Being a digital agency, we spend a lot of time working with numbers and spreadsheets to project outcomes. We take a great pride in being able to blend art with science, creativity with math to help our clients to achieve their business objectives.
As a digital business, 95% of our services are of course digital services. We do utilise some traditional marketing services to aid in driving certain projects, but only to supplement a digital campaign. An example of this may be the LED boards that we design for our brand clients or the press outreach that we use to launch a new mobile app. It’s not that there isn’t value in traditional media because there is. It’s simply down to the inefficiencies in knowing who is actually consuming that traditional media vs in digital you have a much stronger hold on the targeting.
An awesome punchline I heard a few years ago has always stuck with me. It was from Ben Wells, Director at Well Said Consultancy who said, “the great thing about digital is that it is binary. It either works or it doesn’t, but either way, you know.” Such an easy way to summarise. What he’s saying is that with digital you have a greater ability to track the performance of your marketing budget and therefore can make near accurate projections and optimise spend very quickly to improve performance.
The great thing about digital is that it is binary. It either works or it doesn’t, but either way, you know.
Each brief that we receive will be unique. However, in many ways, they are all very similar. Three words tend to appear in near every brief; reach, engage, convert. Three simple words that we have become familiar with. When you do something over and over, you develop patterns and formulas to improve the efficiency of the output. That’s how we have grown to become specialists at the intersection of where sport meets digital, because over the past five years and 50+ projects that we’ve worked on, we have developed patterns and formulas that aid in the efficiency of output.
I wanted to share a little portion of that IP you. Why give it away you may ask? It’s not because we want to attract more business by appearing smart, although that’s potentially one result. But as practitioners, we are students of the game and the best way to learn is to teach.
Being a digital business, data sits at the heart of everything we do. We spend so much time analysing data we may as well be looking at The Matrix. The exciting thing about data (said no one ever), is that if you ask the right questions, you can extract all the insights you need to project outcomes and drive business change. The challenging thing about data is that it’s only useful if the person looking at it knows what they are looking for.
As practitioners, we are students of the game and the best way to learn is to teach.
From a campaign planning perspective, it’s important to always work backwards from the end goal. ‘Reverse-engineer’ is a buzz term I use quite frequently. Knowing how many sales you need is a strong marker for any campaign plan, as it ultimately sets off the chain that leads to how much marketing budget you’ll need.
Let’s take the example of a marketing campaign to drive a commercial objective, like ticket sales to an event. A typical multi-channel marketing campaign will utilise a combination of paid, earned and owned media. With paid and owned media it’s a simple exercise to project the number of people you can reach with your campaign (with digital that is). With earned media, it’s, of course, speculative, so at best you can factor in a moving scale of possible outcomes at both a low and high end.
The challenging thing about data is that it’s only useful if the person looking at it knows what they are looking for.
Your paid media activity would include search, social and programmatic (prospecting and retargeting), to give you the best possible chance of capturing the attention of the audience. It is important to recognise that people are advertised to thousands of times per day, therefore the attention span of your target audience will be low and you’ll need to ensure you are visible across multiple platforms to improve the likelihood of a conversion. In what we call the Attention Economy, a marketing budget can go as short or as far as you want it to. There are so many variables that affect the bidding rates in the market and therefore affect the ability to capture the target audience. From the keywords used to the time of day the message is delivered, to the demographics being targeted and the creative message itself.
Depending on which platforms you use to plan your paid media campaigns, you’ll be able to determine the size of the audience and the cost to reach that audience. You’ll then combine this total reach figure, with the total ‘addressable’ audience that you have through your owned media channels.
Now you have your total projected reach/impressions figure. Great. At this stage, you’ll need to get your best media planner to start projecting outcomes against a variety of CPM (cost per thousand) rates. We always work on a low-high scale when projecting any outcomes. Knowing best and worst case scenarios helps to inform all decision making processes.
At the engagement stage, new variables come into play. You can expect to see CTR’s (click through rate) range from 0.1-3% in a campaign. The CTR is calculated by the numbers of clicks, divided by the number of impressions (amount of times the ad was shown). Ie: If you had 5 clicks and 1,000 impressions, your CTR would be 0.5%.
Getting people to your destination is the easy part. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The user experience once someone has reached your destination is something not to be overlooked. Sometimes we receive a brief that specifies the number of conversions the customer would like to achieve, however, upon looking at the digital property, whether a website or mobile app, it’s quickly evident that the digital product lacks, how do I put this, je ne se qua?
If your website isn’t up to scratch to support a campaign, you can use a service like Unbounce to build a custom landing page. If your mobile app isn’t strong enough, you should hold off on a marketing campaign until it is.
Let’s just assume that the user experience is fantastic, you now need to know how many people have clicked the campaign advertisement or piece of content. We use what are known as ‘tracking pixels’ to collect data on users. This is a simple process, where a piece of code is placed in the backend of the website or within the mobile app, and when a user loads a page in that property, the pixel fires. We’re then able to connect the dots between the points in the customer journey to know which piece of content or ad worked at driving users to the destination. Bingo!
The next stage is, of course, the conversion. The sale. The goal. In theory, this should be a fairly simple transaction… if the user is ready to convert that is. The challenge is that there are a number of variables that will affect the conversion. From the creative and messaging to the pricing and the sign-up process. The objective at this stage is to make the transaction process as smooth as possible. This is a good resource that highlights what high converting websites do well. For example, it states that you have 8 seconds to excite the user when they land on your site, after that, they are likely to leave. Another highlight states that 96% of users that visit your site are not ready to purchase. These are all things to consider when projecting figures.
As above where it was mentioned that we use pixels for tracking user behaviour, we also use pixels for tracking conversions. This is a fairly standard procedure in digital marketing and providing you have access to place a conversion pixel on the relevant confirmation page, you can track the number of people that transacted. Now, if you’ve applied tags and tracking across the full digital property, you should be able to track the full customer journey. #Winning.
As with CTR’s, the CVR (conversion rate) is a key figure to use for KPI planning and for monitoring performance. Conversion rates do fluctuate massively as there are many variables at play, so you’ll need to be monitoring for insights and optimising on a regular basis to achieve optimal conversion performance.
There you have it, some detailed insight into how to efficiently plan and manage a digital media campaign. As a follow up to this, we’ll get into retargeting, which is a whole other game. More pixels, more acronyms and even more data to get you excited.