+ on each of the major social media channels:

  • LinkedIn – 33%
  • YouTube – 23%
  • Facebook – 22%
  • Twitter – 17%
  • Instagram – 14% (included with Facebook campaigns)
  • TikTok – 7%
  • Snapchat – 4%


Twitter has recently had issues with user trust due to changes in Twitter’s user verification process. Until these issues shake out, businesses may want to avoid Twitter because of the risk of showing an ad alongside content that is antithetical to the business’s mission.

Snapchat and TikTok don’t have a user trust problem, but they are youthful platforms with a small percentage of senior users, and thus not the most productive place to market to an older demographic.

Digital Targeting – Final Tips

In summary, there is a vast array of options available to target 50+ adults via digital channels. However, an important tip to remember is to be careful not to over-target. Over-targeting can result in whittling down your potential audience to such a narrow slice that you miss out on reaching qualified people. Best practice is to start with geographic targeting plus one or two other targeting options that you feel are the most important. Then, see how the campaign performs before testing additional layers of targeting.

Don’t think of digital vs. traditional marketing as “either-or.” The right answer is both.

Think about how you want to allocate your advertising dollars to attract 50+ consumers; the most effective plans use the best features of both digital and traditional together to build awareness, create engagement and generate sales leads.

LNP Media Group offers a full array of successful print and digital strategies. Contact us to learn more about how to reach older adults, or any other target audience, through both traditional and digital media.


What Local Businesses Need to Know for Reaching Sports Fans

What Local Businesses Need to Know for Reaching Sports Fans

Lancaster County loves football, from high school teams to the NFL. Every Friday night, LNP readers take to the fields to watch their local high school football games. No one knows more about local high school and college sports than LNP. We offer great news reporting and highlights in print and online, and we offer a range of advertising opportunities like the High School Football Preview. So during the peak of fall sports, your business can reach fans right here in Lancaster.

When your business places advertisements in the High School Football Preview, your brand shows support for your favorite high school football team.

Why should your business care about advertising in this popular annual feature? Simple: This is the opportunity for your business to generate sales and goodwill by being a team sponsor. High School Football Preview could be a touchdown for your business.

Associate your business with a school by placing team ads.

Sports fans connect with their favorite team. Studies have shown that for fans, identifying with a favorite team is more important than being identified with their work and social groups.  Support for a certain team or club can serve as a point of identity for sports lovers. Die-hard fans will do anything for their team.

Use this to your business’s advantage. Make a connection with local sports fans by identifying your business as a high school football team fan when you advertise in the High School Football Preview.

Reach sports fans, parents, and students in Lancaster County.

Football Sports player High School in LancasterJust like the competition athletes face on the field, your business has its own competition. By becoming a team sponsor, your business will attract the sports fans in Lancaster and beat out the competition. When fall comes around, high school football games attract fans that could also become customers. It’s not just men reading the Sports Section. Teachers, parents, students or any fan of local Lancaster high school football teams could be reading your advertisement in LNP. This opportunity allows you to connect with a wide range of sports enthusiasts. Your business could be seen by the 140,000 people who read LNP on weekdays when you become a part of the High School Football Preview.

Football brings lots of hype once the season starts. People bring out their favorite jerseys, tailgating supplies, and decorations for their homes. Why wouldn’t your business want to join the hype that football season brings? It’s a smart move.

Mixing sports and marketing is a good play.

LNP will publish this special edition on Wednesday, August 30 and Wednesday, November 29, during the beginning and end of high school football season. By running your business’s advertisement twice, you can reach twice the number of sports fans and athletes! Your business can reach over 140,000 readers and potential customers with each publication.

Want to be a part of this special spotlight edition? Hurry! The deadline for space reservation is Friday, August 11th.

Beat the competition and build awareness with the High School Football Preview. Contact us now to speak with a Sales Rep!

5 Ways to Reach Pet Owners

5 Ways to Reach Pet Owners

Pets are important to their humans; they are another member of the family. Whether it be for grooming services, veterinarian services, toys, apparel, boarding, etc., pet owners shell out quite a bit of money on their pets. Pet retailers have been finding new, inventive ways to engage consumers with their brands when it comes to pets’ needs. These digital marketing strategies are just a few of the ways brands are getting their message out there to reach pet owners.

