Campaign Brand Optimization

When most people think of online optimization, they usually think of direct response. The goal is to maximize an interactive campaign’s effectiveness by tracking consumer response and making modifications over time to increase performance and reduce costs.

The time is right for another type of optimization: branding. Take advantage of the current surge in interactive advertising and the increase in online branding campaigns. By partnering with InsightExpress, Dynamic Logic, or Advertising.com, you can improve brand campaign performance in much the same way you do direct response.

Sure, we already track our online efforts’ branding effectiveness. Many agencies and advertisers have commissioned branding studies in conjunction with online efforts. But in most cases, the brand study was conducted once to get a snapshot of how the campaign performed in terms of brand awareness, ad recall, brand preference/likeability, purchase intent, or other factors. Those snapshots are typically delivered at the end of a campaign, when it’s too late to do anything about its performance.

What I’m talking about is a little different: the ability to track brand metrics against audience segments across a number of variables. Tracking performance by site, creative execution, frequency of exposure, time of day, and day of week, then using the data to improve campaign performance moving forward.

You can go about this one of two ways: either use a network such as Advertising.com, or aggregate your own list of partner sites and work with InsightExpress or Dynamic Logic. Option two is a more complex an undertaking, so I’ll focus on option one. Advertising.com works with InsightExpress or Dynamic Logic, thus saving you some work. You can do this on your own with separate publishers, but you’d have to facilitate the following steps yourself:

  1. Audience segment identification. Advertising.com takes your existing audience segmentation and identifies appropriate places on its network to run your campaign. It also offers the capability to test toward identifying ideal audience segments.

  2. Campaign targeting. Typically, a campaign is targeted to identified audience segments using factors such as demographics, content, or behavior. After you decide which strategy is preferable, the campaign launches.
  3. Statistical analysis. About a third of the way through the campaign, a statistical analysis is done. The campaign is analyzed based on segments defined by media, creative, frequency of exposure, time of day, and day of week. These segments are ranked in order of performance.

    All analyses consider three important factors: effect on brand metrics, total audience reach, and cost in relation to performance. The last is really important. You want to improve brand metrics, but not at a higher cost.

  4. Optimization recommendations. The Advertising.com team makes recommendations based on its analysis. This gives you the opportunity to determine any next steps. You may find it more important, for example, to influence a certain segment, even though the analysis indicates it’s a harder group to influence.
  5. Brand optimization. Changes are then made to improve performance for the rest of the campaign. This is where brand optimization really begins. I saw three case studies showing how this process makes for a better campaign. Performance improvements in brand metrics ranged from 17 to 358 percent. Improvements in cost-efficiency ranged from 47 to 650 percent.

It’s a lot to wrap your head around. But if you can improve performance, even at the lower end of those ranges, it’s worth looking into.

If you’ve done this type of branding optimization before, let me know how it worked for you.

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