Stop Optimizing Constantly! Let Performance Marketing Breathe

Let's face it: When we see low-hanging fruit, our natural instinct is to go for it. When we need to make decisions, the human brain operates in the same way that an economist runs a cost-benefit analysis. We like to take the easy way out, because our brains trick us into thinking that the low-hanging fruit is the ripest—when that’s often not the case.

Now maybe you’re asking how that applies to the world of marketing. Or maybe, like me, you recognize that going after the low-hanging fruit has been the norm in digital marketing for the last decade. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, given that the emergence of big ad-tech platforms has created a healthy digital ecosystem and spurred wonderful growth, enabling us to constantly seek optimization.

But before you know it, you've fallen into the habit of constantly grasping for the next apple, always thinking about tactics rather than long-term strategy. We can’t give in to this obsession with over-optimization and make rapid changes, however tempting it may be.



We need to let our performance marketing breathe and give our algorithms a chance to work.

As with anything else in life, if you're willing to make a short-term sacrifice, you'll reap long-term benefits.

In other words, sometimes we need to hang tight, wait and observe.

Most buyers act with an urge to optimize as fast as possible, but making changes when a campaign has only been running for three days is often a mistake, given that there’s no statistical significance to justify or inform a shift.

On the other hand, just because you've had three days of good results doesn’t mean  it's going to be like that for the duration of the campaign.

If you’re looking for a clear-cut answer as to when you should “hold” or “fold,” look elsewhere—because I don’t have one. It's all shades of gray.

Context and careful observation are king in this case. Ensuring you have a very clear idea of exactly how the account is set up, how much and what data points you’re capturing, what your KPIs are and what bid strategies you’re using—these are all things you need to take into consideration before you decide what move to make.

But sometimes things just aren’t working. If you look at your campaign data and realize it’s not performing as you had expected it to, pivot and investigate every part of the test, from creative and copy to the landing page.  

That last piece is essential. While most marketers often hope to find the answers within the audiences we’re targeting, actually most of the time the answer is in the ad creative. That’s what really matters.

As we say, “bad creative in, bad performance out, 80% of the time,” although you sometimes do get lucky. Ultimately, if we spent more time focusing on making great, eye-catching, mouse-stopping ads, performance would naturally improve.

Don’t underestimate the importance of search terms, either. Review them for relevance to ensure you’re capturing the right traffic and searches. And while you’re at it, double-check your campaign settings. The smallest of things could catch you out. 

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