Most marketers are using a mix of search, display and social ads as part of their paid digital media campaigns. Each one of these ad types should serve a unique purpose in a company’s overall strategy. Adobe and Econsultancy say that defining the purpose will also adawarenesshelp a business more effectively optimize the performance of each format type.

The Econsultancy research points out that about 40% of the digital marketing budget goes to paid media. Yet, 57% of marketers have limited optimization of their buying across digital formats and 22% have none.

Businesses should start by asking themselves why they’re buying specific formats. For paid search, 40% hope to gain direct online sales and 38% are looking for lead generation. Only 26% of online display marketers expect to generate online sales from the effort but 37% hope online display will bring them leads. Social media is all about branding for 27% of marketers. And, 37% of marketers also expect social to result in leads.

How exactly are marketers optimizing their paid search? Landing page testing (48%), managing along with SEO (45%), and bid management (38%) are the top tactics. Note that for marketers who use agencies, landing page testing is far more important. 54% of agencies say it is their top priority. The best display ad strategy for marketers (56%) and agencies (53%) is targeting by segment. Both groups like retargeting as a second option (45%). After that, details like content placement, content rotation, and real-time bidding come into play. The researchers noted that audience targeting is also the top strategy for social media advertising.

Marketers say they are still struggling with having enough resources to properly manage the optimization of different digital ad formats. More investment in the right systems could help with that problem.

Are you optimizing your use of paid search, display and social ads?