Getting the most performance out of your campaigns in 2023

No stopping the digital train

Every marketer will agree that digital marketing represents the future of their business. According to a recent HBR The CMO Survey, senior marketers are planning to allocate 57% of their budgets to digital marketing activities and are considering increasing spending by another 16% in 2023.

The main catalyst behind the ever-increasing digital focus are the consumers itself, as every consumer-centric marketer understands that they can meet the need of consumers more effectively on digital channels. According to WARC, half of marketers say they will spend more on performance this year compared to last.

Awkward business reviews

There is a problem in using digital channels to meet the needs of consumers – marketers are now learning that the ways of working they were used to, are now becoming obsolete. Where brand building on digital largely follows the same fundamentals, performance on the other hand requires a reinvention of thinking and operations.

Data shows that marketing campaigns with performance objectives (i.e., app installs, lead generation, conversions, transactions etc.) that fail to personalise consumer ad experiences leave up to 30% of marketing efficiencies on the table. And, that 30% isn’t something a marketer would like to explain to their CEO during a business review.

The long and short term

Let’s break that down. Studies have shown that ‘creative’ has long been the biggest driver of successful performance, ahead of levers like ‘size of the brand’ or ‘advertising spends’.

Now you might wonder, with creative being the biggest driver to success, do brands that do creative well also leave 30% on the table? The answer is: yes, they might.

First, it is important to understand the distinction between The Long and Short of it. The interplay between campaigns that builds the brand in the long-term and campaigns that activate consumers in the short-term. Marketers need to think about their job as driving a two-speed car.

Second, the core elements of what works while building a brand; think about big recognisable creative, long term, high frequency – does not apply for performance. Bringing that ‘branding’ mindset to a ‘performance’ campaign planning will set you up for failure.

Context makes performance perform

There is one simple word that encapsulates the essence of what makes performance perform: context. You know something about a consumer segment that you can bring into the creative execution of a campaign? That’s context. You got learnings about the platforms where they spend time at? That’s context. Or maybe you have insight into formats that have worked well in the past. That’s context.

Context, context, context.

A different way of planning

The traditional creative agencies (you know who you are if you’re reading this) have years of track record in building brand and award cabinets to boot, but they don’t know about performance and here’s why; they are not incentivised or equipped to facilitate context.

Marketers and agencies that got performance down, have equipped their teams to bring in at least three sets of insight into campaign planning: real-time consumer understanding, platform expertise, and experimentation.

Real-time consumer understanding – Marketers need to move beyond demographic audience definitions (age, gender, geo) into demographic plus psychographic (behaviours, needs, aspirations). Only with the right consumer data can we add the psychographic components which will help us to create meaningful consumer segments.

Platform expertise – Creative needs to work in real-life environments across platforms that are fundamentally different from one another. How a consumer behaves on TikTok vs. Shopee vs. Line vs. Instagram needs to be taken into consideration.

Experimentation – Campaigns get the most out of their performance if they are constantly tested and optimised. They are part of the thinking process from early on. Plan for content to be modular and customisable so that during the campaign you can put learnings into place immediately.

Creating beautiful experiences that convert

Ultimately, the purpose of this new way of planning is to deliver better return on ad spends. And, in the process, create a brand experience for consumers that is better tuned in to who they are. A recent proof point of this approach was a performance campaign we ran for a large beauty brand in Thailand.

Buyer persona creation through in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour – By digging into retail footfall data we understood secondary shopping behaviours besides beauty store visits. With this data we could create deeper personas of beauty shopper + gym goer, beauty shopper + office worker etc.

Understand the capabilities of digital platforms for content planning – Knowing the visual nature of product discovery and the role Instagram has proven to play, we planned for vertical, full screen video content custom made for the platform.

The performance of the campaign spoke for itself. The audiences that received the customised content converted 27% better than the holdout group that received generic content.

Performance needs context, context, context.

The ball is in your court

Are you curious about the impact this new way of planning can have on your marketing too? Come talk to us at ADA – we have creative strategy teams who specialise in this across 10 markets in South and Southeast Asia.

See how it works for you

Let us show you in few steps.