Campaign Analysis And Optimization

by Marketing Team,
Friday, August 31, 2012

Campaign Analysis And Optimization

Today’s marketers are responsible for utilizing a value-driven approach towards their organizations short and long-term online marketing initiatives. Three of the primary approaches towards deriving that value include: Site Optimization, Business Process Improvements and Campaign Analysis and Optimization. This month, I’d like to discuss the following aspects of campaign analysis and optimization and how it can drastically affect a marketer’s decisions on where to allocate marketing budget both in the short and long term:

Introduction to Campaign Analysis and Optimization
Years ago campaign analysis and optimization was often overlooked and marketers relied on their intuition to make decisions regarding marketing spend. However, those days have long passed and now marketers must justify marketing spend to stakeholders with the supporting data and facts. Fortunately, today’s marketers can leverage many established best practices and tools to efficiently collect the necessary data to analyze marketing campaigns and make informed data-driven business decisions. Campaign analysis can not only help the marketers to make short term fixes to their marketing campaign mix but can also provide the marketer with insight into maximizing the lifetime value of a customer over time.

The campaign analysis and optimization process can be divided into two major categories:

  • Harvesting of Low-hanging Fruit
    Refers to areas in need of improvement that are easy to identify and provide quick and effective results.
  • Long-term Optimization
    Refers to the process of continual optimization over time and includes improving the customer’s overall lifetime value.


Building a Foundation

The three major areas involved in building a successful foundation for the campaign analysis and optimization process include:

  1. Campaign Identification
    Campaign identification methodology can range from very simple to extremely complex depending on the specific needs of the business. However no matter how simple or complex, it is critical to start with a well defined plan as the identification process serves as the foundation for truly understanding the effectiveness of campaigns and can also serve as an enabler for advanced techniques such as segmentation. For instance the plan may include such details as to the use of specific naming conventions for variables to make them easier to identify, manage and track.

    The following is a very brief overview of how the query string parameter identification method works. In order to most efficiently attribute specific results to a specific campaign, each campaign should be identified by a parameter. This allows tracking of certain variables such as visits, page views, conversion, etc, at a campaign level. The query string includes the variables to be tracked; it is appended to the end of the url, separated by a question mark. For example:

  2. Tool Configuration and Customization 
    If leveraged successfully web analytics tools serve as a critical part of the campaign analysis and optimization process, however they need be configured appropriately to collect the necessary data. For instance, it may be beneficial to configure the analytics tool’s reports with drill down capabilities to truly understand campaigns by digging deeper to discover the effectiveness of different efforts within one type of campaign. It may also be useful to configure custom reports to answer specific questions that are not answered by the analytics tool’s standard reporting features. The development of customized dashboards for specific campaigns also enables the marketer to efficiently analyze the particular key performance indicators that help evaluate the success of that specific campaign.
  3. Data Integration
    Data integration is not always required, but often enhances the ability to conduct campaign analysis. For instance, in the case of offline conversion events, suppose a customer interacts with a campaign and fills out a contact form, but then makes a phone call to place an order offline. It is then important to integrate that online campaign data with the offline data to truly be able to understand the value that the online campaign produced.


Harvesting Low-Hanging Fruit

After the foundations are in place, the marketer should be enabled to effectively determine what the conversion rate for each campaign is. Then this data can be taken one step further to determine the average order value from each campaign and then even further to calculate the value of each visitor.

These metrics should help identify low hanging fruit for quick and effective results allowing the marketer to discover the most valuable campaign mix. Campaigns that provide the highest value can easily be identified, making it easier to confirm that marketing spend is being utilized effectively. Alternatively, underperforming campaigns can also be identified to decrease wasteful spending. One of our e-commerce clients was able to employ this tactic to identify a 79.2% difference in site conversion between their best performing and worst performing campaigns. By taking a proactive approach to this data, this online retailer was able to discontinue the poorly performing campaigns and focus on the higher performing campaigns, resulting in a 23.7% reduction in marketing spend and 3.5% increase in overall sales.

Long-term Optimization
Once the foundation is in place and low-hanging fruit has been addressed, it is important to have a long-term process for continual optimization in place, as shown in the image below. It is essential to proactively analyze results against benchmarks and goals in order to measure long term progress. Since visitors are not static, it is important to continually optimize online campaign mixes, knowing that what worked today may not be most effective 2 months from now. In the long-term, these reports will serve as part of your foundation for continual improvement and the employment of more sophisticated analysis. For instance, over time this data can serve as the basis for improving the overall lifetime value of customers by conducting recency and frequency analysis to identify the optimal time range/number of times to target previous visitors.


Long Term Optimization



In conclusion, whether addressing the low-hanging fruit to make quick improvements to a campaign mix or the long-term optimization of overall customer value, the process of campaign analysis and optimization is a critical part of an effective marketing program. By truly leveraging campaign analysis and optimization, the marketer can make both short and long-term, data-driven decisions with confidence and justify marketing campaign expenditures to stakeholders.