Strategy is defined as ‘a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.’ Whenever I work with a client I think about this definition. I do this because it is strategy that will define whether or not a campaign will be successful. The tools are important for executing your strategy but do not make it successful. As agencies/people we have access to the same tools and software. How we use those tools is what differentiates successful campaigns from failed ones.
My three keys to a successful digital campaign:
1. Understand what the client needs.
The foundation of every great digital strategy comes from understanding that what the client wants might be very different from what they need. This may sound obvious, but it is an issue I constantly see in the industry. Agencies create these elaborate and quite frankly stunning decks that wow the clients. They tell the client how they plan to utilize search retargeting and dynamic keyword insertion to increase revenue, without understanding what the client actually needs. They don’t challenge their clients, so they become a production-based service agency rather than a partner. When you are a partner you can share in honesty with your client and vice versa; both people in the relationship trust each other because a successful relationship benefits both parties. This, in turn, allows for an open and honest dialogue about what they need instead of what they want.
2. Data is your ally.
Embrace data. Let data guide your opinions and not the other way around. There are so many tools that give insight into consumer behavior. Spend time setting up your preferred analytics tool and dashboards. I personally love Google Analytics because it is easy to use, has a relatively simple UI and it’s FREE. Even if your platform is Core Metrics or Webtrends, the process is the same. Create documentation around your data set-up, so that when you look back there is complete transparency.
3. Test and learn.
Testing and learning may not technically be part of the initial strategy, but it is vital to success on any campaign. For example: When we roll out ad copy for search, it is always with the intent to optimize toward better performing ads. So we roll out two to four variations of headlines and body text. Yes, there are details that you need to understand and work through to have a successful test but I think it can be generally summarized by these three questions.
- Why do we want to test? Knowing why you want to run a test can save you time and resources, even if the answer is no test is needed. This means resources can be spent adding value to a campaign.
- How are we going to test? Is this a simple A/B test, what platform should the test be performed on and how long should the test run for. Asking these questions before hand we result in actionable insights. With that, it is important to understand that actionable insights can mean taking no action.
- What do we expect the results to be? This is your hypothesis, “Dynamic ad copies have higher click through rates but the users are less likely to convert”.
Listen to your client and become a partner, they brought you in to help them grow not co-sign what they already know. Lean on data and shy away from recommending opinions. Start by making sure the data is ‘clean’ through robust documentation process. Finally, test and optimize. Digital campaigns are delicate, various things impact their performance and testing allows us to understand what levers to adjust to truly optimize. So here is the recipe for a successful campaign:
(Understanding & Research) + Data + (Testing & Optimizations) = SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN
My Den Aviary Top Tip: When setting up Google Analytics account, be sure to use the second view as your primary data source as this will reduce the amount of ghost referrals/bot traffic in your data. EX: UA-xxxxxxx-2