You remember the good old days, right? The days gone by when we marketers could test and experiment our way to results? It had a sense of playfulness and mystery to it. There were far fewer distractions back then – fewer social platforms, less advertising opportunities, and smartphones were just becoming commonplace for consumers.

Now we find ourselves pulled in so many directions without enough hours in the day. One of the first things to fall victim to in this demanding environment has been the mindset of experimentation that drove digital marketing to the forefront of modern advertising. Have we become so afraid of failure and busied by metrics that we’ve forgotten the joy of plugging and playing different tactics into our campaigns?

It’s time that digital marketers return to this playful mindset. Experimentation can take many forms including test budgets, A/B testing creative, copy and landing pages, employing dayparting schedules, and more. We must not be afraid of failure and instead invite a sense of playfulness back into our marketing strategies. If something doesn’t work, learn from it and try something else. If something does work, how can it be amplified and pushed further?

The importance of testing

As sharks need to continuously swim to survive, digital marketers must also continue moving and shifting to achieve long-standing success. Have you stuck with a handful of channels that have plateaued or gone stale? Investing in a variety of channels, new and proven, can ensure you’re reaching a vast audience of targeted consumers throughout the buyer’s funnel.

More than 575,000 websites and nearly 5,000 mobile apps launch every day, which means consumers are constantly flooded with an overwhelming amount of options. These options inherently throw consumers’ digital buying habits into flux, which leaves opportunities for marketers to capture their attention and inhabit large portions of market share. This is where the crucial nature of campaign testing comes center stage. Invest in display ads to get in front of your target audience, try a few different creative assets to see what drives the most engagement, test new copy to learn what converts best.

Ultimately, these campaigns can always be paused, optimised, and relaunched, and that’s the beauty of today’s digital marketplace. If something’s not working, take a look at why it isn’t performing. Is it the wrong channel? Are consumers confused as to what action you’re driving them to take? These questions and others will help marketers maintain a productive experimental mindset, which can be invaluable to ensure campaigns are moving forward and KPIs are being achieved. Campaign testing will look different across channels, payment types, verticals, devices, and business models, but the core principle is the same; stagnancy can be the death of any brand.

Testing methodologies

As mentioned above, there are so many ways to go about conducting experiments within your digital marketing strategy. One of the most important pieces to plan for are test budgets. These small budgets allow you to test various pricing models or campaign types to learn what performs best for your product or service. Test budgets also enable partners, such as affiliates, to prove their traffic can achieve the KPIs that you’re looking to fulfill. Without allocating time and spend for test budgets, marketers may need to pause and reassess their campaign strategy more frequently to adjust to any bumps in the road.

Additional methods for marketers to play with include A/B testing and dayparting. We love both of these options because not only are they effective, they’re also free. A/B testing copy or creative assets is a simple and effective way to gauge how audiences will respond to your content. Dayparting is also a great tool for those marketers who may be located in a separate part of the country or globe from some of their target markets. If you’re a marketer driving consumers to complete a form fill, it’s important to understand the factors that go into creating landing pages that convert. Some of these factors, such as a catchy headline or captivating design, apply to a wide range of assets across the marketing mix and should not be overlooked.

Martech’s role in campaign play

Many tracking platforms have features that allow marketers and partners to perform various tests to understand how to best reach and convert consumers. These tracking tools may be available through your network or agency partners but can also be purchased through third-party service providers. With this technology at your disposal, testing and campaign optimisations can often be automated in order to give time back to the marketer. 

Network or agency partners with proprietary platforms or technology solutions may offer marketers and affiliate partners features that enable granular offer testing and automation. Such features can include methods of automating A/B offer testing or prioritising offers based on budget and dayparting parameters. These capabilities not only save time and ad spend but also drive higher campaign efficiency and overall ROI.

The digital marketing realm continues to ramp up with no end in sight, while marketers like you and I continue to look for ways to get the most out of our marketing efforts. Take a moment to pause and ask yourself if you’ve incorporated enough play into your strategy. Whether it’s incorporating more testing, trying something new, or automating a process that’s been overlooked, there is always room for improvement in our day-to-day lives. What can you do today to improve the outcome of tomorrow? Where can you incorporate more play into what may otherwise be mundane? Don’t let your campaigns standstill, take the reins and get moving.