Data Drives Digital Media Success
Unsure how to best utilise your data? Not sure how to structure your digital campaigns? Look no further. We’ve detailed below our comprehensive guide to constructing a plan for analysing and utilising data from your digital media campaigns.
How to use data to your advantage for your digital campaigns.
The most successful campaigns have clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators. These KPIs are tracked via the user’s journey from their initial interaction with your media to the completion of a conversion. For the best success, it is vital to understand and track the journey that each user takes; data can help you with this process.
With an understanding of your objectives in place, you’re then in a brilliant position to begin implementing your data tracking processes and future-proofing your site.
Planning: Objectives and KPIs
We start the planning process by defining clear objectives to the campaign. Knowing what we need to achieve, who the audience is, developing personas and outlining success.
The below diagram analyses your user’s journey through your site. It begins with their first exposure to your media, looks at how they behave with your site, and finishes when they complete a conversion aligned with your mission.
We recommend that you start with the end in mind. What do you ultimately want your audience to do? If it revolves around a transaction, you want to capture that and the amounts through ecommerce reports. If you are still suffering from a lack of data because your transition is on a third-party payment site you can’t track, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you change that. Other objectives that you might have for your campaign include volunteer sign-ups, petition fills, newsletter signups, using a health calculator, calls or downloading a free guide.
All campaigns, including those based around communication, information and awareness, should have targets and hold themselves to account. You might need to innovate, but there are a variety of actions you could use to track your engagement. For example, tracking a users’ scroll depth to check that your user is reaching the bottom of your page, using a timing tracker to check that the user is reading your content or, some of our clients have started adding a ‘was this helpful’ button, to give a simple ticker that we can track.
You want to understand website behaviour and improve the site User Experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). It’s important to remember that creating conversions isn’t just about dropping people onto a landing page, the full journey of the conversion needs to be tracked and tweaked.
The most obvious tool is Google Analytics. Analytics needs to be audited every couple of years and there are always opportunities for improving the data quality – usually substantially. Other helpful tools include Search Console, Tag Manager, Optimise, Hot Jar or Crazy Egg. All of these tools can be fed into a dashboard, allowing you to easily display all of your data.
In particular, we have seen significant improvements to campaigns just from utilising User Journey Data. These campaigns consider the actual behaviour of your user and can be used to update the user journey to make a conversion more likely. For example, you could make the call-to-action clearer or experiment with the default donation amounts to see whether altering these actions results in a higher conversion rate.
Next, it’s important to understand the performance of your media. This includes emails, social media, organic search and paid search.
You can see a simple journey in the diagram above. Programmatic (display ads using a machine learning) could be the first impression, then a video ad, another programmatic impression, a click via Paid Search, a Facebook ad view and then finally maybe converting following a search and clicking an organic listing (as displayed above in red).
As default, Analytics will attribute the last click made when someone converted. But we want to understand all the touch-points, including Impressions. Media channels will all count a conversion as being down to them; this would duplicate the credit, which can make it very hard to really understand how effective each channel is. For multi-channel campaigns we need a more sophisticated Ad Management system, such as Campaign Manager.
Implementation: Infrastructure and Technology
It’s important to have data sources such as Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimisation Tools, media channels and (for larger campaigns), Ad Management software to feed into your dashboard so that it can all be viewed and analysed in one place.
Key to extracting this data is using a ‘connector’ that can get what it needs through the software’s API. You could run that straight into your dashboard, but if you have multiple data sources, you’ll likely want to customise the data, dedupe it and sort it into a useful format first.
Dashboards are designed for front-end display. They aren’t so hot at handling the calculations, so this is better done first by use of a data sorting tool, such as Google Sheets. This is where your data analyst will get involved, making sure that all your data is compiled and structured; before being pulled into your dashboard.
In terms of the technologies involved in these processes, these are our initial recommendations. For big campaigns that need an ad management solution, Campaign manager with it’s Floodlight Tracking is our favourite. It tracks across your media, website activity and conversions, integrating with DV360. As an Ad Serving tool, Campaign Manager is about as future-proof as it gets, being integrated with Google’s Marketing stack. We also strongly recommend this if you are managing Programmatic Campaigns.
Supermetrics is our top tip for a connector. It’s paid, but very stable and versatile. It will usually work with non-Google programs such as Facebook and also some Google programs that even data studio can’t connect with, such as My Business.
There are several great Data Visualisation (or dashboard) tools out there. Google’s Data Studio is likely going to be the most appropriate, but Microsoft’s Power BI is more powerful. However, if you are using Sheets, you won’t need the extra power that Power BI can provide. Google Data Studio makes sharing reports easier and the big advantage is that it handles integration with other Google tools pretty seamlessly, including Google Sheets, or if you are feeding it directly, other Google tools.
Data handling policies are constantly changing, and we need to keep an eye on all future developments. For example, there have recently been a lot of changes surrounding Privacy and Consent. IOS 14.5, ‘The Privacy update’, which was released very recently requires app developers to explicitly receive consent for any ad tracking. Additionally, Google Chrome is removing 3rd party cookies by 2022. We are still awaiting clarification on what this will mean exactly, but we can assume that there will be more use of first party cookies.
In the meantime,
- Google Analytics 4 is now released. Google is moving away from sessions and page views to users and events. Upgrade to GA4 (but for now also run existing account in parallel).
- Also upgrade to Bing and Google Ads first party cookie pixels to your site, you’ll need them for when 3rd party tracking is removed.
In our experience, having a clear dashboard makes driving campaigns a lot more fun. Putting the work in at the beginning, to track the important metrics, sort them and have them ready for your convenience will make you feel more relaxed, and in control.
We are very keen to support non-profits get this right. We’re available for a free conversation which often solves organizations’ issues straight away.
We are also running a number of free webinars, and when Covid allows, breakfast roundtables. Some of those are going to be focused around setting targets and measuring performance with a lot of peer-to-peer conversations. You can also signup to our newsletter from here too. If you subscribe, we’ll keep you up to date with Technologies, Strategies and Privacy Updates.
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