Ad Optimization Using Several Data Sources

Gabrielle Sadeh
Gabrielle Sadeh

In any given month, you’re likely running several complex, paid media campaigns on an ever-growing number of channels, comprising multiple ad formats, ad objectives, content elements and targeting tactics. Some of these campaigns are likely organized into multi-touch funnels that span multiple platforms. 

In this ocean of digital ad management and ongoing optimization, data is your lifebelt, but often, the data at your fingertips doesn’t give you the guidance that you need. 

What’s more, attribution is famously challenging, and it’s only getting more so. As Marketing Evolution’s Dennis Williams II points out, “Many of today’s methods for measuring marketing effectiveness lack the ability to combine data from different data sources (such as online and offline metrics) or cannot provide timely recommendations.”

Unless you’re integrating your data sources, you have good reason to fear that you aren’t tapping into the data insights you really need for digital ad optimization. 

Channels and Formats Keep Expanding

Optimizing your campaigns is even more challenging when we consider how dynamic the landscape is. Your marketing needs to keep expanding, so you keep experimenting with new channels and ad formats. TikTok is one of the rising marketing channel stars, and many businesses are considering — or already are — jumping on the bandwagon. 

But there are many different ad formats even within TikTok and numerous elements to consider. Beyond sponsored collaborations with influencers, options include Brand Takeovers, In-Feed Video Ads, Branded Effects and Hashtag Challenges.

As this guide to TikTok ads from Boosted explains, the most popular TikTok ad is the in-feed promoted clip. “Native Video ads usually appear sandwiched between users’ videos in the TikTok feed and will automatically run with the sound on just like a regular TikTok video,” the guide says. “These in-feed video ads can be up to 60 seconds long and support several call-to-action options such as clicks and app installs.”

To keep churning out enough creative assets to run enough experiments, it helps to use the new generation of video creation apps that make it easy. Just make sure that whatever app you use allows you to export clips in the dimensions you need for each platform and that its templates are created by professional designers. 

Ad Campaigns Are Highly Complex

Today’s ad campaigns have a lot of moving parts. You need to be able to view each component on its own, in relation to every other component, and in context of how it fits into the whole. For example, in your content promotion campaigns, you might want to compare link text microcopy with image choices, ad placement against CTA texts, and explore which combinations are more effective than others. 

That’s why Supermetrics developed a new integration with Outbrain Amplify that can be used to gather, visualize and analyze campaign performance in custom spreadsheets. This allows you to create mashups with deep on-page metrics such as scroll depth. 

Supermetrics helps you to see an overview of campaigns, and then dig down into them for comparative analysis against other campaigns. 

Single-platform Data Sources Don’t Go Far Enough 

You need to compare the impact of your digital ads across channels as well as across campaigns, but it can be tough to track changes in metrics when they are siloed on different platforms. For example, Instagram may show you that one Story ad is outperforming all the others, but it won’t reveal that every one of your Pinterest ads leaves your entire Instagram account in the shade. 

If you have to hop between platforms to check on this data, you might well overlook the gaps between them. You need a side-by-side view that overcomes variations between attribution and monitoring methods. For example, to compare the performance you see in your Facebook dashboard with the per-referrer conversion reports in Google Analytics, you’ll have to see past their very different attribution calculation methods. 

On top of that, ad platform data tends to show only basic conversions, which are often based on click-throughs to the landing page or checkouts that took place in the same visit. They don’t track or weigh up the value of micro-conversions, which give you a far clearer picture of your ROAS, and they definitely won’t take longer-term factors like customer lifetime value into consideration.

Using a custom dashboard built using a business analytics platform like Sisense allows you to pull together all your marketing data from different sources into one repository, and displays it on a single screen so that you can compare campaigns across channels with confidence that you’re truly comparing apples to apples. 

Additionally, amassing all this data in one place saves time searching each platform. Even if you can find and compare data all across numerous platforms, you’ll still waste a lot of time hunting for it, exporting it, and processing it for analysis. 

Customer Journeys Demand a Unified View

As well as examining micro-conversions, there’s much to be gained by linking every customer touchpoint into a cohesive customer journey. It’s a challenge that’s increased by the need to factor in offline conversions, which can only be measured by combining numerous data sources to develop a unified marketing measurement. 

To do this well, you’ll have to consider CRM data, geotagging, zip code data, in-store purchases and more, as correlated with ad exposure.

For example, on the surface, it might seem as though one of your Google search ads which shows high sales conversion rates in your Google Ads dashboard drives better value than a Twitter ad that shows lower sales conversion rates. 

But if you look at the data on a unified macro level, you might see that the Google-referred buyers ultimately return their purchases disproportionately or that they don’t return for multiple transactions over time. You might also see that a high percentage of your Twitter-referred visitors subscribe to your newsletter and make repeat purchases within three months of initial clickthrough when you retarget them on Facebook. 

You also might miss the impact of a roadside banner promoting your Cyber Monday sales, and you’ll struggle to measure the ways that these conversions feed into overall LTV or AOV metrics. Combining ad platform data with CRM customer data for “closed-loop analytics” helps you learn what role was played by each piece of content and find out which channels are most valuable at each stage of the funnel. 

Marketing Data Integration Is No Longer Optional

As digital marketing spreads across more channels and formats and ad campaigns develop more and more moving parts, you no longer have the luxury of considering each dataset and ad platform in a vacuum. 

Integrated marketing data delivers both a granular view of micro-conversions and a unified view of the customer journey, allowing you to compare ad performance across campaigns and channels and optimize your digital marketing spend for greater results.

Gabrielle Sadeh

Gabrielle Sadeh

A consultant, social media specialist and blogger based in Tel Aviv, Gabrielle helps brands share their voices and scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies