Optimize Your Digital Marketing Optimizations Part 2: Display




  • by Kelley Schultz April 20, 2016
    April 20, 2016

    I recently started a blog series on optimization and what it actually means for digital marketers in terms of the work that needs to get completed. You can read part 1 of this series where I discuss optimizing your PPC campaigns and provide a suggested cadence to help manage workload while setting your campaigns up for success.


    This week I will focus on the optimization of display campaigns. In my last post, I included this graph as an optimization guideline for all digital campaigns:


    Optimize Digital Marketing


    While the display channel has different goals than PPC, the strategy used to optimize display mirrors that of PPC: assess the data, report the situation, implement, and repeat.


    Display metrics are similar to that of PPC: impressions, clicks, cost, conversions. However, display also has engagement metrics as well as view-based metrics. These metrics are important because it helps gauge your audience quality and the impact your ads have on them. The level of audience targeting in display allows marketers to design an audience list specific to their target customer. This gives marketers the opportunity to assign goals and optimization strategies for each audience.


    In general, display is not a direct response channel that you can effectively measure using a click-based CPA model. Unless you have a multi-channel attribution tool such as Adometry, Visual IQ, or Convertro, it’s difficult to see the full customer path that gives display impressions credit for driving brand awareness and then conversions. Even more difficult is attributing display impressions back to offline conversions such as in-store visits or phone calls.


    The strategies used to optimize display can differ depending on the goal your campaigns are held to. We will walk through two different goals and the optimization strategies you should use.


    It is important to note the cadence of optimizing display is very different than PPC as it can take some time to ramp up display campaigns and refine targeting strategies prior to seeing results. Best practice is to make optimizations after about 2-4 weeks of data, depending on the volume of impressions.


    Strategy #1: Optimize Your Display Campaigns to Drive Engagement


    Initially, display campaigns can be optimized for click-through rate (CTR). This measurement proves that the ads are enticing customers to engage. While they may not necessarily convert on their first interaction, your brand is getting exposure to a relevant audience and optimizing for CTR allows you to understand what ad message is gaining more traffic than others. For animated ads, you can also measure customer engagement within the ad – even if they don’t click. That is another good measurement to see which ads are resonating with your target audience.


    Strategy #2: Optimize Your Display Campaign to Drive Brand Awareness


    As marketers, we often hear about our display campaigns driving view-through conversions. This metric tells a marketer that a customer saw their display ads a certain number of times prior to converting from a different channel, such as direct or SEO. Tying those conversions back to a view can be difficult if you don’t have an attribution tool in place that measures view-through impact. When you think about a customer journey a certain level of brand awareness must exist for a new customer to either go directly to your site or search for your brand term. That is where branded search trends come in.


    If you are running branded PPC and do not cap on budget, then you can easily measure your impression volume trended for the past 12-18 months. Another option is to look at Google Trends for this data.


    Here is an example of a brand that is running display ads as their main branding tactic:


    Brand Search Trends


    While this data isn’t a direct correlation to display campaigns, it does give insight into brand awareness. The brand increased display budget in the beginning of 2016, and that was the main change in allocation.


    I am not saying to take credit away from branded search, but rather use the data to prove how the digital channels work together in the customer journey.

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