Today’s CMOs have a lot on their plate: their role is increasingly responsible for overall business growth, managing brand communications, customer experience and in some cases the adoption of new technologies. Each of these responsibilities touch upon the different ways that consumers interact with a brand, making it essential for CMOs—and their teams—to manage a wide-lens view of the consumer journey. But in order to successfully integrate business objectives with data and customer experience, they’ll need to establish marketing strategies in which both work hand-in-hand to support one another.
By achieving this through constant performance measurement and optimization of content, organizations empower themselves to adopt a more agile process of marketing, which enables them to rapidly experiment and optimize campaign content and media spend through engagement. This culture of experimentation—with results to back it up—is key to achieving the always-on stream of content that today’s consumer expects, offering several relevant, personalized permutations of a message rather than the “big idea” campaign that was so popular in the past.
Close the Loop on End-to-End Marketing
Effective marketing today isn’t born just from an initial set of figures, but in fact results in new data that can be used to further optimize that content. This strengthens the creative so that it remains relevant to consumers along the digital journey. Whether an initial set of metrics lives up to expectations or not, data-confident organizations that continually measure performance may use those insights to increase content effectiveness, save in costs over the long-term and maintain trust in their creative partners.
Think about what a campaign that uses data poorly looks like. We’ve all found ourselves haunted by a product we’ve viewed (or even purchased) in our travels across the internet—an experience that can come off as annoying or even downright creepy. That this situation is all too common demonstrates how brands often miss key opportunities for effective retargeting or adapting their message to consumers’ changing priorities or intents. Those who continually optimize content through an agile process rapidly gain and apply new insights to adapt their message to the consumer’s interests or place in the sales funnel, resulting in more relevant and effective targeting.
Many brands may rely on automated optimization, but then they miss out on understanding what their audiences are thinking.
We took this end-to-end approach in a recent awareness campaign for Gladskin, the Dutch skincare brand, and their award-winning acne treatment. The processes described below enabled the brand to five-times lower CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) and higher-than-forecasted reach. To achieve this, we measured what content brought audiences past initial engagement, then applied those insights to continually change the positioning, messaging and creative for greater results.
Optimizing Content for Increased Relevance
As with any campaign, this one began with an initial set of research on a hypothesized audience. Through preliminary engagements from consumers, we were able to quickly zero in on key insights that informed the next phase of production and user targeting. For example, we noticed that Instagram Story content focusing on models’ faces performed especially well in the awareness stage; this content achieved a 37% higher CTR than story content that focused on the product’s effect on the skin.
This aligned well with what you would expect from a platform like Instagram, as the face-focused content was akin to your standard beauty deliverable. But we found that the opposite was true in the consideration phase: Instagram Story content that performed better at this stage fixated on the skin and science behind the product.
Similarly, content that drove more users to convert focused on the research behind the product’s award-winning formula and customer testimonials, depending on the format used. The former was most effective with carousels that let users dive deeper into the product benefits in detail, while the latter performed best in single-image link ads.
Which type of message performs best per platform or format isn’t set in stone; it’s different per campaign, driving home the importance of closely measuring performance across the course of any campaign. But what both winning formats in the consideration and purchase phases had in common was that they provided consumers with justification to buy after their interest had initially been piqued, a key insight for subsequent retargeting efforts.
Stitched together from a selection of pre-existing assets, we applied performance metrics to identify the most effective designs per segment and channel.
One can imagine how sticking to a single type of content throughout the consumer journey is comparatively ineffective in pushing consumers through the funnel; think back on that example of a product listing stalking a customer who happened upon it once. By highlighting new insights through frequent A/B testing, we could rapidly remix transformable assets into more and more attractive deliverables—and even support new creative formats, like Instant Experiences on Facebook.
Boost ROI with Optimized Spend
Cracking the code to the most thumb-stopping, relevant messages to consumers is one thing, but it doesn’t do anyone good when those messages fall on deaf ears. In addition to optimizing content, agile marketing processes let you plug data in to deeply target new groups (or continue to retarget engaged ones) for continued success.
For Gladskin, we worked with Brainlabs (an award-winning digital marketing agency) on a new approach to organizing target interests. Rather than sort them by theme—in this case, things like “teenage skincare” or “acne treatment”—we identified how well each individual interest performed. From there, we divided the top-performing ones from the bottom.
Weekly reporting enabled us to continually replace the lowest-performing interests with new ones. Over time, this process will result in ever-higher engagement rates and reach into new, increasingly relevant audiences over the course of the campaign. Tied with the process of optimizing insights-driven content as detailed above, this end-to-end approach is truly reactive to audience engagements and intents.
As measurement becomes increasingly essential for CMOs to improve customer experience, increase communication effectiveness and drive overall business goals, brands must embrace agile processes that allow for the continuous optimization of campaigns. This repeated experimentation through closed-loop, end-to-end systems provides brands with the insights they need to achieve specific business outcomes for long-term success.
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