5 ways to mitigate challenges during the campaign cycle

By Todd Van Etten, Chief Digital Strategist

Last week Sharon and I had the pleasure of traveling to Miami, FL to attend a conference on programmatic advertising. We were both asked to present on a panel discussing media planning and how to anticipate and mitigate challenges in the upcoming campaign cycle. Below are five takeaways from the robust discussion; we are excited to share these with you and are of course always available for a conversation.

  1. Leverage tools and what is knowable. The data is out there—if you plan and know where to find it. Media consumption habits, past campaign analytics, overarching industry trends, geographic discrepancies, and cultural differences can all be leveraged to plan upcoming campaigns. Each will provide another datapoint that can inform creative, or targeting, or timing of your campaign, and ensure you’re hitting people with the greatest efficiency. 

  2. Go to where your audience is. As we progress toward the election, the cost of available inventory will go up across the board. Not all is lost though. Many advertisers will bid on the same platforms, meaning that inventory is where the cost is most affected. This is why we look at where the target audience is spending time and where large portions of the media is over or under indexing and where the resulting incremental reach can be obtained across multiple channels. Broadcast and cable can provide large, splashy buys but inventory on CTV and digital provide opportunities to be surgical, stretch resources further, and fully saturate targets. 

  3. Failure is a fantastic way to learn. One of the great aspects of digital advertising is the flexibility when it comes to testing. Data can provide you with decisions on what has worked well in the past, but it shouldn’t be your only guide. Trust your instincts on what might work in each situation, and test those instincts head-to-head against other variants, channels, or platforms. You never know what will work best, and there is zero shame in being proven wrong by the data early on to inform changes in the larger or later campaign.

  4. Plan ahead, but plan to be nimble. The best laid plans are meant for the garbage can. Conventional wisdom (and/or data) may say that social ads are the most effective at driving conversions. But if native ads are delivering a much higher click and conversion rate, shouldn’t we adjust and allocate the bulk of the remaining budget for that objective? In almost all cases the answer is yes, and quickly spotting these instances and pivoting your plan is what makes the best campaigns successful.

  5. Never lose sight of the bigger picture. People love stories, and narratives abound in political and public policy campaigns. While you can follow the data and optimize for what’s having the greatest resonance in the moment, don’t forget that there is an end date for campaigns, and tried-and-true narrative arcs are the most effective way to change minds.

We hope you find these takeaways helpful. We’re excited for the upcoming campaign season, and can’t wait to put these learnings into practice for our clients’ campaigns.