When Campaign Data Eclipse Results

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ADOTAS – I was the subject of a recent interview at eMarketer about search, display and retargeting, which was conducted as part of their research for a thorough report on the topic.

There was one comment that received an unexpected amount of attention: “In some ways, the value of data collected during a campaign can sometimes be greater than the campaign results.”

I’d like to talk about what it means to get so much value out of campaign data that it can eclipse the results of the campaign, and provide an example using results and data from a paid advertising campaign on Facebook.

Recently, we completed a campaign for a client where the objective was to increase a brand’s fan-base on Facebook. In a three-month period, through sponsored page posts on the site, we increased the number of fans for this major brand from 300,000 to over 1.8 million.

More specifically, through our use and optimization of Sponsored Story/Like Story ads and Marketplace Like ads, we found 1.5 million people who raised their hands to say “I like you” or “I want to interact with you” with respect to our client’s brand in response to specific messaging.

Just as you begin to think nothing could be better than those results, I’ll share something that just might be even more beneficial: the value of the data that comes from knowing who just decided to interact with a brand, and why. In short, who the heck are these people? What do they want with my brand? And what should I do about it?

Using Facebook Insights, we were able to learn three things, where the third is a derivative of the first two:

  1. The characteristics of people who interacted most/least with the brand –notably age, geography, gender;
  2. The characteristics of the messaging that drove the highest/lowest engagement; and
  3. The relationship between characteristics of people and characteristics of messaging.

These things can have an impact on overall market positioning, global branding and corporate messaging in ways that go much further than the campaign itself.

Here are three insights:

1. The messages that resonated the greatest had to do with broad topics and issues, which had little to do with individual products:

  • Intimate interviews with company leadership received approximately 50% higher engagement than average; and
  • When consumers were asked to help define what a keyword topic of “innovation” means to them, they engaged approximately 300% more often than average.

For a brand that invests more than $6 billion in research and development, it is indeed an actionable insight that the results of that investment is not what drives the engagement, but much softer messaging around corporate leadership and personal accounts of what innovation means.

2. Men between the ages of 18-24 are three-to-four times more likely to engage with overall brand messaging than women, with the multiplier declining somewhat with age. Now, this is a great validation of the campaign results, as this was the demographic our client wanted to reach. However, it also shows that this brand decidedly needs to change its messaging to gain share of voice with women.

3. Overall, interaction with the brand was very high on Facebook, hovering around 4%, depending on the messaging. For a campaign that did not offer any purchase opportunity, prize/monetary benefit or direct-response hook, this level of interaction is very high (higher than most banner advertising and search).

What we see here is an audience that has a pent up demand to communicate and/or identify with the brand. “Talk to me, don’t sell me” consumers are telling this brand.

Companies like Comscore and Nielsen generate quite a bit of revenue by telling advertisers what consumers are doing. With increasing availability of data and analytics via online marketing, advertisers may begin to generate more insights than they consume.

As an industry, we are still very immature in our ability to do this. For instance, the granularity of data that Facebook Insights can provide is still very rudimentary. Imagine what Facebook knows about these 1.5 million new fans — what music they like, where they dine, what sports they’re into…. In short, what turns them on.

Imagine a world where that level of data can be surfaced, analyzed and used to inform how brands communicate with customers. It’s a world that’s coming soon to an advertiser near you.

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