Calculating the Value of Paid Media Automation

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When you’re bringing a new tool into your business process, it can be difficult to translate its value into a dollar amount. When considering tools to help streamline your paid media process, the main areas to focus on are existing media spend, time spent by your teams on low-value tasks, and money and time spent on maintenance of in-house tools to manage your campaign tracking.

When considering media spend, there are often opportunities to optimize performance with your agency or in-house team, but this requires the ability to tie detailed data about the campaign to subsequent on-site behavior. To categorize campaigns successfully and tie them to web behavioral data, it is necessary to have a clean, consistent, and sufficiently detailed campaign naming process, and to ensure that all pages that campaigns point to are live and have analytics implemented. Claravine tackles all of these issues, providing the solid data foundation you need to make educated decisions about which campaigns are leading to high-value activity. With the resultant clean data, you can estimate a certain degree of improvement in return on ad spend (ROAS).

In managing analytics for your campaigns, there are many tedious tasks that often fall to analysts or architects on your team. These resources often have hard-to-find technical skills that are in demand for major projects, yet often find themselves performing repetitive data cleaning tasks more than necessary. This decreases their job satisfaction and takes them away from transformational projects where their time may be better spent. The types of tasks they might be performing include many of the following:

  • Initially creating manual campaign tracking spreadsheets
  • Cleaning, formatting, and uploading classification files into Adobe Analytics
  • Manually validating campaign tracking readiness prior to go-live
  • Troubleshooting pages or campaigns whose tracking is not working properly after the campaign is already live
  • Auditing existing data and manually combining similar rows that are actually the same campaign, yet have inconsistent names

Meanwhile, the marketing teams may be waiting on the analytics team impatiently to validate their campaigns so they can launch on time if they do not have a self-service option. There might be time wasted in the following areas:

  • Delaying or missing launch of time-sensitive campaigns waiting on back-and-forth approval process from analytics team
  • Launching campaigns that can’t be successfully tracked due to lack of approval process or not following the process, resulting in incomplete information about performance, leading to lower-quality decisions about spend in the future
  • Excessive time spent figuring out which campaign is which and making sense of analytics reporting due to unclear naming conventions

Check in with your analytics and marketing teams to see if any of this sounds familiar. Ask them to keep track of tasks like these over the course of a week or a month, then figure an approximate total for monthly wasted hours. If there is significant overlap between the tasks of 2 individuals or teams, that can be considered “duplicative effort.” In Claravine’s ROI Calculator (ask us), there are entries for data clean up, manual tasks as well as a duplicate effort. There are also some assumptions made for the dollar value of low-value (data entry, etc.) and high-value (attribution, sophisticated reporting, involved projects, etc.) activities. These assumptions can be changed to suit your own estimated data/costs. 

Finally, as part of an ROI calculation process, your teams may be maintaining a spreadsheet or a more sophisticated in-house tool to create accurate campaign tracking. These tools end up becoming a full-time job, yet frequently become the responsibility of someone who does not have the time to maintain them. This may be an IT team whose primary responsibility is for the website, for example, or an analytics administrator whose time would ideally be spent on tasks related to implementation health and improvement. Ask yourself:

  • How much time are these resources spending on simply keeping a spreadsheet or internal tool running so teams can complete basic tasks?
  • Are there improvements and new features that teams have requested that simply never happen since no one has the time to update this tool?
  • How often does it break?

There is likely a level of internal frustration that can be felt if you ask around. Try to get an idea from the teams maintaining the tool how much time they could spend maintaining and building features, as well as what they are truly spending today on troubleshooting and keeping it running. When calculating what you spend on in-house tool maintenance, take into account the hard costs of the platform(s) these tools run on, as well as the time cost of the teams maintaining them if they were to improve and maintain them fully. 

It’s important to remember that estimated costs are only one part of the equation. There are intangibles to consider as well. The health and happiness of your analytics and marketing teams is a real factor in the health of your business. If talented employees are spending time on less meaningful tasks, they will eventually tire of the mismatch between their skills and their day-to-day work. This leads to burnout, frustration, and decreased quality of interpersonal relationships with other teams. If these teams are unhappy, this leads to higher turnover. This winds up as a real cost in interviewing, hiring, and retraining new resources, not to mention loss of institutional knowledge over time.

Bringing in a tool to automate campaign tracking and validation can save time, improve morale, and ultimately result in cost savings and potential for improved campaign performance. Contact us to run through the ROI calculations and get an idea of how this plays out for your business! 


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