The Cambridge Analytica story was a fiasco that caught most of us unaware. While the global media chose to rightly focus on the privacy issues surrounding that entire scandal, one thing got left behind – the fact that it was possible for them to gather such data in the first place. What this scandal also showed the world is that digital technology has made even subjective opinions of the masses quantifiable. This is the single most important contribution of the internet to the world economy, polity, and society.
In order to harness this benefit of online media for your business, all you need is the right system which can be created with the right albeit ethical digital marketing experiment. Unfortunately, because it seems so complicated to run a digital marketing experiment most people view it as running the gauntlet against their bosses and their customers. It doesn’t have to be this way. All you need is the know-how of running a digital marketing experiment. Here are a few steps to help you along.
Find the Balance between Investment and Returns
Function and logic are the hallmarks of any real-world experiment whether it is in STEM subjects or marketing. In digital marketing, it pays to be more careful because there’re always low hanging fruits that you can pluck of the online tree. That is unless you’ve been running such experiments for a while and have exhausted all the low hanging desserts. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you haven’t run even one digital marketing experiment.
Spotting low hanging fruits can be easy. You just need to monitor what your leading competitors have been doing and try to implement the same. For example, if you have e-commerce website for party supplies and the competitor you’re trying to catch is heavily active on Facebook, then that’s what you can do too.
Another way to spot these low hanging fruits is through housekeeping efforts. For this, you do your own data research and spot where the discrepancies are. Invariably, newer businesses will find gaps in either service or presentation that are pulling them back from their potential as per the market dynamics.
It is also advisable to manage your marketing budget with safety first in mind. This means that if certain things are working for you, then you invest 80 to 90 percent of your allocated budget on those marketing avenues. The balance 10 to 20 percent you can use for a digital marketing budget or even. This will ensure that you don’t feel like you’re overreaching.
Establish the Broader Question or Area of Concern
The previous point was about maximising returns and minimising investments. Once you have the majority of your budget in the safe corner, you can look at the riskier prospects. Take note that we didn’t say risky prospects but instead “riskier” prospects. This just means that your digital marketing experiment will be riskier when compared to your sure shot techniques. It doesn’t have to be risky.
The trick is to go about it in a structured manner. First, you need to find the broad area where you wish to conduct a digital marketing experiment. Most businesses will be able to come up with this quick time because most businesses have a vague idea of what marketing approach they want to approach.
This broader question or area of concern can be anything from trying out a new social media channel, a different target audience, a novel product idea, or even alternate types of content.
Refine the Broader Question into a More Specific Query
While most businesses will know the broader question or area where they want to run a digital marketing experiment, the majority will not know what they want to specifically work on. This step from the broader question to a more specific query is where most businesses get stuck. Typically, they end up picking up queries at random to test and when they don’t get the returns they’d hoped for, they abandon their experimenting regimes.
This step can be equated to defining a hypothesis in the traditional scientific experiment methodology. Drilling down to a specific query within the broader question is about data analysis. For example, you may want to step into Facebook for the first time because you’ve seen your competitors get results from that medium. This is the broader area of concern. The specific query could be anything including the use of Facebook adverts, the relevance of video content, nature of images being shared, or even which type of content to share.
There are certain experiments that are very popular because they yield really significant results. Most of these are for the social media arena. If you’re interested in running social media marketing experiments too, then we have created a list of some of the most effective in terms of returns.
Go Searching For All Existing Findings in Your Area
After you have you refined hypothesis, you need to check if you even need to conduct a digital marketing experiment on it. You won’t need to if information on a similar experiment is available online. There are so many players in the online world that it is highly likely that someone somewhere has already conducted the same experiment.
While you will need to evaluate the suitability of the findings of someone else’s experiments in your business, more often than not, compatibility will not be a problem. You don’t need to devote resources towards reinventing the wheel. To find the said wheel, however, you will need to research all available data sources online. You may even have to pay for a few but it will all pay off in the long run.
Create a Step-By-Step Strategy for the Digital Marketing Experiment
So you’ve looked everywhere but are unable to find other experiments and results that are relevant to your specific query or your business. This means that you need to run your digital marketing experiment. You’ll need to create a step-by-step strategy to truly unlock the benefits of such experiments.
There are certain things you need to keep in mind while creating your experiment roadmap. These are timings and schedules, objectives and goals, target audience and percentage split, design concerns, monitoring and assessment, and system-wide implementation.
Timings and schedules refer to when you’ll be running the digital marketing experiment, what will be its duration, and will you need a staggered schedule for its implementation. Objectives and goals are statements or expectations that you’ll have to specify to evaluate when an experiment is a success or failure.
The target audience will be the nature of the audience you’re targeting while percentage split refers to the percentage of your traffic you will be directing towards the experimental element. Design concerns are simply design guidelines you’ll be following if your experiment involves design changes.
Monitoring and assessment, as is obvious, refers to a system for monitoring the effects your changes bring in user behaviours. Finally, system-wide implementation will be a plan for making successful changes a permanent part of your existing system.