A version of this post originally appeared in Digiday.
“What gets measured gets managed.” This old business mantra captures a truth in modern marketing strategy: if you aren’t measuring, getting regular reporting on your campaigns and continually improving, you’re going to miss the mark.
What that mantra doesn’t take into account is all the time and budget that measuring, analyzing and revising campaigns can eat up. In fact, an IAB survey found more than two-thirds of respondents had increased spending on data and similar services from 2015 to 2016, while 71 percent expect even higher budgets in the coming year. What’s not mentioned is the operating cost that these brands will need to spend on headcount in order to utilize the data.
Some marketers are frustrated with their return on their investment, too. Good data isn’t cheap. Marketers pay a lot for accurate data, and their competitors do as well, driving costs up. The pressure is on to get more from data and accomplish more than one goal at a time. Parsing data to determine if it reaches the right people can be time-consuming and inefficient, particularly when trying to assess the impact of a video ad in more than one KPI.
Video advertising has added a layer of complexity compared to direct-response goals that typically focus on one KPI (conversions). One brand we worked with allocated a team of three campaign managers to review reporting on a daily basis, monitoring viewability and in-demographic metrics from different third-party dashboards. Daily, they decided how to adjust media allocation and sent off instructions to the trafficking team in hopes that their actions would produce an uptick in performance. This approach was both highly manual and labor intensive.
Later, the same brand ran their next campaign through a programmatic video platform, automating the management of the campaign, from targeting and measurement to auto-optimization. The results were startling, as the shift allowed them to now spend a third of the time they used to spend stewarding the campaign. They were able to allocate one campaign manager instead of three, freeing up the rest to develop meaningful marketing insights.
No one went to college and majored in marketing so they could optimize toward a completion rate. They were probably looking for a job that used creative and problem-solving skills to help brands sell products. Marketers shouldn’t have to get into the weeds with metrics, especially when there are automated options available that can free them from measurement grunt work. They should focus on the big picture — the message and the impact of the message.
In the machine vs. man race to optimize, the power of algorithms is compelling. When advertisers use our multiple-goal feature to optimize all three metrics — viewability, in-demo and completions — we’ve seen campaigns with 80 percent viewability and a 90 percent completion rate, while reaching the target demographic, saving both time and money in the process.
There is hope for marketers to uplevel their work and get back to doing actual marketing instead of trudging through an endless metrics morass. While it’s true that what gets measured gets managed, marketers can’t spend all their time measuring.