How do most digital advertisers measure success? Through data analysis, of course.

But, not enough advertisers have access to their own digital data in a usable way.

Such a pity.

It’s not about big data, it’s about sourcing usable data.

A recent report about financial advertisers using digital channels has been published. It is worth a read. (Contact details at the bottom of this article.)

The report is based upon data captured through a data management platform across seven brands and five months.

It shows what brands can do, and should do, leveraging their own (and owned) first-party data.

I urge you to have a look at this table and think about it. It sums up success in digital lead generation a.k.a. performance advertising.

With a data management platform, this team has looked into a range of digital channels for a range of brands and found that retargeting and Facebook ads have the best return on ad spend (ROAS) for financial products.

The report shows how advertisers can now measure how to spend their media dollars more smartly. For example, old-fashioned digital performance models would favour “last click attribution”. This is where paid search (SEM) aways won, hands down. Because you see a display banner ad and then are more likely to search online afterwards than to click a banner. I mean, when was the last time you, dear reader, clicked a banner?

So, banner ads (retargeting banners and facebook ads) are vital to success.

It’s not rocket science.

And it can also show what creative executions are driving conversions too.

With this sort of data management, it’s easy to test, learn and optimise.

It’s important to explain what retargeting is. Some media agencies love to make it sound complicated. But it’s not. In short, once you’ve been to “brand website ABC”, we’ll send ads to the very browser that you just used across other sites. And those ads will be asking you to come back to “brand website ABC” to register as a customer in one way or another. Once you register we know not to bombard you any more. You’ve already registered after all! But till you register, we will be likely to bombard you.

So here’s the importance for creative agencies to understand modern media and data: with retargeting there’s a high frequency, so if you don’t have a great – and I mean great – variety of creative banners then “fatigue” or “wear-out” sets in. And again, this is where you can test, learn and optimise. Which creative is performing – this is information that you can act on in real-time too.

The table says that paid ads on Facebook have a good return on ad spend too.

So it’s key to understand how to use Facebook.

To be frank, as soon as you’ve understood the most exciting ways to use Facebook as an advertiser, you’ll find they’ve launched something new. Like all successful digital businesses today, they too are testing, learning and optimising what works for them. And we – as advertisers and also as both creative and media agencies – have to keep up.

How? Let’s all talk directly to Facebook – rare for a creative agency, but vital!

For purpose of this article, we’ll simply say, we now need to buy ads on Facebook.

Community management will become harder and harder (because Facebook doesn’t make money from that!).

As above we need high frequency, a clear call to action and high rotation of great ads.

How do you measure digital success?

Who do you use to understand your own data?

Do you recommend them?

Thank you, Datalicious Australia! Thank you for bringing to life what we should all be looking at and understanding. (No, I’m not paid to publicise this company. You can currently download the media attribution report via their homepage: