Top 5 Things to Know when Digging into the Data

As 2017 comes to a close, we’re nearing my favorite time of the year. I’ve brought my Texas-themed Christmas blanket – charmingly decorated with cowboy-hat-wearing snowmen and light-covered cacti – to the office, decorated my Christmas tree at home and spent the majority of the past month’s morning commutes singing along with the 1997 Hanson Christmas album. There’s just one last thing to do – finish up the digital media advertising reports for 2017! But what all should we study when examining the numbers?

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1. How reliable is your data?

Before we even start digging into the data, we first need to make sure our data is reliable. Based on a recent study by Advertiser Perceptions, 31% of advertisers have doubts about the accuracy of their digital campaigns’ third-party/partner advertising data. With fraud bots and domain spoofing, it can be hard to trust that your digital ads are reaching the intended real-live-human target audience. At MCC, our media and digital campaign teams are here to help! Our media team researches every site before recommending it to our clients, and our digital campaigns team does not rely only on one form of tracking. We will double- and triple-check the data before we send advertising reports your way.

2. No single metric is best.

Okay, now that we know our data is reliable, what do we do with all of these numbers? Between conversion rate, cost per click, impressions served and all of the other data points on the buffet of All You Can Eat Analytics, how do we decide which metric is the most important and gives us the best picture of how our advertising is doing as a whole? Long story short: we can’t. No single metric can provide the full picture of an advertising program’s performance, which is why our reports contain many different data points to determine performance.

3. Keep the objectives in mind.

While all the data points are important, you can get lost in all the different metrics if you forget why you’re advertising in the first place. If you’re trying to build awareness with your campaign, generate leads or want customers to take a specific action, look at the data with that objective in mind. Did you reach the goals you set before starting your advertising campaign? If so, any additional actions taken by customers after viewing your ads are just the cherries on top.

4. Good things take time.

Now that we have all of our data and know which measures met the objectives and which didn’t, you might guess it’s time to pull the plug on all of those underperforming programs and invest more heavily in those that did well! Wait, hold up, not so fast. Before taking action, ask how long those programs have been running. For the underperforming programs, have we tried using different creative and messaging? Before acting on the data, we need to make sure that every program has been given enough time and chances to succeed.

5. Know when to act.

While seeing how everything performed is super fun (or at least it is for me), all of the reports we produce mean nothing if we don’t use them to improve our clients’ overall advertising performance. If something has performed poorly and has not met objectives for several consecutive months, there is no reason for it to continue running. Instead, put those dollars into new carefully researched opportunities or into existing programs that are performing well.

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Molly works as an associate digital campaign strategist on the Digital Campaigns team at MCC, where she helps implement, analyze and optimize digital media programs for clients. Prior to MCC, Molly traveled the world for two years and worked as a gender inclusion contractor, an au pair and an office clerk. She graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a bachelor of arts in English and minors in mathematics, finance, and social sciences. In her free time, Molly enjoys reading, spending time with her family, listening/playing music and planning her next big trip.

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