Can advertising make you smarter? It’s not a trick question. Advertising is expensive and where that budget goes is determined by ROI metrics. But that media spend should be generating more for you than just results. What you learn from digital advertising can be as valuable as what a campaign accomplishes. Win or lose, each campaign should improve your odds of winning next time. Best of all, it doesn’t cost any more to learn, but it does require some intentionality and effort.
Here are 5 ways that your digital advertising can make you smarter:
1. Discovery of New Audiences
If you’re digging and experimenting you may stumble upon new groups of people that you never thought about or never thought would be responsive, especially if you are using platforms like Facebook or AdWord’s Display Network. Note those audiences, test them, and walk away from a completed campaign with more tools in your toolbox.
2. Find Ways To Repeat Success
Sometimes a campaign strikes gold, everyone cheers, high fives go all around, and we add a notch to our belt before moving on. Once the confetti settles, ask the question: If you found a gold mine, are there other types of campaigns that might have success at this dig site? Connect the dots on the deep details of the campaign and make some notes about what may and may not find the same success here. Six months from now you won’t remember most of the details that are so plain now.
3. Learn Why Something Didn’t Work
Even if you fail, don’t stop until you figure out why you failed. Ask questions, examine the data, do more experimenting if you have to, but do not give up until you’ve learned something. A failure that results in learning is overpriced education, but it’s still valuable. A failure that ends in a pity party is a lose-lose. Some of the biggest successes out there are learned through many failures.
4. Pioneer Better Creative
Always have more than one piece of creative you can test, especially display ads. Testing opens your understanding to what works and what doesn’t. Never be content. Test every option. What works best may surprise you and guide your choices in the future, but you’ll never learn anything unless you try new ideas. It’s easy to pause options that don’t produce, but it’s hard to go home with bad results when you only brought one ad to the table.
5. Understand Your Competitors
Don’t just buy media and walk away, snoop around a little bit. Look for your competitors or at least others who are buying in the same space. Look at their creative, their approach, their follow-through. Even if you’re buying programmatically, look for where your impressions cluster and go check out those places. Maybe you can glean good ideas, maybe you see that everyone is doing the same thing as you and you need to change to stand out. You never know what you might learn, but you won’t learn anything without looking around.