When planning digital campaigns, the focus is firmly on the data and rightly so. However, whilst we tend to create strategies based on the data we do have, the data that we don't have can be just as valuable but often gets overlooked. The reality is, no matter how much we know about our customer, product and channels, all strategies are based on assumptions. In this talk, we will discuss how we can not only identify those assumptions but turn them into optimisation opportunities that will help us improve future campaign performance and ultimately meet our business objectives.

Key takeaways

  • When planning digital campaigns, the focus should be firmly on the data. However, the data you don’t have is just as valuable.
  • If a statement can’t be verified with evidence, then it’s meaningless.
  • There isn’t a perfect relationship between the validity of your strategy and your overall performance.
  • Reconceptualize your ideas into hypotheses.
  • By forming hypotheses, you’re allowed to get things wrong, and then you can use that knowledge to improve next time.

[08:50] Planning Digital Campaigns

  • Focus firmly on the data you have.
    • However, the data you do not have can be equally valuable.
  • Identify assumptions, then turn them into optimization opportunities that will hopefully help improve future campaign performance, and ultimately meet business objectives.
  • The Verification Principle:
    • Something only has meaning if it can be verified with evidence.
  • The Falsification Principle:
    • For a statement to be considered meaningful (in a scientific sense), it must be able to be tested and conceivably proved false.

[12:33] How to know if your strategy is the right one

  • If you’re meeting your business objectives, you’re probably doing something right.
    • However, many things can impact how you meet our business objectives even if your strategy has a lot of merit.
      • If you’re an airline company, no matter how solid your strategy was at the beginning of 2020, it was impossible to meet your business objectives.
    • A strategy is a collection of ideas, ideally aligned with your business objective and based on insight.
      • Product & Price
      • Creative Messaging
      • Audience Prioritisation
      • Channel Mix & Tactics
      • Budget & Phasing
        • No matter how solid your objectives and data, however, a lot of how you define these factors will be based on assumptions.
          • This doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you’re aware that this is what’s going on.
            • You can maintain this awareness by reconceptualizing your ideas as hypotheses, which are measurable with a clear KPI.
          • Insight –> Hypothesis –> Results –> Optimisation

[18:02] How to Form a Hypothesis

  • Summarise your strategy in 5 bullet points.
  • Now take those ideas and fill out this table:
    • Idea
      • Students will be our priority audience.
    • Insight
      • They over-index for being Apple brand fans.
    • Hypothesis
      • Students will drive the highest number of sales and the lowest CPA.
    • Measurement
      • Sales volume and CPA

Q and A on knowing what you don’t know when building campaigns

Q: How do you make assumptions based on tiny data sets (i.e. such as when you have a small business)?

A: Ultimately, it all comes down to acknowledging that you’re making assumptions and getting clear on whether or not you’ll be happy making a business decision based on those assumptions.


Q: What is your go-to place for market research?

A: You don’t have to go for paid market research tools. If you want to look at things like consumer demand, for example, Google Trends is the best place to go for that. In terms of paid tools, I use Similarweb PRO quite a lot which models how people behave across the internet on different websites.


Q: In terms of your 4-point model (Idea, Insight, Hypothesis, Measurement), would you include SMART objectives?

A: Yes. Just be clear about how long you’re going to be testing something or what the KPI or measure of success is. The key is to take a structured approach to it.


Q: With regards to sales volume and CPA, would you need to provide more detail around these? Often, we’re encouraged to add +10% in sales.

A: If that +10% in sales is what you need to achieve in order to be successful, then yes, I would include that.


Q: How many people are involved in the evaluation of your business?

A: It completely depends. This applies to businesses of all sizes. Even one person can do it all themselves.


Q: How much time should you spend on deciding your strategy? Do you set a cut-off to set your objectives?

A: Your time-frame for setting objectives depends on the requirements of your specific business. In terms of a strategy, we want to start in advance of your launch, ideally three months. Really, I’d rather do it in 4-8 weeks.

This event was live on 30 Nov 2021, 08:30