Since the onset of the recession, ROI has become the buzzword, and agencies are more accountable than ever for their clients' online media spend. It doesn't take a genius to work out whether online advertising is working, but which aspect of the advertising is working best can be hard to quantify.
Campaign Management (CM) provides the answers. As clients ask us to justify their media choices and give meaningful insight – and rightly so – CM makes the media accountable.
CM is about optimization in its broadest sense. Firstly, it refers to audit-style checks of sites and their performance. In one particular case in 2010, we were given over £70k of free media (at rate card prices) in one quarter thanks to CM optimization – ironically, a much larger figure than our client originally spent on the product. Another knock-on effect of CM is that the media are more solicitous about our campaigns, as the fast, easy sell they enjoyed in the boom times becomes a distant memory.
Secondly, optimization addresses the relevance factor. It's no good having thousands of visitors to a site if no one actually applies for a vacancy. CM provides the data and insights. These can be used for detailed analysis of whether the copy was misleading, or the site generating the traffic was pitching to the wrong audience, or if any other problem cropped up unexpectedly.
Finally, but probably less important in the current market, CM can compare creative executions. Campaign performance might be down to the number of banners served – but is it the red banner or the blue banner that has generated the most applications? This analysis can be done automatically by our Adserver as the campaign is running.
It's not always that simple, of course, and when media sites generate good levels of relevant traffic to a client's ATS, CM can offer analysis. This is typically Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per App (CPA) and Cost per Hire (CPH), although obviously CPH can be time-consuming, as it requires a candidate to start the journey, go through the whole process and then take up the position. But through these KPIs, we can advise clients on future media choices, the products on which they should concentrate their budgets and which media works best for specific job titles, as well as providing details on SEM keyword performance.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. KPIs need to be set up in good time. We make it our business to know what our clients expect and then meet those expectations. We also know that regular QA against a client's requirements leads to the best CM experience. It might delay the 'go live' date, but allowing proper planning time always pays off in the long term.