What does optimising mean?
Optimising means making changes to improve performance.
It is a catchall term in digital marketing. It can be used to refer to any process that alters how a campaign is delivering, to improve its performance.
This can include improving any metric such as CTR, CPC, CPA, VfM, Page Load Speed, Conversion Rate (CRO), or anything really. It can also include manual optimisation (by a person), or automated optimisation (by an AI).
It is usually based either on analytics gathered from previous marketing efforts or else best practices.
What is optimising?
Optimising should be an ongoing activity for any digital marketer. This is because performance can almost always be improved.
It should be undertaken in a methodical way. This means reviewing stats at practical and regular intervals. For example, checking how your AdWords ad groups are performing on the same day each week is a good idea.
We at The Online Advertising Guide don’t recommend messing with success, however. If something has metrics that are constantly improving, then attempting to optimise it could have the opposite effect. If you really do need to optimise something which is improving, then consider a/b testing. This way you can test your improvements, rather than damaging your main campaign.
Note: Change in and of itself is not optimising, merely fiddling! Changing online advertising often leads to negative results, even when the changes are objectively good.
Many platforms will automatically optimise content. From Facebook automatically showing people posts they are interested in, to display networks showing ads to get more clicks, this is very common.
However, this does generally not mean that digital marketers should not do their own optimisation as well. Working with in-built optimisation programs often simply means working slower. In AdWords for example, leaving at a week between changes gives Google’s algorithms a chance to catch up.
On other platforms, it can be as simple as seeing what is or isn’t working according to the platforms AI and responding. This can mean making new ads, moving your budget around, or simply stopping what you’re doing.
Any ongoing digital marketing needs a spreadsheet. You should be recording stats on an ongoing basis. This is so you can effectively monitor the effect of changes you make.
Most of the time, you will populate this spreadsheet with data that can be downloaded directly from your ad platform. However keeping a spreadsheet forces you to manually update your information, and creates a regular opportunity to review how things are going.
Having your own spreadsheet also gives you a chance to create your own audit trail of changes for clients/bosses etc.