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The Complete Guide to Marketing Optimization

Hi. My name is Hailey and I'm obsessed with marketing.

It's fun to come up with ideas, and test new channels and ad copy.

Some ideas work well. Some really don't.

But that's okay, because that's what marketing optimization is for.

What is Marketing Optimization?

Marketing optimization is when you take a look at your marketing campaign data and make decisions around which ads and which campaigns you should keep running, and which ones you should pause.

Why is Marketing Optimization Important?

If you're spending hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars a month on marketing, you better be able to spend it as efficiently as possible.

Obviously, you want to keep spending money on campaigns that are getting you customers and making you money. You want to stop running campaigns that are costing you more money than they are making you. You are looking to get a positive return on your investment (ROI).

And that's not where marketing optimization ends. When you find something that is working, and getting you customers, you can optimize it even further by making tweaks to your campaign to see if you can increase your conversion rates.

How to Get Started with Marketing Optimization

Marketing optimization is an ongoing practice that you or someone on your marketing team will continue to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Collect data
  2. Analyze data for insights
  3. Take action within your marketing campaigns
  4. Repeat daily, weekly, monthly

Marketing optimization can be frustrating, confusing and at times costly. And as social media and other platforms become ever increasingly complex and spread out, marketing optimization only promises to become more tedious.

Complete Guide to Marketing Optimization

Are you getting the most out of your marketing campaigns? Scary question, isn’t it? The thing about marketing is that you are never really sure, never 100 percent certain; there is always that nagging doubt. “Is this channel the best place to invest our marketing budget?”   “Is this channel contributing to the overall marketing strategy?” “Where’s all our data?” These are good questions. The marketing optimization process helps answer them.  

Here we present a complete guide to the issues surrounding marketing optimization, the hang-ups, hassles and the solutions we have learned along the way in creating Improvado, a tool for marketers that helps streamline the data aggregation and marketing optimization.

Let’s start with a good definition. There is a lot of talk about marketing optimization and what it means. We’ll keep it simple

In short, marketing optimization is having the ability to collect data, pull insights from that data and take the necessary actions across your marketing channels in order to increase ROI
Marketing optimization

As helpful as definitions can be, it is important not to fixate on them. In the real world, marketing optimization is a process. It requires vigilance and insight into how your marketing strategy is performing on the whole and in the particular and knowing when to make adjustments.

Essential Elements of Marketing Optimization

Marketing optimization is a process of:

  1. Collecting data
  2. Analyze data for insights
  3. Take action within your marketing campaigns
  4. Repeat daily, weekly, monthly

Marketing optimization can be frustrating, confusing and at times costly. And as social media and other platforms become ever increasingly complex and spread out, marketing optimization only promises to become more tedious.

What you need in order to optimize your marketing channels:

  1. Easily accessible data from all your marketing channels
  2. Granular data around each of your marketing campaigns and ads
  3. A way to visualize and analyze ALL of your data in one place

Stick with me, I'm going to tell you exactly how you can do this.

Marketing Optimization in a Data Dense Digital Age

The vast array of tools, dashboards and platforms and specialized solutions for paid search, email, social, mobile, video and more creates a lot of data metrics but not a lot of structure and insights are often missed or ignored in the ensuing data tornado. But tapping into multi-channel marketing is no longer an option for the digital marketer, it is a necessity. If your competitors are there, you need to be there.

What is multi-channel marketing?

Multi-channel marketing is, as the name implies, the use of multiple marketing channels to find and attract customers. Before the internet (yes there was such a time) there were a few marketing channels - TV, Radio, Print, Mailers, and Phone.But with the internet, potential marketing channels are everywhere and vastly outnumber the traditional marketing channels. 

They can be divided into 6 main categories:  

Social Media Marketing (SMM): Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest 

Paid Search (SEM): Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Search Ads 

Organic Search (SEO): Google, Bing, Yahoo                                                               

E-Mail 

Affiliate 

Display Marketing 

Each one of these categories contains more sub-channels.The number of channels that the internet has created means that a multi-channel marketing approach is necessary to find your customers wherever they are browsing and create brand awareness. You want to interact with your customer throughout their buying journey as they transition through multiple platforms, called cross-channel marketing.So any digital marketing project is really a multi-channel marketing optimization project.

Optimizing Multiple Marketing Channels 

How can you tell which channel is actually performing well?

And, within that channel, how can you optimize it to ensure the best ads and campaigns are running?

You’ll need to determine the ROI of each channel in order to pause or optimize the ones that are losing you money and allocate more money to the channels that are working well. This is especially true if the marketing budget is tight and getting the best return on investment and customer acquisition rates is the goal. When the marketing budget is larger, there is room to play and experiment. But when strapped for cash, it is best to get the data you need and immediately implement changes to increase ROI.  This is why continuous data collection and channel data comparison and analysis is so important to marketing optimization. And with multi-channel digital marketing comes data. Lots of data.

How to Show ROI by Channel

I keep track of my daily, weekly and monthly marketing stats in a marketing dashboard on Google Docs.

You can download a blank version of my dashboard for yourself: Download my marketing dashboard template now.

The Allowable CACs tab is where you will find this data.

This Allowable CACs tab is showing:

  • Revenue by channel
  • Return on ad spend, ROAS or ROI
  • Customer Lifetime value or LTV
  • And more.
The Perfect Marketing Dashboard - How to Track and Report on Every Important Metric Ecommerce Marketing Growth Marketing Life Hacks Paid Marketing Uncategorized

You want to make sure you always have a visualization of your data from a granular level and also the bigger picture. The sign of a good marketing optimization strategy is in having the ability to toggle between the granular and the holistic to effect changes that increase performance and lead you to your goals.

The Challenges of Marketing Optimization

So much for the simple world of billboards and TV commercials. This is complex stuff. Multi-channel and cross channel marketing is a tangle of platforms and analytics tools. While the marketing optimization process requires data to make well informed decisions about marketing resource acquisition, one of the greatest impediments to marketing optimization is, ironically, the sheer amount of data that digital marketing creates. The data you do have is often siloed in individual analytics tools.

Google analytics is great for SEO and AdWords, but it tells you little about social media marketing efforts and how the two interact and complement (or undermine) each other.  Yeah, it can tell you that a certain visit to your site can be attributed to a social media channel. But it can’t tell you how much money that visitor may or may not have spent on your site.

Google Analytics alone will not show you the whole picture.

Similarly, conversions can occur completely independent of any of any single analytics tool. With Facebook ads, for example, impressions, clicks and individual ad performance is not easily visible from Google Analytics either.

Google Analytics alone will not show you the whole picture

Data fragmentation is the single greatest barrier to creating a comprehensive, holistic marketing optimization process. 

Making matter worse, data is fragmented along a number of dimensions: 

1.  Platforms and analytics tools. Just the amount of them. There are a ton. 

2.  Metrics measuring things like views, clicks and conversions are different across platforms. So insights can be hard to come by. Insights derived from messy data are not insights.  

Success is defined differently. 

Agencies and marketers with multiple clients find that one client may measure the success of a campaign based on one set of metrics and another on a completely different set.

Adding to these issues, platforms are constantly tweaking and changing the way they measure metrics as the demand for ever more granular data continues without any signs of slowing.

Marketers have overcome these challenges in a number of ways. Often they are clumsy and time consuming. One way to do it is to manually compile data into a spreadsheet at a regular interval and analyze it there. But there are a number of problems with this:

Marketing optimization is extremely time consuming.

In order to manually aggregate you data, you have to log in to EVERY single one of your analytics tools for every single channel and import the data. Then once you log in, you have to extract, transform and load that data into your dashboard . . . if you even have a dashboard! (Add link to Hailey’s dashboard?)

If it is time consuming, it is also expensive.

We estimate it takes about 10 to 20 hours a week to manually compile, analyze and present your data. Is this the best use of your time? No. You could be strategizing and actually optimizing your marketing, instead you are drowning in data and trying to clean it up.

Once the data is there, it is not easily queried. 

In other words, can your data answer the questions you need it to answer in its raw format or do you have to go digging for the right metrics to detect the data insights(trends) that effect the goals of your marketing campaign most.

the right metrics to detect the data insights(trends)

Unless you have created an incredible custom dashboard, you likely have to dig for insights.

Automating the Data Collection Process

Many marketers have leveraged the skills of developers to automate some of the data collection process, or they have painstakingly taught themselves how to do it. This requires time and effort and coding. It is expensive and keeps you away from what you really should be doing. And if experience has taught us anything, the result is often less than a fully automated data aggregation process. There will still be manual extraction, transforming and loading. And you will still require a separate visualization tool to make any sense of the data or be able to present it to stakeholders.  

