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Setting Yourself Up for Insights Success With Strategy & Planning

How often have you found yourself working late nights and stressed out at the beginning of the month, trying to create client reports for the previous month? Your client is asking for more than just the numbers, but after drowning in a sea of impressions, clicks and activities, you’re completely cross-eyed and can’t find any insights to share. If this scenario is all too familiar, we’re here to help. One reason for this struggle might be that your digital campaign strategy wasn’t set up for insights success.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to plan campaigns with the end goal of generating insights for your clients. Running digital campaigns is like running a science lab — there’s a process that you need to follow to make the most of every campaign dollar.

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To start, you need to identify two things — your unique business challenges and your audience. What is your unique business challenge? Are you trying to generate more leads through your website? Looking to increase sales? Launching a new product? Once you’ve identified your challenge, you need to identify the audience you want to reach. Are they current customers or new customers? Millennials or boomers? Male or female?

Combine your business challenge and audience to determine what type of campaign to run. Want to reach millennials and entice them to try out your product for the first time? A social media campaign is probably a good fit. Looking to reach customers that have actively researched competitor products? A search campaign would probably work well for you, along with a targeted display campaign focusing on in-market third-party data.

You’re not out of the woods yet on strategy and planning. Once you know what type of campaign you are going to run, you need to pick a specific goal and determine how you are going to measure it. If your goal is increasing website traffic by 25%, you should use a website analytics tool like Google Analytics to measure traffic over time. If your goal is selling 500 units within six months, you should link your ecommerce data to your ad server so that you can connect your advertising results directly to your sales numbers. Whichever goal you pick, make sure that your reporting includes your goal metrics.

Why Testing and Learning From Insights Matter

You might be wondering why clients keep asking for those insights. Let’s consider some real-world examples that show why testing and learning to gain insights is crucial to an advertiser’s digital campaign strategy.

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Scenario 1: Which day of the week is best to promote flash sales?
A retail advertiser wants to figure out which day of the week is best for flash-sale promotions. The retailer has guessed it’s Friday but wants to be sure before moving more budget to Fridays. The advertiser builds out reporting that shows performance by day. After three weeks of comparing day-over-day reporting, the advertiser notices that Friday and Saturday have the best response rates, vastly outperforming the rest of the week. The retailer now knows with confidence that Friday and Saturday are the days to promote flash sales and spends more money on those days.

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Scenario 2: Using A/B testing to evaluate a new audience.
A hotel chain’s main demographic is business travelers age 35-50. However, it is starting to see increased bookings from the 25-35 age group. The chain would like to test which demographic is more responsive to online advertising. The campaign is set up in two sections —targeting ages 25-35 and ages 35-50. The rest of the campaign settings remain the same. Final reporting showed that the 25-35 age group had more online bookings, even though the older group still had more overall hotel stays. The hotel chain now knows they should continue to invest in digital advertising to a younger demographic to build out their overall customer base.

Picking Insights to Test — What Are Your Options?
Now that you know how to set up your campaign strategy to discover audience insights, what possibilities are out there? There are several different types of strategic insights you could uncover about your campaigns. We’ll walk through each general variable.

Audience

behavioral targeting icon

Definition:

You can segment your audience in several different ways: demographics, interests and purchase behavior.

Examples:

Demo: A18-34 vs. A35-50

Interests: Auto Enthusiasts vs. Outdoorsy

Purchase Behavior: Purchased Within Last 3 Months vs. Purchased Within Last 12 Months

Creative

Call-to-Action Icon

Definition:

The possibilities for A/B creative testing are endless: call to action, logo placement, image, background color, button size & color, offer and messaging. For a true test, all elements of the creative need to stay the same except for the comparison being tested.

Examples:

Call to Action: Learn More vs. Shop Now

Logo Placement: Bottom Left vs. Upper Right

Timing

Timing Icon

Definition:

When customers see your message can impact how effective it will be. You can test out different times of day and different days of the week to see when your customers will be most receptive.

Examples:

Time of Day:  6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. vs. 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Day of Week: Fridays vs. Rest of the Week

Technology

Cross-Device Icon

Definition:

What technology is your audience using to view your ads? Optimizing for device, browser and operating system will make sure that you are reaching your audience where they access the internet.

Examples:

Operating System: iOS vs. Android

Device: Desktop vs. Mobile

Geography

Definition:

Geography seems straightforward – only advertise where you sell; however, some areas might be more responsive than others. Comparing can help you figure out which regions perform best.

Examples:

Zip Code: Zip Codes With Store Locations vs. Zip Codes Adjacent to Store Locations

City: East Coast Cities vs. West Coast Cities

Media Mix & Targeting

Definition:

Testing tactics or channels will show how different types of targeting are resonating. How does behavioral targeting perform versus site targeting? How does social compare to your display, video and audio channels?

Examples:

Tactic: Behavioral Targeting vs. Site Targeting

Channel: Display vs. Social

Applying Your Results With Confidence

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You’ve picked a variable to test, you’ve run your campaign, and now you need to analyze your results. Check your reporting and compare your goal metric for each variable that you tested. If you tested audience segments, compare each segment’s performance against your goal. Often, one will clearly outperform the other. Occasionally the results will be close. If your test shows similar results for both variables, it means both are equally important to your campaign, and you can move on to testing a different variable.

Once you’ve analyzed your results, make sure to apply these insights to your next campaign. If behavioral targeting did best, increase the budget for this tactic next time. If a younger audience was more responsive than an older audience, consider adding YouTube and Snapchat to your campaign, if you aren’t running these platforms already. Uncovering your insights and continuing to apply them is an iterative process. Make sure that you are constantly testing and learning new things.

Also, don’t forget the importance of retesting. Market conditions change throughout the year and from year to year. If a test six months ago indicated that iOS is outperforming Android, and you stopped targeting Android, retest to make sure this is still the case. Sometimes, what worked well in the past is no longer the best performer, and you could be missing out on new opportunities by not reconfirming whether or not your past insights still apply.

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