Performance Media: 5 Best Practices

  • Categories:

    Media Strategy, Programmatic

  • Date:

    June 29, 2020

Performance Media: 5 Best Practices

Media Strategy Programmatic

Are you responsible for making sure online marketing tactics work better and harder to drive sales? If so, you’re likely using performance media tactics.

Performance media is a unique approach to advertising that singularly focuses on driving a desired measurable outcome for every advertising dollar you spend. It utilizes first-party, data-driven solutions, third-party automation and ongoing testing and optimization. And, a strong performance media strategy is a constantly evolving, living mix of marketing programs that connects all the figurative dots in order to drive conversions and constantly improve over time.

At Wray Ward, our Performance Media team stays ahead of trends to build programs that work hard for our clients and separate them from the competition. As online channels continue to expand and new tools and technologies appear on an almost daily basis, these five best practices can help you succeed.

1. Clearly define the goals of any campaign upfront.

    A single campaign can’t drive awareness AND a high conversion rate. Why? Because these goals are very different, and performance media tactics work best with one clearly defined goal.

    Clearly defined goals provide clarity and focus, so you can more easily measure success and continually optimize your campaign. To amplify efficiency, make sure you understand the numerical value of an action performed on your site or the value of a new customer. Creating SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals for each performance media tactic provides a clear understanding of the value of your marketing campaigns and what’s needed to drive desired results.

    It also empowers you to ask the right questions.

    2. Remain open to new tools and automation.

    Google and Amazon provide tools that measure multi-touch attribution across channels, track the customer journey online and offline, and load data to maximize results. All of these tools help us fine-tune campaigns, prevent budget waste and get better results.

    Automation of tools makes us more efficient as well, because doing things manually or rigging a tool to do something it wasn’t designed to do results in a lot of wasted effort.

    Instead, we calibrate campaigns so that we are working with the automated tools and not against them. This is especially true when it comes to Google: To maximize performance, you must understand and work with Google’s machine learning by adhering to best practice guidelines.

    3. Be an early adopter — don't be afraid to test.

    Don’t sit on the sidelines in a quickly evolving world. Instead, put a plan in place. Do everything with a goal in mind. And, remember that constant testing and learning is one of the core tenets of performance media. After all, being an early adopter and going with the testing flow puts your brand on the front edge of new opportunities and tools. It also helps you — and the providers you purchase advertising from — learn what works far more quickly while reaping the benefits of early stage technology adoption.

    Planning ahead is a win-win.

    4. Follow up with your customers to build first-party data and drive lasting results.

    Never underestimate the value of customer relationship management (CRM) and first-party customer data. Effective follow-up is the best way to obtain this kind of data.

    Building a meaningful relationship with customers means considering the full purchase journey, from awareness to purchase and follow-up. However, businesses often forget to follow up with their customers after a sale.

    How can this hurt your brand? In order for your performance media campaigns to perform well over time, you need first-party data. And to get that data, you need to maintain a good relationship with your customers. Staying in touch with your customers not only produces valuable data, but it also builds brand loyalty and turns your best customers into brand evangelists.

    Many times, campaigns are structured with follow-up as a separate initiative. But a holistic, integrated approach is the best way to incorporate all stages of the journey. Think of the customer journey as a cycle, not a funnel. This will help drive long-term results rather than placing too much importance on quick wins. It’s critical to integrate all tactics, not just from a messaging or creative standpoint, but from a technical perspective as well.

    Furthermore, building follow-up into your campaign from the beginning gives customers the chance to share more data — and when it comes to performance media campaigns, data is king.

    Not sure how to keep your customers engaged? Engagement may be as simple as a post-purchase email or a note in an item’s packaging that requests a product review or response to a quick survey. For those who have not purchased yet, tactics such as a YouTube for action campaign with lead generation forms can yield valuable data as well as boost organic SEO. And, a well-timed email campaign can yield CRM data that supports display campaigns.

    5. Keep your eyes peeled for the demise of the third-party tracking cookie.

    This will happen. And when it does, performance media best practices will become even more important. To prepare for the loss you and other advertisers may see with coming changes related to third-party tracking, it will be key to layer your campaigns with first-party customer data and automation tools.

    We're optimistic about the future.

    This year has been anything but easy, yet many of Wray Ward’s clients have kept up their performance media programs despite the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and troubling social issues. In particular, optimism remains high for brands in the home and building category, many of which have found creative new ways to reach and serve customers in 2020.

    That optimism, in turn, helps fuel our confidence in the home category’s potential for continued success within performance media. Brands in this space recognize the discipline’s huge value, and they’re seeing results. Meanwhile, brands that are not leveraging smart performance media tactics will likely experience longer recovery times as they fight to gain traction, losing out on opportunities to gain new customers along the way.

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