When new to Performance Marketing Automation, you might think of it as something futuristic: AI-trained algorithms outperform humans in optimizing campaigns. Or neural networks that produce the best-performing creative assets. While this does sound fascinating, is this something that exists? And if it does exist, can it actually improve our results?
Let's go back to basics first. The two most essential pieces to drive results are creative and data. In 2022 we can all agree that running paid social campaigns doesn't make sense without excellent creatives. The other piece to the puzzle is clean and robust data flowing to the ad platform. Simply measuring results in Google Analytics is not enough anymore. If you are running ads on sophisticated ad platforms like Facebook or Google, it is essential to "feed" the algorithm.
The better data you send, the better their algorithms can learn what works for you and your audience, which leads to better campaign performance.
If you are in an enviable situation where your creative is driving results, and the ad platforms' algorithms are optimizing for your best possible business goal, congratulations. You have likely established internal best practices, found a cadence to test new creatives, and even built a team that regularly shares feedback and insights to improve results and existing processes further.
If that is you, you are on the right way to scaling your performance marketing - meaning you might want to look into automation to go even further.
But what if that's not the case? Should you look for better technology? Maybe throw in some AI or magic to get those unicorn results you know you deserve?
Let's assume you are not getting the results you want. Then, when you think about primary performance drivers, ask yourself two questions:
In most cases, bad creative results from poor planning and a lack of insights. Even if you have access to the latest, cutting-edge technology, you can still end up with ad creatives that don't scale. For example, if you have no insight into whose attention you are trying to attract.
The same goes for campaign optimization. When seeing poor results, you decrease the campaign's budget. But is the data that you are looking at even correct? Do you have time to investigate the recent increase in the CPCs?
Flawed processes and bad data don't magically get fixed through some new shiny tool. Instead, look at the tools you already use daily and define processes and best practices that anyone feels comfortable with.
Start with analyzing the tools you are already using, and everyone is familiar with. Among them, you will probably find some essential tools that are the pillars of your productivity. These are our must-haves:
A must to track progress and align all stakeholders. Working in performance marketing means communicating with several other teams, and you will need a system that organizes the workflow between the team members. Moreover, it will increase transparency over deadlines and the workload of certain team members, ultimately leading to better planning. Tools such as Asana, Monday, or Trello are affordable, even for the smallest teams, or completely free. In addition, some of them will allow you to export data into Google Sheets. Which brings us to...
Sharing knowledge is impossible without proper reporting - ideally automated. But even more important is the accessibility of the reports. Everyone should understand the data, its origin, and how to work with it. Will Google Sheets report be enough? For most companies, the answer is "Yes," even those with vast data. It's the most straightforward and user-friendly solution. Most people have used it at least once, and those who don't know - can quickly learn. It's intuitive and easy to learn from available resources on Youtube, blogs, etc. There are even Google Sheets TikTok accounts.
Dropbox, GDrive, or specialized solutions? It's not that important where you store your creative assets, but the system behind it. What is the folder structure? What are your naming conventions? Can you quickly access that best-performer video from last October? Again, the organization is the key here. When you have unique names for your creative assets, and it matches the name of the ad, you can easily combine data from the platform with your content library for additional insights. And if you want to move towards automation that searches for new media files and uploads them to the ad platform, it is an essential step.
Sharing knowledge and organizing the team's workflow via Slack or email is often more than enough. Make sure to send your campaign and creative insights regularly to increase transparency and understand what works and is not. You might also set up deliverables reminders or build an approval process using Zapier (for email) or Slack workflows.
As you can see, it's possible to build functioning marketing automation systems around the most critical processes inside your company with simple, well-known tools. The moment you have a functioning system that brings your good results, you can start thinking about automating it, ultimately allowing you to do more high-value tasks and less manual, tedious ones. So before searching for magic software, focus on analyzing the workflows and systems and optimizing them with simple, well-known tools.