The New Year has started and so new campaigns are being planned or are launching as we speak. With the economy in doldrums, brands and agencies are pressed to get the most "bang for the buck" out of the limited budgets. Planning and managing an effective digital campaign is going to be more important than ever.
The digital marketing armory is filled with various methods for an advertiser to use to reach that all-important consumer: from email to pay-per-click, contextual, banner or rich media ads, and even mobile. Agencies must come up with creative ways to try to bring the traffic and get that brand engagement or call to action.
Here are four elements of effective campaign management, which sadly enough are not always implemented.
Target the eyeballs
Getting the right message to the right set of eyeballs is easier said than done. Media planners look for sites and ad networks that may offer the best match to what the advertiser is advertising. There is no lack of sites out there and no lack of ad networks for that matter -- too many according to some reports.
While they do a decent job of matching ads to sites, many media owners in Asia are still selling "run-of-site" and/or flat cost-per-thousand (CPM) rates for the whole site. Very few media owners in this part of the world sell their ad space by sections or categories and charge higher CPM based on targeted user behavior. So it is time for media planners to push media owners for more user data and also start looking at -- dare I say it -- "the long tail" websites.
Tracking, tracking, tracking
Web analytics is the cornerstone of managing an effective campaign. It is not enough to get the impressions and click-through data from DoubleClick and others. You need to know what the person does once they arrive at your site, hence you need to put that tracking code on all the creatives that lead to the site.
Proper defining and classifying of tracking codes ensures that you can pull out the right reports sooner rather than later -- soon enough so that you can hopefully make changes DURING the campaign. As that click-through comes to the site, you must then track that visitor to see what pages they visit and whether or not it leads to a success event.
Impressions, opens rates, click-throughs and page views are not enough to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. In order to do so, you need to define and track the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs), or success events.
If the website is an ecommerce or lead generation site, then obviously the primarily success event is an order or a form submission/registration, respectively. If the primary objective of the campaign is brand engagement or product awareness, then defining the success events are not so straightforward. Here are some examples of these metrics:
- Depth of page, or X number of pages per visit
- Time spent on site
- Product pages viewed
- Particular path, or set of pages, viewed during visit
- Interaction with widgets, Flash games, and other rich media
- Subsequent visit(s) within one, two or three months
- Combination of various KPI(s) above and/or other custom defined metrics
Even for ecommerce and lead generation driven campaigns, the above metrics are very important secondary success events that may drive sales or lead offline or at a later time.
The landing page
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is more than just taking visitors to a product page of the product that you are advertising. The objective of the campaign is not just to bring eyeballs to the site but also to get user engagement.
Once they are on the site, engagement is the primary objective of the landing page. Since a campaign can have many ad creatives, there should also be multiple landing pages that aim to get users to interact with the site. So the first part is to make sure the ad creative and message matches that of the page that the user sees when they click through.
But to really be effective, the landing page needs to be optimized using A/B or multivariate testing to find the message or offer that works. Even better, use the test results to optimize the content of the landing page based on the visitor's offsite behavior.
So if visitors coming from banner ads on a news site tend to engage more with landing page creatives that use Times New Roman font and blue background color -- whereas visitors from lifestyle sites interact more with Helvetica and yellow background -- then serve the landing page versions accordingly. Or serve different pages for Google vs. Yahoo! visitors. Or banner ad vs. search marketing ads. Or visitors from Hong Kong vs. those from Singapore or Malaysia or Thailand.
Bringing it all together
Putting these principles into action is easier said than done. Fortunately there are products out there that will enable agencies and advertisers to target, track, and optimize in order make their campaigns more effective.
But the first step is always to recognize what needs to be done, and then work towards implementing the solution.