A solid foundation is key to a successful digital campaign. Don’t be fooled into thinking that simply buying digital space, running an ad and posting on social media will create a desired result. In order to optimize the effectiveness of any campaign, advertisers need to specify objectives, determine metrics, develop creative that will execute against the objectives and include means for the audience to act. And don’t forget important details like strategic and tactical media planning, proper tagging and ongoing analysis and maintenance. Point being, the world’s best digital campaigns have a lot of moving parts.
So here’s a cheat sheet with the ten major stages of implementing a digital campaign:
- Create a set of goals to achieve a specific and measurable amount of awareness for the digital campaign. Hannah Woodham goes into further detail in her blog article “All You Can Eat Analytics – Goal Creation.”
- Identify the objectives of the campaign. Ask yourself questions like “Who is the target audience?” or “What is the desired customer engagement?” This is crucial to defining key performance indicators, which can help you monitor and guide the campaign for a cohesive user experience and maximum customer engagement. Shannon Sullivan goes in depth discussing what to measure in her blog article, How to Establish Advertising ROI Baselines. Objectives can be as simple as creating awareness of the brand or as complex as generating leads or showcasing a special event.
- Decide what platform to use for tracking user engagement. There are several. Google Analytics, HubSpot, Keyhole, Brandwatch or Netbase are just a few. Each of these platforms will take the destination URL and add a unique identifier which enables the platform to track engagement. For example, Google Analytics measures the behavior of the user on the site and allows us to see if a conversion has been created from their action, if they’re a new or returning user, where the use is located and even show what the user is searching for. Deciding what platform to use depends on the information and data that you want to evaluate.
- Determine where to place your campaign. If you’re selling microwaves you would not want to advertise on a shoe website. Social media sites are a popular option. These sites can reach a general audience, provide a genuine connection to the user and are best used to measure growth versus conversion metrics. Landing pages, microsites or blogs are excellent options to reach a specific audience and are best used to measure such metrics as CTR, conversions on the site and cost per click/lead. Email marketing is another tool that can be used to increase attention to the campaign, personalize to the targeted consumer and create specific measureable metrics.
- Develop your creative material, or better still, collaborate with an agency to do so. Creative is an element that can personalize the digital campaign for the user. The primary goal is to create a user experience that elicits feelings and compels action.
- Incorporate tags in all creative materials. A tag is a tool that collects data in a web browser or app. The implementation and trafficking team will begin to build out the campaign. Each piece of creative will need to be tagged with a URL and tracking alias, then tested before it can be trafficked. Tagging is a key step in the implementation of the campaign because it will track all back-end activity to provide a window into user engagement.
- Double-check that the tags are properly built. Ensuring that the tagging URL is correct with no errors is crucial so that the metrics are as accurate as possible.
- Download the data that was collected during the digital campaign. This will be entered into a report that easily breaks down each placement; providing the metrics that were initially decided upon in the foundation building stages. The report should highlight the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Underperforming elements should be refined or omitted for campaign optimization.
- Optimize the use of the placement and use of tags. Optimization includes using the report to make strategic changes such as swapping out creative, updating the URL or moving the placement to a new site. This is a step that should never be overlooked because if a placement is not working well or would be best suited in another platform and is overlooked could result in the failure of an otherwise successful campaign.
- Maintenance is a final step in the campaign process which allows the analytics team to communicate with the company to offer strategic changes throughout the life of the campaign. Monitoring conversion metrics, tracking performance and continuing to analyze to optimize goals will equal a successful digital campaign.
It takes an entire team to create, build and maintain a successful digital campaign. Each player supports a key role in the life of the campaign. While the details are complex, the formula for success can be a simple one. Build your campaign on a solid foundation, make certain testing and reporting are accurate and monitor and optimize.