Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

How to Create a Strong Marketing Channel Mix & Why It’s Important

Shae Henrie

Sr. Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

At this point, you’ve heard the cliche: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That applies to your marketing budget, too. Like dropping a wicker basket full of eggs, your plans, money, and goals can quickly become scrambled if your single (or limited) channel starts to underperform. 

A channel mix plan is a strategy that includes spreading your budget across channels based on how they contribute to your overall buyer journey and most effectively spend your marketing dollars.

Developing a channel mix is a way to:

  • Create an optimal mix between generating purchase intent + activating purchase intent. 

  • Balance your efforts between greatest reach, high engagement, and high user intent. 

  • Test often to find which channels and tactics produce the best ROI.

You may have different priorities at this stage in your business than competitors in your industry. You definitely have different priorities than other industries. Make sure you establish a clear understanding of your goals so you can align your strategy uniquely to them. 

Read on to learn more about how to diversify your paid channel mix, including:

  • The ultimate goal of diversification

  • What channels are available to you 

  • When to add or remove channels

  • How to manage/report on those channels individually and holistically

  • What tools can best help you manage your advertising & marketing mix

How to Create an Advertising Channel Mix Plan

Financial planning is a huge part of effective advertising. A good channel strategy needs to account for how each piece uniquely adds to your bottom line and the length of time before you can expect a return on investment. Diversification strives to succeed in both these areas by using different channels to optimize your overall marketing budget.

Here’s a quick example of how diversification can optimize your marketing spend and outcomes across your buyer journey:

Let’s say you have a monthly advertising budget that you primarily dedicate to paid search. While you typically spend it pretty effectively, it can be volatile: spend too little, and you may miss quality prospects; spend too much and your cost per acquisition (CPA) may go up. On top of that, paid search more often engages a ready to buy audience which means marginal costs can go up very quickly.

What can you do to get more bang for your marketing buck? Engage future ready-to-buy customers. That means choosing channels that tap into audiences that are more at the interest stage of researching your product, brand, or service. These types of efforts nurture prospective buyers and feed into lower-funnel/high intent ads later on.

Now that we’ve reviewed the goals of diversification and provided an example of how each channel contributes to the strategy, let’s talk about what channels you may want to add to your mix.

Advertising Channels to Consider

There are tons of combinations to try when it comes to advertising, especially online. Here are a few advertising channels you may already be using, have heard of, or are wanting to start up: 

  • Display

  • Native

  • Social (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc.) 

  • Amazon

Channel Breakdown

Now that you know the channels available, let’s talk about their best uses.


Do you have a simple product or are in a familiar category? Display is a great way to reach people with high frequency for a relatively low cost.

Display ads can be used to drive interest, purchase intent, and in retargeting campaigns. Messaging and design play an important role in the effectiveness of these ads, so be clear, concise, and creative. Think of display as the digital equivalent of billboards—there’s not a lot of space for text, so whatever’s included needs to be quick and easy to understand. 


Native ads are similar to display in terms of reach and cost. These ads may show up like articles, so you’ll want to ensure you have the appropriate assets for the medium.

One note to consider: brand safety issues may arise if your ads start showing up in carousels next to undesirable promotions from other companies that are also utilizing native placement. Consider your brand’s risk tolerance before choosing to spend heavily on this channel.

Facebook & Instagram

When evaluating whether or not to run social ads on these channels, take a look at your audience and consider what you sell. Age and interests of users differ across these two Meta platforms. 

Demographics vary between the two platforms, with Facebook having an audience that skews toward age 30 and older. Instagram attracts a bit of a younger crowd, with many users being in their teens.

User metrics are another area of comparison. Facebook has a higher number of monthly users, clocking in at just over 2 billion, whereas Instagram has 1 billion. However, engagement rate flips the two platform’s numbers; brands on Instagram see a 1.6% median engagement rate, with Facebook sitting at just 0.6% according to a social media engagement study.