The solution to this data nightmare is a truly automated data aggregation process. A tool that can integrate all your marketing channel platforms, aggregate and visually display your data.

What you need is a tool that will Optimize Digital Marketing Optimization.

Remember when we defined marketing optimization as a process of data collection, analysis and action? Remember the distinction we made between Data Metrics and Data Insights?

You are smart marketers. We don’t doubt that you are able to analyze your data sets, derive insights and make intelligent decisions. In a very real sense, you already know how to optimize your marketing efforts. It’s the execution where you get bogged down dealing with organizing metrics instead of deriving actionable insight. So the imperative to optimize your marketing is more of an imperative to optimize the data collection and display needs.

Any marketing campaign that is hostage to the data collection and organization labyrinth cannot be said to be optimized.

So what is the solution? How do you optimize optimization? (Likely the most meta question ever asked.)

A data aggregation platform like Improvado.

What is Improvado?

Improvado is a data collection and aggregation tool that streamlines data collection and display. It does all the annoying, time consuming manual work we have been talking about so that you can do what you do best as a marketer – analyze and take action. Improvado can be used Extract, Transform and Load your marketing data into your preferred visualization tool like Tableau or Data Studio. Or you can use Improvado’s robust and highly intuitive marketing dashboard.

How to Optimize Multi-Channel Marketing from One Dashboard

The Perfect Marketing Dashboard - How to Track and Report on Every Important Metric Ecommerce Marketing Growth Marketing Life Hacks Paid Marketing Uncategorized

Before I used Improvado, if I wanted to know how much money I had spent on a specific channel, or how an individual ad was performing, I had to log into each marketing platform individually and click around until I found the data I needed.

Now, I can see all that data from every platform whenever I want, just by logging into my Improvado marketing dashboard.

You can instantly always see real-time cost data across all the platforms you’re running digital marketing ads on.

This includes things like:

  • Impressions
  • Cost
  • Clicks
  • CPA
  • Leads
  • Revenue
  • CTR

Any data that you can see within an individual marketing platform, you can now see from within one dashboard using Improvado.

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How to get Granular Data for Quick Campaign Optimizing

Since Improvado was built by marketers– they make sure that you can see everything about your marketing campaigns even at the most granular level.

For example, if you’re running an Adwords campaign, and you are trying to optimize your campaigns from within the Adwords dashboard, you’d have to do a lot of clicking as you look for patterns and trends in performance.

However, from the Improvado dashboard, it’s easy to see everything displayed for you clearly all in one place. You will be able to see performance right down to the keyword level or ad copy level.

The Perfect Marketing Dashboard - How to Track and Report on Every Important Metric Ecommerce Marketing Growth Marketing Life Hacks Paid Marketing Uncategorized

Right from your Improvado dashboard.

See the spend in different campaigns, the impressions the clicks, everything.

Cross-Channel Marketing Data Syncs in Minutes

The Perfect Marketing Dashboard - How to Track and Report on Every Important Metric Ecommerce Marketing Growth Marketing Life Hacks Paid Marketing Uncategorized

You can sync data from any marketing channel in minutes, and even if you have offline data in a CSV, Google Sheet or send to you in an email, you can upload that data to Improvado and visualize it alongside the rest of your data.

That means, real-time optimizations to make sure you're not missing any red flags and you're getting the most bang for your buck out of every campaign.

How the Improvado tool helps with marketing optimization

Effortless Data Aggregation 

Improvado integrates with over 80 digital marketing platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Analytics, Instagram and many others. With Improvado, the days of manual ETL and having data spread across multiple channel analytic tools are over.

Detailed and Customizable Dashboard

The Improvado marketing dashboard allows you to easily analyze your data along many different dimensions.

Ad Channel Reporting

Easily compare and analyze the performance of your various ad campaigns across multi platforms in one simple interface.

Detailed Statistics

The reporting platform provides visualized statistical data that gives you the vantage point to see trends and derive insights to make data driven decisions

Performance

Details Improvado calculates your performance metrics automatically saving you time and giving you the mapped data you need.

Attribution Models 

An essential part of cross channel marketing. Improvado allows you to track user’s conversion path and get insights into the buyer’s journey. 

Optimize the marketing optimization process. 

Free up your team to do what is really important. 

Don’t let your data control you. 

Instead, get a handle on your data with Improvado.

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