Critical Questions Often Go Unanswered Before The Campaign Launches

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Mollie Parker, director of analytics and tech ops at DWA Media.

When an agency and client first start working together, it’s crucial to get on the same page before a campaign launches. They must first outline what to monitor so goals can be reached by the end of the campaign.

This isn’t revolutionary, but it’s amazing how often these conversations are skipped over in an effort to get in market quickly. This groundwork includes discussing desired outcomes, expectations, strategy, tactics and stakeholders. If a campaign isn’t set up the right way, a project can easily get derailed. This leads to frustrated agencies and disappointed clients asking for success benchmarks the agency never knew to track.

At the start of the campaign, agencies and marketers should envision the achievements they want to hit and work backward to reach those goals. Several key questions must be asked and answered at the start of any media campaign.

What Problem(s) Are We Trying to Solve?

Marketers should look at their brand’s challenges from the viewpoint of their CMO and other C-suite executives. What does success look like to them? Is it ROI, impact on leads, reach, frequency or brand movement?

I approach any type of buy the same way, whether it addresses lower-, mid- or upper-funnel goals. While tactics can be aligned with any desired back-end result, a test-and-learn approach is necessary to land on the correct media mix in the end. Knowing the specific strategy associated with a particular outcome will help determine the approach and recommended tactics.

Once the business goals, strategy and tactics are identified, it becomes clear which metrics need to be monitored and where they come from. This helps drive the conversation around data integrations, access rights and reporting needs. Instantly, this creates the start of a measurement infrastructure and data management strategy.

What Action Plan Will Lead To Necessary Performance?

After the objectives and other metrics needed to reach business goals are identified, an action plan should be created based on the strategy of media, tactics in market and level of investment.

For a brand awareness program using a PMP buy, for example, I would optimize to a high click-through rate and report on partners driving high site engagement, including visits, time on page and pages per visit. I would then recommend monitoring all conversion or sales activities that occur to understand trends in impact to the overarching business goals.

There must be enough data for the results to be statistically significant. This data is usually pulled into reporting on a daily or weekly basis. When reporting on a result like on-site activities, monthly trend analyses can ensure the campaign is driving engaged users. I wouldn’t recommend optimizing media to this result, because only a fraction of activities is reported through post-click activity. Lastly, monitoring data points such as net new opportunities, pipeline created or sales can be done on a quarterly basis to show directional growth of the business, agnostic of media in market.

Running a measurement strategy and action plan by key stakeholders is critical to ensure buy-in. It also reduces the possibility for an uncomfortable end-of-quarter meeting where questions can’t be answered because the team wasn’t prepared to report on certain key metrics. By creating an action plan, the table has been set and everyone agrees which KPIs will gauge a campaign’s success.

What Systems Are Being Leveraged? How?

To make the measurement strategy work, marketers must first get access to existing data. For the most part, clients know which pieces of technology they have implemented and why.

But many marketers don’t know the collective benefit of these systems or how to get them to communicate. Unfortunately, they don’t leverage these silos. The web team uses one silo for one thing, sales for another and marketing for yet another.

A good partner will work across teams within an organization to ensure that all relevant systems, such as Tableau, Datorama, Salesforce and Marketo, are leveraged to maximize the end result and write the full story of media impact.

What Happens Without A Measurement Strategy?

If no measurement strategy exists, the campaign will end with only one side of the story and it might not be compelling enough to keep the media funded. An agency won’t know the on-site activity that was driven during the campaign, how engaged the audience was on the site or the quality of leads driven from the program. It also won’t have insight into how much pipeline it generated or the sales that were a direct result of the media.

End-to-end measurement starts with a strategy and infrastructure and provides the analytics-informed optimization plan at the end of the campaign. All in all, having a full picture of media impact helps agencies and marketers make better decisions with business goals in mind.

Follow DWA (@dwaTechMedia) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. As a digital marketer, it pains me in 2017 to read articles where they are espousing the click as -the- metric for display driven campaigns . It has been proven time after time that optimizing for the click in display is a fools game for many reasons including 1.) Click Fraud and 2.) Most conversions don’t happen off of the click but rather the view-through. To anyone reading this, ask yourself when was the last time you purposefully clicked on a banner ad? Go ahead…I’ll wait.

    • Bobby Wendler

      “It’s More Likely You Will Survive A Plane Crash Or Win The Lottery Than Click A Banner Ad”

    • also clicks are not very useful measurement because you never know why users don’t click. Is it because you are reaching a wrong audience, or your creative sucks, or both

  2. Thanks for the dialog here! I know clicks are always a hot topic regarding display activity so I am not surprised to see a reaction. I realize benchmarking success on click based performance can be problematic, and the point that was likely misinterpreted in my write up, is that depending on the strategy we deploy and the tactics by which we are using to achieve a certain result, we do use a click based activity as a proxy metric for validation – especially if looking to validate an audience for a brand program. Click based activity coupled with view through impression activity helps us understand the audience engagement that occurs after the fact on the website. For a brand program, this topline metric is valuable to clients, even in 2017, as a gauge of performance. If an advertiser doesn’t look to understand the engagements happening on an ad, especially through a PMP buy, we won’t be able to justify a higher CMP or a brand program overall where we know impressions. Similarly, with fraud and brand safety technology getting increasingly better every year, we specifically use IAS, we comfortably share findings and work to improve the amount of fraud that exists across our DSPs and partners alike. Would love to open it back up to the group to share other metrics that you use to gauge success of a brand campaign when you are trying to find a very finite, B2B or tech audience when you think you can’t use clicks as a proxy for validation.