Executing Online Campaigns – Paid Media
Our last lever falls under Paid. As we’ve undoubtedly seen, online marketing is a diverse and daunting field. It is best to leave Paid as the last lever to pull on the Execution checklist due to its complexity and high cost of failure. A full treatment of the tactics and methodology is beyond the scope of this text but plenty of resources exist online for the truly vested reader.
For now, let’s understand how Paid can be an overwhelming experience because of the diversity of skillsets and technology involved.
- You’re buying traffic from other digital properties – usually in an auction type transaction based on keywords, profile details, or a digital fingerprint trail. This means a user can be on a variety of platforms (search engines, social media, media) and then get ripped out of that experience and plopped down on your digital property. At this point, the stakes are incredible high to get them to engage and not hit the back button.
- User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) become critical to make sure that ad buy performs. Many companies simply dump a user from a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign to a generic homepage with no thought to what that experience should be. Remember if people have to think and concentrate in a digital experience, they almost always abandon the path. All of which means, the page the user lands on has to be simple, intuitive and ask for only one action.
- Unfolding a user scenario to earn a conversion is tough work. You might be able to get them to click past the landing page (the page they “land” on from an online ad) but quickly discover you lose them on the 2nd or 3rd click into the site. This could be for a variety of reasons from the UI to the copy to a poor value proposition.
- Effective online campaigns require constant care and attention. Tweaking and adjusting based on data can be time consuming and is usually outsourced to PPC experts who can manage the budget efficiently.
- Finally, to ensure a solid return on investment (ROI) the digital marketer has to be fluent with testing technologies and online analytics. Knowing cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is critical to backing out the ad buys and ensuring they make sense for the business. Much like our shoe example where we calculated CPA, this is important to ensuring money is not wasted.
So, obviously the digital marketer has quite a bit of swirling complexity to ensure Paid delivers paying customers across design, technology, and analytics.
For those that consider undertaking such an initiative the following needs to be considered.
- Expect to fail at first but be sure to know your CPA and KPI’s. If you have to spend $100 and earn one customer for $10 in profit, you now have some very valuable but expensive customer data. If you can drive that acquisition cost down where it’s in your favor, PPC might be a good option for acquisition.
- Think experience. How does the landing page coming out of Facebook differ from someone clicking on an ad in the New York Times? Where do you want them by the 3rd or 4th click on the site?
- Test. Test. Test. Effective Paid is not about setting it and forgetting it. You want to be looking at buys on a daily or even hourly basis and optimizing around the data you’re getting back. We’ll cover what those metrics should be here in the Measurement section coming up next.
Key Takeaway: Paid can be a great way to instantly turn up traffic. However, buying a click requires a diverse skillset across UX, UI, technology and analytics to ensure that investment returns the desired action.