Online Ad Campaign

Online ad campaigns are often a part of experiments we conduct in the Validate phase - either to explore open questions or to validate hypotheses. We describe on this page key elements and how we use them in the context of Business Design sprints.

1. Purpose

We need ads or other promotional campaigns e.g. to test our sales message on chosen marketing / sales channels or simply to get traffic on our Landing Page / prototype / lean offerings for further testing (e.g. call-to-action "Sign up for free trial", "Get a quote"). The challenge is to choose the "right" channels and messages for your campaign to create insights that help you making better decisions in your project. Depending on the channel, you can e.g. place your ads online as display ads, search ads, video ads, social ads, message ads etc. or offline in magazines & newspapers, tv, radio, billboards, direct mails, leaflets and so on. We love to use online ads like search ads or social media ads in the Validate phase because they can be set up easily by the project team itself with a flexible budget. You usually pay-per-click (PPC) a certain price depending on the size of your audience or on how competitive your chosen keywords are (e.g. 2.00 € cost-per-click (CPC)).

 2. Key Elements




Where does your target group spend time online? Choose a channel to advertise or select multiple for cross-channel advertising e.g. search ads on Google, social media ads on Facebook or LinkedIn or any other platform or advertising network for your display ad.

Target group

Define the target group you want to reach in detail. Google search ads use keywords to define your target group plus some extra attributes like ad scheduling or targeting based on region and device. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram allow much more advanced targeting e.g. by location, company, job description, interests, skills, etc. It‘s even possible to upload a list of email addresses of your customers or non-customers you want to target with tailored content (but please consider DSGVO compliance).

Ad format & content

Depending on your chosen channel and ad format, you have to prepare a catchy title that fits to your target audience and other content like a picture, video or call-to-action (CTA) button. Take care to include a strong call-to-action by using vocabulary like "Download now", "Ge a quote", "Schedule a demo" and include if possible eye-catching terms like "free", "discount", "limited offer", "special offer" to increase conversion.


Where does the ad take the user? You can send them e.g. to a conversion-oriented landing page for further testing. Use the same vocabulary and call-to-action you already used in your ad on the landing page.


Define the (daily) budget (your CPC bid) you want to spend in a certain time frame. 

3. Usage Scenarios

4. Instruction for Coaches

  • There is no need to be an online marketing expert to set up a simple campaign e.g. on LinkedIn. Take care that your team has the guts to create online campaigns by their own. There is no need to waste time and money for external expert at that stage. Linkedin provides a nice template to decide on the right ad format and plan your campaign properly.

  • Online ad campaigns are a great tool to test different sales messages or target audiences. Use A / B testing to compare their performance.

  • In case your team is not sure about finding the right words in your campaign, Google Trends helps you to compare keywords and tells you how often they are used in a certain region.

  • Discuss in your team based on your planned Hypotheses & Experiments what you will learn from either clicks on ads or conversion rates on your actual target page before staring a campaign. Define the a threshold wisely. In many cases, it's not the general Click-Through-Rate (CTR) we look at, but the detailed CTRs per job title or per industry that help us to learn more about our audience.

  • Online ad campaigns may need some time. The smaller the target audience (e.g. on Linkedin) the more time you need to reach it. We recommend a minimum of two weeks, better four weeks. Start adapting your audience after one week to reach better results.

  • Take care that the team does not violate any privacy law (DSGVO).

5. Example Tools