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How to Win at Paid Media Before You’ve Even Pressed ‘Go’

September 2022 - Performance • Guides

The success of any campaign starts with a strong foundation.

Read on for our six-and-a-bit tips to kick-start your paid media campaigns before you’ve even pressed the ‘go’ button. Yes, really.

Tip #1. Stepping into Your Shoes

At Brave Bison we always start by immersing ourselves in a client’s business. We’ll come to the offices, to where you make your products, meet the team and share your story. Our research is deep.

A brand immersion isn’t frivolous, but is key to creating cohesion between your brand and your partners. It creates the right alignment across your marketing moving forward. What’s more, consumers have a world of choice, so you can’t risk there being a disparity between their expectations and what your brand is delivering because your agency has misunderstood.

It’s vital to better understand how the product works, how the service works and all the elements that make it up.

Tip #2. For Stellar Results the Stars Must be Aligned

You’d think every brand has KPIs sorted, but defining the true scope of what success looks like can get overlooked. From the start, it’s really important to define which KPIs matter and how they will be reported. For example, at Brave Bison we’ll have a range of metrics we’re working towards but it’s as important to make sure we’re optimising those KPIs that matter, across the funnel, for our clients too.

There are many layers to paid search campaigns but some of the examples below will give you an idea.

Where ’reach’ on social is the focus you’ll be looking at things like impressions, follower count and audience growth rate. For ‘engagement’ you’ll want likes, comments and interactions.

Naturally things like conversion rate, click through rate, cost per click are important KPIs to measure conversions.

You should also define KPIs for different stages of the customer journey, for example specifically tracking impressions at the ‘awareness’ stage in the customer journey.

But underneath it all, make sure your partners know what’s expected, before you start.

Good Reporting Accelerates Your Strategy

You should also clearly define what’s being reported. Reports are the feedback you need to see what’s working and what’s not. Using previous reports as a foundation to what’s expected moving forward is a good starting point

At Brave Bison we ask clients to share their last couple of quarterly reports or even just the weekly ones just to get a feel for what’s been reported in the past and what’s important to their business. We can use these to quickly accelerate the strategy.

… and Crack the WIP

A Work in Progress or Week in Progress shows you what's happening from a weekly or monthly basis. WIPs show what's getting worked on, when deadlines are expected and generally what and when work is planned. Get one and you’ll reap the rewards.

Tip #3. The Robots, They Come in Peace

The environment is more complex than ever. Four out of ten people will shop across five or more channels. On Google there are 35 Auto-Applied Recommendations in your ad accounts, while ‘Phrase Match’ is now also pulling in elements of ‘Broad Match Modifier’ to simplify match types.

Us mere humans are not able to keep pace, so embrace the best practice and latest changes that technology brings.

Take a planned approach to your paid campaigns that allows you to leverage automation more and focus on how to get data into the algorithms. Focus on delivering good quality data, as described in the previous tips, and set up campaigns to allow the bidding algorithms to make decisions as best as they can.

This gives you more time for strategic thinking.

Test the automations and ad formats that are constantly being released. As soon as an update is on the horizon, start to adopt the changes into your campaigns and get a testing roadmap in place. This way you won’t struggle with changes and drops in performance if there are update deadlines.

#Extra Tip: ‘Face the Fear and Do It Anyway’

Testing is part of any campaign. But many brands report their performance results being burned by testing. Pick mid-level campaigns that have enough conversions to learn quickly, but not enough conversions or revenue coming in that will sacrifice performance.

Tip #4 The Data Auditors Are Coming

Are you collecting the right data and is it being measured properly? Could your data be better? An audit of your data will give you the answers.

The power of your data can be broken into three distinct areas:

  • Collection

  • Measuring

  • Optimising

Collecting Data

Are you collecting data effectively? Is the correct tagging (such as a Global Site tag or Floodlight tag) in place?

Properly collecting and allocating first party consumer data allows you to build up a picture of what's actually working and importantly helps build a privacy-safe data collection framework. You’ll struggle if you overlook privacy.
Er 30cm? Are You Sure? Measuring Data Effectively

People didn’t always understand what happened behind the scenes when they clicked a link. Now they understand better and suggest they don’t want to be followed across the internet anymore. Easy accessibility to increased privacy sees consumers actively opting out of tracking and third party cookies deprecating.

However, for successful advertising you’ll need to try and fill the gaps created by the demand for privacy. You’ll need to optimise your measurement.

Machine learning tools like Google’s Enhanced Conversions will model cohorts using, for example, hundreds of other and similar behavioural interactions to help fill the gaps.

Google’s Consent Mode allows you to adjust tags to collect non-identifying GDPR compliant first party data.

When it comes to Paid Social, using Meta’s Conversions API, or CAPI, helps you increase the visibility of those conversion events that would otherwise be lost.
Set Phasers to Optimise

To get the best out of any automation, it needs to be paired with good data. So things like syncing with your CRM, plugging in consumer emails and using tools like Customer Match, means you can start to fill in the gaps. For example:

  • Where possible, get users to log in to your site. You’ll capture all those meaningful interactions.

  • Use emails to see who’s still interested in your brand and who’s not.

  • The data in your CRM is powerful. Incorporate it to target and trigger customers online.
    Use tools like ‘Smart Creative’ - an evolution within paid media where you're uploading headlines, descriptions and images. Google (in this case) will then piece together the optimal ad for each user.

You can then boost your campaigns, using 'Smart Bidding' and machine learning to achieve more efficient bidding decisions in real time.

Tip #6 ‘Do You Come Here Often?’ You and Your Audience

Who are they? What do they care about? Where do they spend their time online? Do they consider Die Hard a festive movie?

There are scores of questions around audience behaviour, the understanding of which is vital for performance success. By using a mixture of first and third party data you can start building a picture of where to allocate budget.

First party data such as web or mobile app interactions or purchase history means you can create a targeted ad for an individual customer while staying on the right side of privacy needs. Or you can use it to map customer journeys and help guide them through the funnel.

Also try using tools like Google Trends alongside the data you have to get a feel for search volume, and potentially even deeper insight to behaviours.

And remember, your brand knows its consumers, and how your product enhances their lives, better than anyone. Utilising that information is vital.
So there you have it, your six-and-a-bit tips to kick-start your paid media campaigns before you’ve even pressed the ‘go’ button. You're welcome. With thanks to Mark Byrne, Head of Paid Search & Social, Brave Bison Performance.
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