Digital Marketing Expectations vs Reality

Digital Marketing: Expectations vs Reality


Digital Marketing Expectations vs Reality
Digital Marketing

We’ve worked with Digital Marketing companies of all sizes in all industries and one of the most common questions we are asked is “when can I start to expect results from my digital marketing campaign or my new website?”

This is a hard one to answer because there are many variables to consider, Digital Marketing Expectations EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY including:

  • Your budget
  • Your website
  • Search engine landscape



Wow – the above was probably a lot to take in! The timelines I mention above are general estimates and in addition to what I include, you must also consider these variables when thinking about your digital marketing timeline.

Your budget

This is always the hardest thing to discuss with clients. Budget isn’t just related to ad budgets for Google, etc. but it also applies to the work you recruit your agency to do for you each month.

In general, we recommend a service level of around $800 – $3,500 per month. What’s included in each service level varies by client, but we’ve found that our most successful retainers are in the $2,000 – $3,000 range.

To summarize, when entering into a digital marketing campaign, if your budget is on the smaller end, most agencies will still work with you. But they should set your Digital Marketing expectations and understand that a smaller budget isn’t going to have as strong of an impact.

Your website

If you have a website that is a little older, it’s still possible to market it and help improve it for SEO. However, if your new agency suggests a redesign, it’s important to consider it.

Your website is vital when it comes to SEO and if it’s outdated and beyond salvaging, any new paid advertising or content creation will not help a whole lot.

We’ve encountered a situation a client with an older website (built by Dex). It wasn’t very responsive/mobile-friendly, the content was below average, and the overall usability was not great. Since these factors are all a part of SEO and getting new traffic/conversions, the marketing we had running didn’t perform as well.

Search engine landscape

As we stated, Google changes its algorithm multiple times per DAY. Most of these changes are subtle and not noticed in website traffic, but some of them are a little bigger.

For example, in June 2019 alone, Moz reported the following:

  1. Site Diversity Update – June 6, 2019
  2. Core Update – June 3, 2019

Your website is competing in a different environment now than it was even just 6 months ago. As I mentioned, most of these changes are smaller and go unnoticed, but the larger ones can have major impacts.

It’s up to you or the agency your working with to stay on top of those changes and make sure your website and any marketing you are doing is updated accordingly.


To summarize all of this, it’s important that as you begin a relationship with a new digital agency that you are patient in expecting results.

SEO and digital marketing, in general, are both art and science; it takes time to see results. As an agency, we have a lot to juggle and we do our best to educate clients and set expectations clearly to avoid any future fallout.



We expect a lot of things in our daily lives. But that does not mean all expectations are fulfilled. The same case is with digital marketing.

Many companies do expect a lot from digital marketing and the result doesn’t turn out to be the same.

There are many small business owners who are disappointed with digital marketing.

There is a lot of difference between expectation and reality. While dealing in digital marketing, you need to understand the base reality and what exactly you can expect.

In this blog, we will see some expectations that marketers have from Digital Marketing and what exactly is the reality.

Expectation: Digital Marketing Generates Much Better ROI

Reality: Only When You Really Know What You’re Doing

Every business that hires a digital agency–even the businesses who come to us after they realize agencies aren’t what they really need–does so thinking digital marketing immediately makes them more profitable. Hence, we often encourage our customers and prospects to inquire about their Digital Marketing expectations vs reality of paid media. Funny enough, what seems to be a universal truth is that digital marketing is very expensive. Even more so, it is difficult to succeed in digital marketing.

And it’s not just our customers’ opinions. Research shows that most digital agencies command much lower margins with their tactics than they’d have you know. In fact, 46% of paid search marketers report poor-to-average ROIs; and, 67% of display marketers report poor-to-average ROIs for their channel. The truth is that it’s hard for digital marketers to succeed and bring you the results they promise.

Expectation: Your Paid Media Will Be Profitable Almost Instantly

Reality: Only If You Set Up Your Campaigns Correctly In Conjunction with Actionable, Historical Data

Even Google, with their fantastic free training for Ads, talk about the importance of setting up your campaigns correctly, with the right goals in mind. But everyone (including Google) underplays the difficulty and amount of work that actually goes into running successful paid media campaigns. Of course, you need to create relevant ads for your target market; you need to test and re-test; you should add re-targeting (the list goes on). And you have to constantly monitor these parts of your campaign and every possible variable: bid adjustments, all modifiers, device, audience, and so much more.

Expectation: Expanding Brand Awareness = Conversion Increase

Reality: Only If You’re Optimizing for Conversions

For quite some time, many digital marketers have believed in a “spray-and-pray” approach to using display marketing tactics. Basically, if you cast the widest net, you’ll catch the most fish out of anybody, right? This logic seems to make sense at first. But what current best practices teach us is that brand awareness doesn’t really mean anything unless you a) know your best-fit audience and b) drive them to convert.

In reality, casting a wide net with display is really expensive. And if you don’t have the right cost-of-sales, cost-per-acquisition, or return on ad spend metrics set up, you run a major risk of not hitting your ROI. Bottom line: do your homework. Cast a good-size net to your ideal potential customers. And stop at nothing to reel them in and make them convert.

Expectation: “Let’s Try This for a Month And See Where We End Up” = No Risk

Reality: You Should Never “Test Drive” Digital Marketing

It takes time, strategy, dedication, and going back to the drawing board multiple times to achieve real results. And while it might make sense to run time-sensitive paid media campaigns, you should give campaigns at least a month and a half (we recommend three or more) to perform. It might seem like a good idea to “test” for a given time, but in reality, you should “test” your campaigns at least weekly.

Try optimizing for success by targeting more audience similar to those who converted. Additionally, tweak your bids, your modifiers, and devices. You can also learn a lot from your Google Analytics and try to glean what your web tracking shows about how your paid media is functioning. Are people bouncing from your site after clicking an ad? It’s possible the ad is not relevant–or they’re the wrong type of audience. Hence, you need to ensure your expectations vs reality are in alignment.


Reality: No, the reality is far away from the expectation. We know that traffic is a very important factor to get leads.

First of all, do you just want traffic or you want relevant traffic? Now the question that arises is, what’s the difference?

Well if you sell tables then you must want people interested in furniture, not in something else.

Most important thing don’t forget about your conversion rate.

Through many tactics, you can bring billions of viewers to your website, but if it’s unpleasant and slow, then they will never come back.

The reality is actually more relevant traffic brings more business.


Reality: Doesn’t matter big or small. If you are running a business and providing products or services, you need to be online. Once your business is online, digital marketing is very essential for your business.

Suppose you are marketing your service to people under the age of 34, you cannot afford to be invisible on the Internet.

If anyone is interested in your product or service, the first thing he will do is, look for you online and gather more information.

Now the time has changed and having an offline-only business, is the tale of the past.

The reality is digital marketing is for everyone – big, small, startup, old business anything.


Reality: You might think that creating unique and good social content is sufficient for your marketing strategy.

Reality is a bit far from this. If you want to beat out your competitor, you will have to create high-quality content.

It can be video, image or audio, it has to be excellent and innovative.

You should always have a strategy to drive your data on the internet to get more attention.

The reality is only unique content is not enough for social media, you need to understand the strategy to increase engagement on that post as well.


Reality: If you think that just having a digital marketing strategy is enough, then it’s not going to be enough.

First of all, you need a good digital marketing approach that is going to pay off.

To make it happen you have to consult with a digital marketing professional before implementing any new strategy.

The reality is, yes you can make more money with the help of digital marketing.

But this is possible only if the right techniques are applied in the right place.


Reality: To some extent, it is factual. Paid ad increases the visibility but it’s not assured.

Your content quality has to be on top. Paid ads give more access to the user, it does not improve the quality of your ad. A customer will only click on your ad if the ad will be attractive to him.

The reality is, that although paid ads can increase the traffic, but the quality of the content also plays an important role in this.

Conclusively, we can say that digital marketing is a much-needed way to promote your business nowadays.

All your expectations can be fulfilled if your digital marketing experts are following the trends and upgraded ways.

If you have any experience to share about what you expected from digital marketing and what it turned out to be, please do comment in the box below. Also, let us know what you want to read on next and we will have it published for you.

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