If you outsource your media buying to an agency then you know the drill: weekly calls to pore over results and insights, and ensure the strategy is achieving the right results. But too often these calls are a mess of disconnected data and cluttered spreadsheets. Maybe your reach has grown on Instagram, while click throughs are surging on LinkedIn, but CPA has spiked on your Snapchat Story ads and ROAS has bottomed out on TikTok.
The data may look big and complex, but do your media buyers really know whether their strategy is driving revenue for your business? Below are five simple questions to ask your agency team on your next weekly call. They’ll help cut through the data clutter and ensure everyone spends their billed hours focused on achieving your objectives.
Can you associate this traffic with revenue?
In many ways, this is the same issue that’s existed since the dawn of advertising: How can we tell whether ads are driving sales? Before digital advertising, this was always a murky area, with agencies and brands relying on surveys, coupons and sales figures to estimate the effectiveness of a campaign. Digital has delivered more clarity here, with brands able to track consumers throughout their journey and count the clicks that ads receive.
However, many agencies are still unable to give clear answers about revenue attribution because they lack a powerful enough monitoring tool. Social platforms measure different metrics in different ways, with data governance, social media “walled gardens”, and data privacy laws exacerbating any clear view of what your customers did and why. Which touchpoint truly drove your revenue – was it a Google ad, a social campaign or an influencer collaboration? Or was it a mix of all these touchpoints – and if so, which one delivered the best ROI? These are essential questions, but many agencies still find them tough to answer. And without clear answers, how can you design a media strategy that works?
What results can you predict if we increase our ad spend?
It’s fair to expect results to improve if you increase your ad spend – but by how much exactly, and where’s the best place for the additional spend? Can you expect to hit your targets without additional spend, and can you optimize your budgets by reducing paid media on one platform and increasing it on another?
Very few reporting tools have the power to forecast this information accurately, leaving brands to spray cash around, hoping they hit their targets. Paragone’s solution is different. It shows clearly whether specific campaigns will hit their targets and when, and recommends new spends or redistribution in order to optimize budgets. As Paragone monitors and manages all major social platforms on one dashboard, it can compare ROI on ad spends across different platforms, channels and campaigns, and suggest the most cost-effective way to achieve your specific objective, whether that’s increasing purchases, building brand affiliation, building your following or generating leads.
Where (and when) is your data coming from?
All social platforms give users free access to native analytics tools and reams of data. The catch? Native tools like Facebook Ads Manager, Snapchat Insights and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions are, naturally, designed to glorify their own platform and encourage users to spend more. For a true view of paid media performance you need an agnostic tool that’s capable of comparing results across all platforms and accurately predicting future performance.
You also need up-to-the-minute data, and while most social channels provide some real-time metrics, other data is only updated once a day. How do you know that you’re seeing accurate, apples-to-apples comparisons across different platforms? The simple answer is… you don’t – unless you’re using a centralized tool that’s gathering its own data.
On your next call, ask your agency team where the data is coming from, to ensure it’s from an up-to-the-minute and unbiased source.
How much time was spent compiling this report?
If your agency is manually gathering and analyzing data from all your social channels, plus your Google ad spend, the simple process of compiling a report is likely to take the lion’s share of their time. This leaves less time to act on those insights or effectively manage a campaign. The simple truth is, many agencies are overwhelmed by data and struggle to stay on top of it, spending far too much time compiling spreadsheets and reports, and not enough time adding value.
Your agency team does not want to spend its time compiling reports – they’d much rather be coming up with award-winning creative executions. Empower them with a tool that automates the reporting work and they’ll waste fewer billable hours wading through data and spend more time adding value for your business.
How are we using AI?
In the past five years, artificial intelligence has gone from sci-fi plotline to daily business tool. While it’s not yet able to manage sophisticated decision-making, AI can perform many of the repetitive, dull tasks that once had to be done by humans – like crunching through big data sets to find insights. Employing AI also frees up team members to focus on adding value where humans excel, such as planning strategies and dreaming up creative campaigns.
It’s unlikely you’ll have the resources to design your own artificial intelligence, but you should be using tools that have AI built in. Google and Meta already use AI to help optimize campaign performance, and you should be asking your agency how they plan to drive your growth and performance through AI. While AI might not yet be able to do the thinking for you, it should be top of mind when looking at how to scale your strategy.
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