TikTok’s audience is made up of a younger demographic (80% between ages 16-34) that demands relevance. It’s best to advertise relevant products and services to this user base and avoid anything overly sales-y. 

While targeting capabilities are still in their infancy, TikTok has a lower ad cost compared to other social networks. Plus, the TikTok audience is highly engaged. If you have products that look great on video, then the ROI for rich media ads on this platform can’t be beat.

An additional opportunity that TikTok presents is working with Creators to help promote your brand or product. Learn more about TikTok marketing from the best.


The use for Pinterest is a bit different than other social platforms. While many other apps focus on social sharing and interaction, this platform is all about discovery and inspiration.

Pinterest can be compared more closely to creating a shopping list built from window browsing. The platform boasts 2.3x more efficient cost per conversion than ads on social media. As such, pinners are often more keen on ads, as they’re more likely to be ready to buy.

If you have a highly-visual product and eye-catching creative, Pinterest ads may be a great move.


Ads on Amazon have a 20% higher ROI compared to other forms of marketing. If your business model includes selling products, these types of ads may be a viable option to diversify your  channel strategy. Amazon ads have even been shown to impact non-Amazon sales. 

It’s important to note that you can use Amazon Ads even if you don’t sell your products on Amazon. 

When to Add or Remove a Channel From Your Marketing Channel Mix

When you notice a channel starting to underperform, your next thought may be, “is this channel worth it?” The answer will depend on your goals, audience, budget, and what assets you have.

Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating underperforming channels:
1. What is my goal for advertising on this channel, and am I meeting that goal?
If you’re trying to drive sales, take a look at current performance compared to your target number of purchases. If you’re trying to increase awareness or engagement, evaluate metrics like total impressions and click through rate. If the ads you’re running aren’t meeting the mark, it might be time to reallocate your spend elsewhere. 

2. Am I using other marketing channels that are driving those goals more effectively?
If so, those platforms may be the best place to repurpose those marketing dollars. 

3. Is there a pattern around ads that are performing well vs. ads that are missing the mark?
Take a look at the messaging and creative asset for each ad. If ads framing a product or service in one way are far outperforming those that describe or show it differently, adjust the underperformers or reallocate spend toward the winners. The same applies to ad types—if your video ads are on fire with engagement, but your static ads are ice cold, you might want to focus your budget on multimedia ads. 

4. When did I last evaluate my holistic ad strategy? 

As with everything in the digital world, things are constantly changing. What worked well for your ads six months ago may not hold true today. If your digital ads are struggling across platforms, it’s probably time to take a hard look at your audience targeting, budget, and overall channel strategy to create a more effective approach. 

5. What external factors could potentially be impacting my customers’ buying behaviors? 

Sometimes, there are factors at play that, unfortunately, are out of your control. Is there a major event occurring that’s pulling buyers’ attention away? Is a piece in the news cycle impacting your buyers’ perception about your product or service? Is an economic downturn leading buyers to be more cautious with how they spend money? If the answer is yes to one or more of these, don’t panic—plan how you can temporarily adjust your ad spend or alter your messaging to ride out these changes and come back strong once they’ve passed.  

Unifying Data and Prioritizing Across Channels

Now that you’re aware of the many different channels at your disposal to reach your customers, how can you determine which ones will work best for you?

It’s important to look at your marketing mix as a whole to understand how these advertising platforms contribute to your overall strategy. This is where unifying data, or looking at your performance collectively for each marketing channel, is key.

Whether directly or indirectly, all of your marketing efforts can impact one another. By looking at the bigger picture, you can work to improve your holistic strategy without accidentally eliminating a helpful ad, campaign, or effort. 

In order to effectively unify your data, we recommend setting up a multi-channel marketing performance strategy to ensure you can easily and consistently measure your success. 

Manage Your Marketing Channel Mix With AdRoll

We provide a streamlined experience for brands to easily launch display, native, and email, as well as manage and optimize social media ads. With AdRoll, you can engage existing customers, attract new customers, and grow your revenue. 

Learn more about what you can do with the power of AdRoll. 

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