Content Marketing

Typically, when pet owners have a question about caring for their pet, they’ll use online search to find answers:

  • Appearing in search results can enable you to bring web traffic to your brand’s site through content marketing. Content marketing gives brands the opportunity to create and share pertinent information through articles, blogs, or downloadable reports, that are designed to target a specific consumer segment.
  • Content marketing is an important and effective marketing strategy because it provides answers to the questions consumers are interesting in knowing. Informative content will help the pet retailer become a trusted source to consumers, promoting brand awareness while increasing traffic to pet retailers’ websites.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the easiest and most effective digital marketing tactics for building brand awareness and increasing leads:

  • The best thing about email is that when it’s sent to the recipient, they’ll open it on their own time when they know it’s convenient for them to read.
  • Email marketing comes in a variety of types: newsletters, promotional campaigns, invitations, survey emails, etc.
  • Email can help you build relationships with customers by sending emails that include behind the scenes stories, frequently asked questions, information about your staff, local pet news, and rewards for loyal customers.

Whether you’re a dog groomer, dog walker, pet store owner, or veterinarian, you’re most likely competing with some big brands for customers’ attention. Email marketing can help you build a bond with your customers that will position you as an authority on pets in your area. This will help you get to know your customers on a personal level, setting you apart from the competition.


Events are a great way to connect with customers and build your brand. Being face-to-face with your target audience will help you develop a more personal relationship with potential customers, as you have more of a chance to interact with them. Pet owners will be most responsive to events that they can bring their pets to. This could include events at the dog park, pet-friendly restaurants, bars or cafés.

SEO Friendly Website

The quality of your website is critical because you really only have a few seconds to capture the interest of visitors when they land on your page:

  • A good website has what it takes to reach, engage, and support your visitors.
  • A few critical components your website should have in order to reach pet owners include engaging images that tell your story, a clear navigation throughout the website, calls-to-action that will entice the visitor click, and an SEO strategy to support the website.

Social Media

Customers turn to Facebook for a wide variety of information, including pet retail locations, new products, tips for their pets, coupons, or even events. Facebook is the best social media platform for pet retailers to be on. With Facebook’s particularly targeted and effective Ads platform, it’s a guaranteed way to reach the pet owners:

  • According to The American Pet Products Association, it is estimated that approximately 37 to 47 percent of all households in the U.S. have a dog, and that 30 to 37 percent have a cat. With 90 percent of young adults ranging in ages 18 to 29 and 65 percent of adults overall on social media, there’s potential for a large amount of leads for pet retailers.
  • Using Facebook’s analytics, you’ll be able to see what types of posts have the biggest impact on your audience and when most of your page’s fans are online. This information will help you craft content for the utmost impact.

If you are a pet retailer looking for more marketing ideas, contact us. We’ll help you develop a plan that’ll reach pet owners.

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

The Power of Social Media

We don’t need to sell you on the importance of social media. With more people on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and X (formerly known as Twitter) than ever before, social media marketing has rapidly become one of the most effective tools for targeted digital marketing. Social platforms have the unique advantage of collecting interests, job titles, and demographic data on users through their social profiles and their engagement with content within the platform. The digital experts at LNP Media Group have designed hundreds of successful social media campaigns for a wide variety of use cases and are ready to take your business’s social media marketing to the next level.

Still on the fence?

Not sure if a social media campaign is right for your business? Check out our case studies to see what we’ve done for our clients through social media. Want to talk to a member of our team for more information? Contact us and we’ll answer any questions you have and work with you to develop the right campaign for your needs.

What you Receive

Transparent Reports

We’ll measure the performance of your social media ad campaigns by tracking all clicks, views, shares, and conversions. We also use proven ad optimization techniques and A/B testing to improve your return on investment (ROI) so that you get the most out of your campaign. Using tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and Facebook’s Business Manager, we’ll accurately track your campaign metrics and provide you with a detailed report upon your campaign’s completion.

Advanced Audience Targeting

Using Facebook’s targeting capabilities, our team can identify consumers most likely to make purchases from your business. Your Facebook and Instagram ads will be presented to this targeted audience. We use demographics, interests, hobbies, location, behaviors, and more to identify the individuals most likely to convert.

Creative, Consistent Content

We develop and execute social media campaigns that align with your brand and keep your messaging consistent. We will creatively engage potential customers based on your goals and send them to your website, social media page, or a customized landing page. Our campaigns will ask them to fill out a form, sign up to receive your email newsletters, enter a contest, take a quiz/poll, or engage with your business in a variety of other ways.

Landing Pages

Our custom landing pages are designed to enhance conversion-driven campaigns. Landing pages may include forms to capture leads and user data. Your email or retargeting ads can click through to a coordinated landing page that will feature a clear call-to-action and engaging content to drive conversions. We offer custom landing page design for any type of digital marketing campaign.

A custom landing page can aid any digital marketing campaign

Results Matter

You want to be sure that you’re investing with a company that is knowledgeable and has a history of success. Our results speak for themselves; our clients love their experience with LNP Media Group. Check out our case studies for more examples of our clients’ successes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do my own social media marketing?

