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3 challenges to overcome with self-serve digital conversion tools

As marketers have turned to self-serve ad platforms, they’ve found that these tools can lack connection to actual purchase results. AdAdapted’s Molly McFarland shares how marketers can respond to the top challenges of self-serve digital conversion tools.

5 min read

Digital Technology

3 challenges to overcome with self-serve digital conversion tools

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Marketers’ top priority has always been turning curious visitors into returning and loyal customers. In today’s digital age, this objective requires a stronger focus on digital channels and finding new and innovative ways to reach their target audiences.

Companies know that these digitalization efforts are necessary to succeed and build brand awareness, with analyst firm IDC predicting that digital transformation efforts will drive $6.8 trillion in company investments by 2023.

Yet, with so many advancements in technology, marketers face the challenge of analyzing complex tools and tactics as they look for creative and effective ways to reach their audiences. For example, if a brand is looking to test or enter a new market, a full-blown martech platform may not meet marketers’ immediate needs. That’s because these platforms are often difficult to manage, prohibitively expensive and complex, and require a high minimum investment, especially for emerging brands.

As a result, many marketers have turned to self-serve platforms that allow them to quickly develop impactful campaigns that fit their company’s needs. However, even self-service tools can lack connection to actual purchase results. There also are still numerous other challenges, including the amount of budget and talent required to get the most from an investment.

To succeed, marketers must understand the immediate challenges of self-serve digital conversion tools and how they can overcome these roadblocks to generate more impressions with their campaigns.

Few resources to invest

One of the biggest challenges for brands to implement digital conversion tools and strategies is the amount of time and money that is required to see an impact. This is especially true for smaller and emerging brands, who must shift priorities and budgets accordingly as they enter new markets.

Often there also is no differentiation against larger players competing for the same awareness-focused marketing. This drives up investment and dilutes the amount of effort put into the campaign.

To combat this challenge, marketers must look to platforms that give them control over their budget and require low campaign minimum spending.

Regardless of the extent of their resources, brands can still find ways to make impactful impressions that generate a better return that is easily tied to purchase.

Limited amount of expertise

Marketers must have a good understanding of how platforms work to effectively run a digital marketing campaign. Whether it’s on Google Ads or Facebook, they must learn the ins and outs of each platform to manage their campaigns effectively. This can be a complicated process.

With a steep learning curve, brands may have to turn toward finding a knowledgeable partner, paying a premium and depleting resources even further.

Self-serve digital conversion tools that are easy to use empower brands to activate consumer marketing quickly and efficiently. An intuitive platform that can run always-on ads and boost performance on the fly is exactly what marketers need to drive high-value and impactful advertising — even without specialized expertise.

Reliance on discounted conversion

Many brands make the mistake of solely relying on coupons and in-store activations to drive conversion. The problem with this strategy is that each comes with a high cost, which can affect margins. They also do little to drive loyalty because consumers are conditioned to only purchase the brand’s product when it is not a full price.

Rather, brands should consider pairing these conversion efforts with their digital marketing campaigns to earn the consumer’s purchase. Targeting an exclusive audience in the right place, at the right time can increase purchase behavior and gain a competitive edge over category competitors. Using digital marketing to target consumers throughout the shopping journey can help to drive brand awareness and conversion.

Shopping list marketing gives marketers control

To combat these hurdles, marketers can respond with a shopping list marketing strategy. With shopping list marketing, marketers can find and influence consumers when they are building their shopping lists, enabling consumers to add promoted products directly to their digital lists or carts — before they set foot in the store.

It’s a competitive and noisy environment out there, and marketers are finding it tough to get their target audience’s attention.

They also are faced with obstacles to reach their goals, ranging from budget to a lack of in-house resources.

The good news is that with a strong, self-serve strategy in place, brands can maintain control over their creative, audience and budget with their digital marketing campaigns as they launch products, enter new markets and drive business.


Molly McFarland, co-founder and chief revenue officer of AdAdapted, offers a unique perspective being a woman in the tech startup world. A native of Maine and a graduate of Tulane University, Molly began her career as a marketing professional and has since grown into an impressive, innovative and charismatic founder of a fast-growing advertising platform. Molly brings expertise in the mobile advertising environment, add-to-list solutions and extensive knowledge on how to reach consumers in an ever-changing ad space.