With more and more new media channels emerging every year, it can be complicated to evaluate which options are best for your business. Here’s a quick overview of the common media mistakes we see, how to make your media work harder and which new channels we’re excited about.
AVOID COMMON MISTAKES
Just Because You Know Who Your Customer Is, Doesn’t Mean You Know the Best Way to Reach Them
Most businesses have an idea of who their customer is. However, we often see these same businesses spending their media dollars without having solid results to back it. The truth is, media consumption habits, and how customers respond to advertising, is always changing. Because of this, we suggest approaching the media plan with multivariate testing (which uses a combination of variations to see which one performs the best out of all of the possible combinations). We can quickly see how customers respond to certain ad units, where lift occurs and how to best optimize.
Dismissing the Top of the Funnel
Another mistake we’ve seen is making changes too quickly. When analyzing your campaign performance, it can be tempting to look at tactics near the bottom of the marketing funnel (Search, for example) and think, “Wow! We’re seeing great ROI, let’s focus our spend and efforts here.”
But it is important to let the results mature based on the purchase process and allow for the trickle-down effect of multi-channel media tactics.
Image courtesy of Social Bakers
Of course, you want to allocate a sufficient percentage of your marketing budget to capture prospects ready to make a purchase decision. However, failing to properly invest in the awareness and interest stages of the funnel will inevitably be detrimental to the long-term health of your campaigns.
For example, you may find that customers are finding you through branded keyword searches (your company’s name), as well as making purchases from offer-driven Facebook ads and other various remarketing tactics. Isolated, these tactics may have insane ROI, but would customers have known to search for your business if not for separate awareness efforts? How much would your remarketing list shrink if it weren’t for clicks driven across different channels?
INTRODUCE SIMPLE OPTIMIZATIONS TO HELP YOUR MEDIA WORK HARDER
Set Up Tracking Properly
It’s important to ensure your campaigns are structured in a way that makes the purchase journey easily trackable. If you can understand which top-funnel tactics influence actions, like clicks, social reactions, contact form submissions, it’s much easier to justify pumping money into similar lead-generating ads that will drive to conversions down the road.
Google Analytics offers an easy-to-use URL builder that allows you to create unique, trackable URLs: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/. This will allow you to organize the placements in your campaign and track performance in Analytics.
Understand Where Your Customers Are
Even without the use of sophisticated customer profiling tools, you can use Google Analytics and social media reports to help you understand customers’ demographics, interests, purchasing behavior and more.
Always Test Your Creative
When considering your media spend, you want those dollars to be put toward the most effective creative possible. The harder you can make your creative work for you, the better ROI you’ll see on your campaign in the short- and long-term. The best way to ensure you’ve got winning creative in-market is through constant and continuous testing.
For channels that you decide to implement testing, one important decision is whether a multivariate test or an A/B test makes the most sense. You may hear different definitions of these terms depending on who you ask, but for our purposes:
- Multivariate testing is a testing method where a control version of your creative runs against one or more entirely different variations. It’s important that these ads are served to the same audience, with a large enough sample size to statistically verify any lift. Example: You created three different design concepts to target women on Facebook age 18-40. You aren’t sure which will drive more sales yet, so you set up your campaign to spend equally on the three ads until you’ve reached enough people to determine a winner.
- An A/B test, also referred to as an element test or single variable test, is a test method in which you test a variation of the control creative, but only test one element at a time. Example: After you determine a winner, you run a series of A/B tests, starting with CTA, then testing background design color, then image headline to best optimize the winning creative.
Best practices include implementing both of these testing strategies, using multivariate testing to work in new/different creative across your target audiences, and then A/B testing different elements in the winner. Even if you have creative performing incredibly well according to your business’ KPIs, there’s always an opportunity to improve (and work in new creative to avoid fatigue).
CONSIDER ALTERNATE OR EMERGING MEDIA CHANNELS
As digital continues becoming more sophisticated, it is key to stay on top of ways to use the data, including the utilization of AI. Companies that do not take a data-driven approach will fall behind. This can be done with little things like personalized and local callouts, but also used as a way to determine where the customer is in the funnel and how they prefer to be contacted. Ultimately, the goal will be to use data to break through the clutter and speak to the customer on a one-to-one level. This will be done with everything from standard display ads to chatbots.
These are just a few best practices to help optimize your media spend and get the best insights to improve your creative approach. For a full media audit or discussion about new opportunities that could help you reach your customers in a more meaningful way, please contact our VP, Media & Strategy, Krista at Krista@wearelift.com.