What is Marketing Optimization?
The word “optimization” is used but rarely understood, meant to sound smart and inspire confidence in those listening. However, few listening can tell you what optimizations mean in most scenarios. More importantly, few can say what digital marketing optimizations entail.
So what does it mean to “optimize” digital marketing campaigns, and is it really as important as it sounds?
Marketing optimization is using marketing data to make informed decisions to drive the performance of your campaigns. Those improvements include improving active digital marketing messages, branding, campaigns, ads, posts, placements, processes, and other marketing components more effectively and efficiently.
Being effective refers to achieving a specific goal or objective. Being efficient means using fewer resources to achieve those goals and objectives. Being more efficient usually results in being more effective. However, being effective doesn’t necessarily correlate to being efficient.
Let’s say two competing businesses individually acquire ten customers in a week from thier digital marketing efforts, thereby making them both effective at achieving their primary marketing goal. However, Company A spent $1,000 acquiring those customers, and the other spent $5,000 acquiring its customers. Company B acquired ten customers at $100 a customer while the other acquired customers at $500 per customer. Company A is more efficient at acquiring customers than company B.
So optimizing your campaigns means making them more efficient or effective, but why is it essential to optimize your campaigns?
Why is Digital Marketing Optimization Important?
Marketing expenses can add up quickly. That’s why it’s essential to make the best use of every dollar you spend. One of the best advantages of digital marketing is making changes and adjustments mid-flight.
Traditional marketing is a set-it-and-forget-it play. You order your magazine placements, review the artwork, and you’re done. You know a ballpark number of impressions the magazine told you your ad would garner. But how do you know with certainty that those numbers are correct? You dont. And with limited information, how do you make your campaigns better? You dont. Knowledge is power, and digital marketing gives you the knowledge to take action and optimize or improve your campaigns on the fly.
It’s now time to let data be your guide. With digital marketing, it’s always important to test assumptions. We all have ideas about what our customers do and think, but nothing we think or feel will trump raw data and insight into their actions. In my experience, the human ego is the most significant obstacle to properly setting a campaign to test and optimize your digital marketing campaigns.
Optimization is more than just improving your campaigns. It involves the paradigm of kaizen, incrementally making things better, preferably through testing and ongoing analysis, which isn’t possible through traditional marketing. Without digital marketing optimizations, you are giving up a strategic advantage of digital marketing.
5 Step Process of Digital Marketing Optimization
Marketing optimization is an ongoing process that you will continue to do daily, weekly, or monthly.
1. Establish Goals
Establishing goals is the most important part of the process since this will determine what channels, campaigns, ads, posts, videos, settings, placements, and other digital marketing components will be used and optimized. When applying the art of kaizen to your marketing, the options are endless, and the quickest way to get lost in all the noise that comes with infinite options does not have SMART or clear definable goals. Conversations with your team to establish goals will naturally lead you down the path of also establishing objectives, strategies, and tactics that will become your optimization process.
2. Set target KPIs
“What gets measured, get’s improved” can be powerful when coupled with the quote: “Measure what matters.” But first, why measure? Think about it this way: You may see a long-term increase in revenue from your ad campaigns, but without a target, you won’t know whether you’re on track to meet your goals. Worse, you won’t know what strategy or tactics drive positive results.
You have no idea what to improve or optimize without knowing what is working and what isn’t. Measurement is at the core of producing good results. You cant duplicate. KPI targets set goals for your organization to strive to meet and help to develop tactics to meet them.
3. Collect Data
Dont fall into the trap of making impulsive decisions with very few insights and data. A good rule of thumb for paid media accounts is that the more you spend upfront, the more data you can collect upfront, and the quicker you can make optimization decisions. However, this methodology depends on having a great campaign and ad structure and good campaign tracking in the form of tracking pixels, UTM parameters, and other tracking methods.
4. Analyze the Data
Proper analysis, insights, and reporting get everyone on the same page as far as what optimizations need to take place. After all, nothing is done in a vacuum. Effective reporting hones in on those KPIs that are exclusively important to your campaigns goals and objectives, thereby eliminating any ambiguity when it comes to
When you are on calls wondering what your media team is optimizing, below is a list of some of those optimization actions. The actions taken may vary depending on strategy, channel, publisher, and market however, they all funnel into making your efforts more effective or efficient.
- Pausing nonperforming keywords, ad groups, or ad sets
- Reducing or increasing bids
- Updating bidding or optimization strategies
- Updating channel, video, or post copy
- Editing video content
- Adding placements, cards, tags, hashtags, and links to videos
- Reducing budgets
- Increasing the budgets
- Restructuring accounts
- Prioritizing a type of content
- Redesigning landing pages
- Setting up A/B tests
- Prioritizing an ad type
- Eliminating low-performing placements
- Adding or removing locations targeting
- Editing campaign settings
- Rewriting headlines
Testing is The Key to Success in Digtal Marketing Optimization
Testing is the most intentional and direct strategy to optimize your marketing efforts. While traditional optimization techniques are more organic and free-flowing, testing is more honed-in, quicker, and produces less open to interpretation results.
An excellent example of digital marketing testing is the story of how Tim Ferriss was able to settle on a title for his book, Four Hour Work Week. Tim Ferriss uses the power of Google Ads to micro-test his book title ideas. I use the term “his” loosely because the ideas weren’t originally his ideas. His testing method highlights another core principle that most marketers forget due to One of the most fundamental ideas behind digital marketing.
That idea is not to try to reinvent the wheel. Utilize the success of your competitors. This isn’t a popular idea with the creative types, and it may not boost your ego, but it is essential to realize that not all circumstances require ingenuity and creativity. Sometimes all that is needed is something that works.
In the case of Tim Ferriss, he tested his ideas against successful competitors’ ideas, thereby leaving nothing to chance. Here’s his three-part strategy:
- Best: Look at the competition and create a more-compelling offer on a basic one to a three-page website.
- Test: Test the offer using short Google Ads campaigns.
- Divest or Invest: Cut losses with losers and prepare the winners for sales rollout.
Nothing is set in stone. Dont be afraid to develop new strategies that involve testing and optimizing components of your campaign instead of taking the “set it and forget it” mentality.
If you have never done digital marketing before, then the messages your customers respond to offline may not be what they respond to online. Test. Test. Then optimize.