How to Survive Q4
We work with a lot of agencies, so we’re intimately familiar with the grind of the last three months of the year (affectionately known as Q4).
Retail brands jostle for that holiday dough, internal marketing teams race to justify budgets and others prepare for Q1 blitzes.
We get it. We live it every year. Here are five things you can do to make Q4 go smoothly (and how LumenAd can help).
1. Prioritize Prep
Every campaign should’ve gone live yesterday. But rushing to get it up just to get it up will mean much more work down the line.
We find that taking time to perform proper setup — campaign architecture, dialing in the KPI, making sure all stakeholders are on the same page — saves a ton of time and effort.
A good way to start is to think about how you want that first round of reporting to look.
What is the story you want the campaign to tell? Ensure every prelaunch step lines up with that story and its ultimate goal.
This takes time. It requires you to step out of your “always busy” bubble — just completing tasks to get them off your plate will only create more tasks later.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, you need to go slow to go fast.
Carve out plenty of time to think specifically about how each platform’s architecture translates to a successful campaign.
We set up campaigns all the time. We can walk you through our process if you drop us a line. You can get a sneak-peek on our Tour page, too.
2. Make A Data Plan
While often overlooked, having a plan for gathering, ingesting and communicating data is one of the most important aspects of a successful campaign.
When done wrong, your reporting can be full of errors and data that’s missing context.
This potential for miscommunication can make mountains out of molehills, gumming up the whole process.
Avoid this by making sure the way you pull reports is repeatable.
Consistency is key to the campaign’s storytelling. It ensures the data gets the context it needs by providing a smooth transition from one report to the other.
Also, don’t just hope everything is correct.
You need to implement a firm protocol for verifying data ingestion, normalization, conversion events, landing pages, and creative before a single impression is served.
So, make a plan and process that works for your team and stick to it.
As you can probably guess, we go through this process a lot. Give us a shout if you want us to go deeper.
3. Schedule Your Optimizations
Based on the scale and scope of your campaign, you will need to decide how frequently to optimize.
Sometimes daily optimizations are all you need, other times it’s multiple per day. Either way, it’s important to schedule time for frequent optimizations in advance.
Yes, you should put it on the calendar.
A few things that inform your optimization schedule are:
Make sure you have statistically relevant data to work with. Otherwise, you’re taking stabs in the dark.
Depending on your volume, you can do daily, weekly or monthly optimizations. And with LumenAd, you can do them whenever you need to.
Always take length into account. For instance, do not leave a two-week campaign alone. You need to check on it every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Because a couple hours is all that’s needed for it to go astray.
A three-month campaign has more buffer room. You can still hit your goals if you optimize weekly or every couple of days.
You don’t necessarily need to tweak one variable at a time, but you do need to be intentional about which knobs you’re turning.
It’s important to know what has an affect and what doesn’t. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and money.
So plan out which variables to adjust first — whitelist updates, creative A/B testing, targeting tweaks — and work incrementally from there towards your KPI.
We’d be more than happy to show you how we plan out our optimization schedules (hint: it has to do with LumenAd’s real-time visibility).
4. Share the Wins
This is crucial and will help you keep your sanity. If you communicate what is going well, everyone will be a little happier.
In a services-oriented field, it’s easy to shift into a mode where you only share the problems and their solutions. It’s human nature. But if that’s all your team talks about, you’re in for a bad Q4.
Go outside of the box and shout it from the mountaintops when it works.
Learn from your successes as much as you learn from your failures.
Then share those lessons with all the stakeholders.
It shows you’re invested in the success of the campaign. It shows you take the time to truly understand the campaign’s impact.
With LumenAd’s reporting functions, we make sure to plug in positive insights every time we can.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Q4 can be stressful. To succeed, you’ve got to be at your best. Get that fancy cup of coffee. Treat yourself to a nice lunch. Take breaks often.
We hope you found this helpful! Drop us a line if you’d like more insight on how to make Q4 a success.