As the financial year comes to a close, I’ve been wondering about the different investment options available. Whilst thinking about this, I started to think about the parallels to a client / agency relationship. In simple terms, they invest with our ‘traders’ with a desire to see a positive return on their spend. However ‘return’ is defined.
In many cases, clients are very specific about the different ‘portfolios’ that they want to invest in. PPC, SEO, Display media and Affiliates are just some of the opportunities available however campaign briefs are often quite prescriptive. The best engagements are those where we have clarity about the business aims and profitability and are given much more freedom to run campaigns in whatever shape is needed, simply focused on the best return.
Trust is of course an important part of any client / agency relationship. Trust in people and processes but also trust in the technology that connects the many parts of the campaign together. In order to be able to switch investments between the portfolios, you need to have a clear and consistent view of the data, and tracking tools are of course critical here.
So what does trust in the data look like?
- A tool (or suite of tools) that are able to ‘talk’ to each other in a robust enough way that campaign information is de-duplicated properly. There are a number of technologies available to help achieve the above aims. Marin and DC Storm are good when running Search campaigns, MediaMind and DFA for Display….and that’s before you start thinking about the multitude tagging solutions available. Before the focus becomes too much about the technology, key analysis questions need to be asked;
- Do they that make it easier to visualise the resulting data in order to be able to make faster decisions.
- Is there an understanding the conversion latency for different channels.
- Are settings such as cookie windows synchronised to ensure channels are compared on a like-for-like basis.
The key to success distills down to working with teams that know how to stitch the technologies together, understand the nuances of each channel and potential future requirements but are then able to stand back and make sure that whatever is ‘created’, ultimately ties back to the business aims.
Once the data is in the right shape, the ‘Investment Management’ approach is much easier to achieve. By having a single view of online performance, critical questions can be asked;
- Should commission levels for a group of affiliates be reduced because they are attracting lower LTV customers?
- What is the true synergy between PPC and SEO search positions and traffic?
- How much has your display campaign driven search demand for your brand?
Having the data in one place is key (not critical but it makes life a lot easier) but what is more important is knowledge of each channel and how they can be flexed to drive the greatest return.
What is the biggest data challenge you currently have online?