A very simple truth has eluded almost all agencies running programmatic advertising: Your programmatic execution should align with the advertiser’s goals.
Sounds simple, right?
Unfortunately, that simple concept has been under-utilized when allocating budgets and selecting audiences in digital advertising. In turn, this drives most of the account churn agencies dislike. However, by taking a simple approach to strategically allocating your programmatic digital display budget, you will dramatically improve aggregate retention from sale to report, when executed properly.
Client Goals and Expectations
The first and most important question an account manager needs answered is, “What would you qualify as success in this marketing campaign?”
Account manager’s often find themselves with several months invested into a relationship with a client before they learn their real goals. However, sometimes by that time it is too late, and they are only discovering these goals because the advertiser has seen the campaign as a failure and has chosen not to renew. But did the advertiser’s goals line up with their creative design, their site capabilities, and the metrics that were being measured?
Account managers can’t be simply an “order taker” in digital advertising; there is too much education needed. Instead of focusing on getting something billed, account managers should assume a consultative role and take the time to determine the right execution prior to flight by setting goals and determining objectives for the campaign.
Most of our campaigns fit into three groups: Branding, Informational, and Direct Response. While they are all related, they each possess different audiences, goals, and attribution that should be considered, tracked, and reported.
These goals can often be verbalized by advertisers as:
- Branding: “I want more people to know we are in business.”
- Informational: “I want more people to come to my site and learn about this product or service.”
- Direct Response: “I want more sales, form fills, etc., from my site.”
As digital marketers, it is our job to then translate those goals into meaningful execution and measurable returns.
Strategic execution is the key to measurable returns, and there are specific methods that should be implemented to provide the best results. While our product stack can fit nicely with nearly any objective, sometimes the recommendations provided do not align with the client’s and campaign manager’s performance expectations. At this point, the account manager must don their “consultation hat” and do their best to reconcile the execution and goals.
Here are the main questions a campaign manager should have answered before starting a campaign:
What is the optimal spend level and product blend for meeting the client’s goals and objectives?
Was this aligned correctly for this campaign?
Is the client’s goal clearly outlined and agreed upon by all parties?
If a client wants “more people to come to the store,” they would need to understand that if the main objective is an offline behavior, then it becomes a branding campaign and should be executed accordingly.
Does that goal align with their site capabilities and creative execution?
If an advertiser says they want more sales, but the ecommerce portion of their site is not ready, you should realistically realign the goal with their actual site capabilities and focus on branding or visitor metrics.
What metrics are currently used to support and track that goal?
Similarly, and maybe even more important, is the alignment between your available metrics and your goal. If your client is only going to attribute direct conversions (clicks) to you via Google Analytics, then the campaign should then be executed more like a click campaign than a conversion campaign. Google Analytics can’t track view through conversions. If your client is willing to attribute assisted conversions (views), then you should execute towards the most relevant expressed audience and optimize towards the best-performing metrics.
What is the client’s potential future spend level and product blend if the campaign is successful?
Understanding your client’s long-term goals can help you better execute their campaigns and encourage repeat business.
Post-delivery, discussions with clients should always focus of reporting relevant metrics. If those goals change over time, then it just needs to be communicated and understood. Now that you can identify the client’s goals and ideal user experience–from impression to client-defined goals–you can confidently select the correct targeting blend to provide the success metrics desired by your client.