70:20:10 Test:Reward:Success – An iterative approach to paid media

We recently held an event for charity and non-profit digital teams about how Agile can help make digital and comms teams more effective. Jon Clarke, Director of Innovation at Space and Time Media delivered a great presentation on the use of testing in paid media campaigns and how an iterative approach is essential for long term success. He also very kindly agreed to write the talk up for the Manifesto blog.

We’ve included a few selected slides but you can see the full deck over at Slideshare.


In every instance buying digital media space should adhere to the principle of test and reward, for only that way shall success happen. There is no silver bullet in digital media.

What to test? What to measure?

First though what should you be testing and what or how are you measuring? There are plenty of answers for both depending on your experience and technical solution abilities.

Even when you think you are successful you cannot stop testing as not only the media evolves, but more importantly the user’s habits and use of devices does too.

For your website at least implement and use Google Analytics and set goals/KPIs, measure these using goal tag pixels affixed to the right pages of your website, fired into use by cookies or tagged URLs.

Tracking: pixels, goal tags, cookies; it's all changing

Understand that every solution that creates stats will not marry 100% with another, but if possible know why.

Track stats across publisher and third party adserver, GA and even offline data like Ipsos and EPOS.

Measurable data

Keep track of changing user behaviours

Note that the public are using the mobile web more and that if you look at your Google Analytic stats you will no doubt find Tablet better converting than Mobile and iOS devices far better than Android.

Future proof yourself by having a quicker, easier to use mobile/tablet based website, by 2016 it will be 65%+ of your traffic

Note that Facebook, Twitter, Google and the use of more data driven 3rd party solutions within Programmatic Buying is allowing you to buy ever more segmented and more targeted audiences and then create lookalike audiences of these or indeed your own customer database.

Programmatic buying

Ad formats are becoming both more complex as in offering more reasons to click, engage with, share and that those booked within social networking sites are in the main cheaper to buy with greater reach and targeting within them.

Facebook ad placements

The rise of second screen sync advertising

The audience isn’t consuming through one device at a time: in 60% of sitting rooms the TV audience is on another screen at the same time, thus second-screen sync advertising will become the norm and a great way for those brands that cannot afford TV advertising to positively disrupt their larger competitors and steal actions and sales.

Second screen sync advertising

Users are becoming more tech savvy and happy to use easily 3 devices in one day to carry out an action; mobile phone search on commute, desktop at work to view video reviews and then purchase on tablet or laptop in the evening. Brands that offer a seamless opportunity to keep that user with them, where all navigation is the same across each screen, will be more successful.

Video killed the Image, which killed the Text

Text will be replaced by Video (in most cases it’s already being replaced by Image). Facebook will become, by the end of 2014, the largest site for video viewing. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge not only created the surge of video on Facebook, it showed people who had never uploaded a video from their phone how easy it was. While sharing on YouTube is uncommon, Facebook sharing is second nature to most users, so the virality and reach is far greater there.

Twitter testing promoted video ads

Targeting: an embarrassment of riches

Targeting is not just about demographic, or indeed general location or keyword search. The arsenal at a good media agency’s fingertips includes type of ad, position of ad, type of device, daypart, weather, behavioural, contextual, retargeting, user/customer profiles, lookalike data. Importantly for the future, it also includes fully integrated offline media that has been digitised in some form or another: from 2D print with Augmented Reality, or QR codes, to Brands or Locations with NFC (Near Field Communication).

Paid media targeting factors

The 70:20:10 approach

So 70:20:10? When planning your media 70% goes on what you know works in the past, 20% goes on testing more extreme online variants (split audiences, split ad-copy testing, split device format) and 10% goes on new innovation – AR, QR, TV Ad Sync or perhaps Twitter Lead Gen or some Native Advertising.

Innovative testing approach

No matter what, digital ad testing is a bit science and a lot of interpretation, be prepared to evolve your thinking and because what you test this month will be different in a few months’ time.

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