Today, digital marketers are seemingly responsible for managing new channels every day. Not only are resources already stretched thin but executives are now demanding ROI reports at the individual campaign levels without necessarily increasing data analysis budgets. All of these requests continue to strain digital marketers. As a result, they have had to adapt by becoming incredibly thrifty and inventive in order to thrive. If increased funding allocation is now tied directly to proving successful ROIs per campaign, then maximizing your marketing spend for this one goal should be the digital marketer’s priority. Consequently, marketers need to be thoughtful about their data collection and reporting processes in order to spend more time on campaign analysis and real-time campaign reactions. Doing so ensures that digital marketers are: 1. spending money at the right time to accelerate successful campaigns and increase ROI; or 2. not wasting money during a slumping campaign.
This article explores the ways in which digital marketers can increase their campaign ROI by describing some of the ways to maximize an organization’s marketing dollars.
Just-in-Time Reactions to Marketing Indicators help you Optimize
Customer engagement and conversion analysis helps marketers identify the way in which to best craft and distribute their messages. The faster marketers can identify the messages that convert vs the ineffective messages, the less likely that time and money will be wasted on the wrong campaign or channel. In order to maximize your digital marketing spending, then you should be acutely aware about the benefit real-time alerts and reactions (to changes in campaign KPIs) has on your marketing spend.
Traditional marketers will typically say that you can only measure the campaign’s success until the end of the campaign. If you have someone in your digital marketing team saying this, then you should really rethink his or her responsibilities. Great digital marketers, on the other hand, believe that you can measure the campaign’s success every minute that you’re executing it. Furthermore, they can prove that it’s the marketer’s ability to quickly pivot messaging and resources to the successful content/distribution that makes for amazing ROI. Adding real time reaction alerts to your KPIs is key to making this happen.
In my company, Factivate, for example, we added SMS alerts to all of the KPIs we track per campaign. As a result, my whole team will receive an SMS when bounce rates go above 20% or when CPC increases beyond a certain $. This helps us react to changes in our campaign (in real time) and avoid any unnecessary waste. With these reactions, our ROIs per channels are much higher than they were before we implemented them.
Digital marketers can stretch budgets with good data analysis. Whether it’s through A/B testing, pausing an ineffective campaign, or adding real-time SMS alerts to campaign data, good marketers use every tool at their disposal because of the impact this has on the bottom line. To prepare for this, approach every campaign as an experiment with a rainy day fund; meaning, don’t divide campaign budgets evenly and then be strict about that allocation. The second you see one of your experiments working (ie., you receive an SMS alert that conversions for a campaign jumped 20% above any other), use your budget to add fuel to the fire. Not being able to do this because you’re strict on your budget allocations during a planning session will be extremely costly when you focus on ROI and try to scale.
For example, if you’ve chosen Facebook Ads as a platform, be sure to run multiple creative options and track each one consistently. Find out which works best, limit the others, and then shift budgets to the trending one until you see a cool down or drop-off. The faster you can get to this conclusion, the higher your potential ROI. If, on the other hand, you’re not hitting your targets, then create something new or consider a different media distribution strategy.
Get Creative about Distribution and Tracking
Even with all of the noise in marketing analytics, a majority of marketers have not yet developed the thorough knowledge necessary to use the power of digital to their advantage. Too many marketers with massive budgets are accustomed to a “spray and pray” strategy (in digital) which often concludes in a knee jerk reaction from their clients when they try to explain that social media is now expensive in terms of ROI, with low engagement.
Rather than taking that approach, there are cost-effective digital options for successful marketers. Effective search campaigns, targeted banners, and content marketing are all affordable ways to identify promising experiments and drive brand presence when executed correctly. Keep in mind that you should not be utilizing all digital channels with the same approach or even trying to build your business on social media alone. Do your research, build your calendar, and experiment until you have good, actionable data that you can then accelerate on.
Think that all of the channels and data tracking tools cost too much? You don’t need I.T. to build you a new dashboard nor do you need to spend weeks trying/testing new data tracking tools that end up being either too hard to learn or too expensive to implement. With a little elbow grease, you’d be surprised just how much you can increase your effectiveness. There are affordable data tools that you can use: from Hubspot (www.hubspot.com) or Marketo (www.marketo.com) for AB testing/landing pages/content to Factivate (www.factivate.com) for real-time data analysis and just-in-time reactions. There are also a large number of digital marketing KPI spreadsheets that help you with KPIs. Some of our favorites now automate your data reporting and can be found here.
Stay On Top Of Trends
Digital marketing changes on an hourly basis. Whether it’s adaptations to the Facebook algorithm, development in real time ad purchasing tools, or simple adjustments in generational behaviors, you need to stay connected to get the most out of your investment. This is where the campaign data analysis story within the context of an overall market becomes really powerful.
Developing trends analysis may also open up creative ways to get your product noticed. In our B2B company, we were struck by a trend of parents looking for innovative tools to help them with scheduling. As a result, we ended up developing a spreadsheet schedule template that can alert parents to pick up children as they prepare to go back to school as an experiment. Then we weighed the costs versus the impact of our traditional digital executions and decided to run the experiment. Then, we let the data tell our story and it was surprising to say the least. Long story short, there are trends everywhere and you should be actively trying to understand them when considering your campaigns.
Create a Digital Marketing Agile Culture
Being an agile digital marketer is more important than ever and great digital marketers collaborate in cross-functional teams to discover, work, revise, and reinvent their messaging continuously. Rich media, page takeovers, and search copy, for example, should not be the job of the digital advertiser alone. There could be great data behind each one of those strategies and it benefits all teams when the copy or data is available to all. To get the very best from your budget, consider creating a data analysis infrastructure that can be used and shared by multiple teams, not just your own. Factivate, for example, lets you connect your spreadsheet reports to marketing data (i.e. Hubspot Analytics or Google Analytics), advertising data (i.e. Facebook Ads, DoubleClick), and even sales data (i.e. Salesforce) in order to give digital marketers a holistic view of the entire company. By sharing all of this data, you can learn even more about the success of your efforts while leveraging the strengths (or minimizing weaknesses) from other department strategies.
A note on this approach – you need to be familiar with the context with which each department approaches a new strategy. Demographics can be different (meaning your message should be altered), mediums can be different (Meerkat vs. TV ad placement), etc. There is an art to creating different strategies according to channels and you will need the right team to do so. Regardless of the revisions you might have to make, sharing and editing campaign, data is a sure way to keep costs down, plus it strengthens integrated campaigns as the voice is uniform.
The key to digital marketing budget allocation is to quickly identify and support successful strategies within the right channels. Automating your data reporting, identifying KPIs for real time data reactions, and creating an agile culture within your marketing teams will undoubtedly increase your ROIs per channel very quickly. As brands become aware of your ability to acutely identify right messages and distribution strategies, your budget is likely to increase.