Why Campaign Testing Is Still Essential

Posted on by Grant Johnson

Testing is an essential step to determining which campaign tactics work best for your brand, especially in a multichannel world. While it has gotten easier to implement tests, particularly online, the amount of testing that needs to be done grows with every new media option.

Test tubesAs a rule of the thumb, the more targeted or specialized your product or service is, the more success you will have with any single-channel online campaign. But testing still needs to be done in single-channel digital campaigns.

A specialty Christian publishing client has had success with very, specific niche titles. Landing page creative needed to be tested in conjunction with banner ad offers and banner ad creative. Through several rounds of testing we learned that creative tends to wane after about 60 to 75 days, so a creative refresh helps keep clickthrough rates above the industry average, enabling the client to sell more of their books. This coupled with the right landing page lifted ROI.

However, most products are not this specialized or targeted. You can be faced with the quandary of not only what to test, but where to test it. In the online space you have literally countless number of publisher properties where your banner ad can be placed. Your best bet is to approach this like a measurable marketer. Follow these 3 steps to determine what properties might be the most test-worthy:

1.   Evaluate and profile your existing customers to learn about who they are.

2.  Create both offline and online predictive models to score and rank potential prospect on   who look the most like existing customers.

3    Find the publisher properties that most closely match 1 and 2 above.

Most successful campaigns today are, of course, truly multichannel. That means even more testing and more channel choices. Ideally we want to determine, in the quickest amount of time, what media mix will yield the greatest ROI, while also factoring in messaging/offers. Not all media will yield the same sales rates.

For example, social media is typically very good at engagement, but poor at closing the deal. You need to wrap in email, a landing page, direct mail, a phone call to help close the sale. Testing needs to continue throughout. The payoff is increased knowledge after each campaign is concluded.

We were hired by a bank to secure new checking customers in two markets. After profiling/modeling we began with digital and followed with three direct mail drops with support from brand advertising—TV, out of home, radio and print in each market. The offer was the same in each market. One market saw a huge gain in new customers, while the other saw a huge loss.

What we learned was that in one market the offer was good, as the competition was not great. In the other market, the competition was stiff and they had a much better offer and would not cede market share.

Grant A. Johnson is the Ambassador of Fun and Founder of Brookfield-Wisconsin based Johnson Direct LLC. He can be reached at grant.johnson@johnsondirect.com.

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