Social media marketing has rapidly developed from simple posts to complex campaigns designed to reach specific target markets. You can’t rely on just creating organic social media posts because they only reach about 6% of your fans. And, boosting a post has only limited targeting options. True social media marketing requires knowledge and expertise in digital design, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Facebook Business Manager, and audience development. We have the expertise to create a cohesive social media campaign that will reach tens of thousands of people in your exact target market.

Will social media marketing work for my type of business?

If your customers use the internet, we think so! A portion of nearly every business’s customer base uses social media. By advertising on these platforms you can target people whose interests most closely align with your business.

Which platforms should I use?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this question. Choosing the right social media platform for your business depends on your goals, your target audience, and on the products and services you offer. If you’re not sure which platform to choose, contact our team to discuss your goals and get advice on which platform will best suit your marketing needs

How much should I spend on social media marketing?
Social media is a “pay to play” platform. This means that the more money you spend, the more your ads will be displayed to users. By starting out with a smaller amount, we can assess the impact your ad spend is having and adjust from there. Once we help you identify what works best, we can optimize the amount you’re spending to get the most impact for your money.


The Secrets to Getting More People into Your Restaurant

The Secrets to Getting More People into Your Restaurant

Good Food Starts with High-Volume Marketing

You have great food. Your restaurant looks good. And you finally got the back of the house into working order. All you’re missing are the crowds of hungry patrons. While Lancaster County is famous for having more than its fair share of outstanding eating options, not all restaurants are experiencing the same levels of success.

With so many great options available for diners, Lancaster restaurants need more than word of mouth to keep momentum going. In this super-competitive marketplace, smart advertising can make the difference between busy kitchens and layoffs.

Start with Awareness MarketingEvery Thursday over 40,000 households turn to Entertainment Lancaster to plan their weekends.

You need to reach large numbers of people without paying a fortune. LNP Media Group offers a variety of media options developed especially for restaurants. In addition to vibrant newspaper options and the area’s most visited website, LNP Media also publishes several specialty publications that can also increase awareness. Each Thursday L
NP publishes Entertainment Lancaster, also know as EL, which is the area’s most comprehensive guide to weekend activities, destinations and events. Fly After 5 targets people in Lancaster County looking for exciting nightlife options, including restaurants, festivals and drinks. LNP Media Group also offers Spanish-language ads in LaVoz, the county’s only Spanish-language newspaper. There are so many ways to reach the patrons you’re looking for. We can help you make smart choices that make sense for your business and your bottom line. Contact us to find out more.

IFly Magazinenvest in Photography

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for restaurant owners, it may actually be worth more. Today’s restaurant patrons not only look at photos of food online, they may be posting some of their own! Make sure you supplement their amateur photos with a professional shots of your own. Lancaster County has dozens of young photographers who are both eager to work and affordable. Once you upgrade your food photography, your ads will work better, your social media will get more attention and the perceptions of your restaurant and its food will skyrocket.

If you’re not ready for a website, spend some time with your Facebook page.

Many restaurants skip the website, and honestly, in today’s digital universe, that’s okay. But it’s not okay to treat a Facebook page like a website. You can’t set it and forget it, or update it twice a year. Facebook pages require regular content. We recommend creating new posts daily. You should be promoting new menu items, changes in hours, talk about how you handle food allergies, features shots of guests and employees, and generally create a daily conversation. Facebook pages that look and feel like abandoned property reflect poorly on your establishment.

Advertise on Facebook and Instagram

A few years ago, Facebook purchased Instagram. Now you can place ads on both platforms that are geographically targeted. You can also refine your ad delivery by specifying people of a certain age, gender or interest. Want to promote new gluten-free menu items? Facebook and Instagram can send ads only to people concerned about gluten allergies. Have a pricey menu? Just send ads to higher income groups in Lancaster County. You may be surprised by the ease and cost of these new media. LNP Media Group’s experiences social media experts can help make the most of your campaigns by creating and placings ads, creating special promotional landing pages and even creating and monitoring content.

You Have Dozens of Marketing Options

LNP Media Group offers a variety of print and online publications. We offer a wide range of digital marketing tools and social media content and advertising opportunities. If you haven’t talked to an LNP Media Group representative lately, you may be surprised at how flexible and affordable our offerings can be. Contact us today and let’s get reacquainted.

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.
LNP Media Group is a division of Steinman Communications, one of the largest and most experienced communications companies in the Mid-Atlantic. Steinman Communications is an innovative, multi-channel communications company that delivers high quality news, information and entertainment to diverse audiences.