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Most people consume a lot of media using digital technology, and that’s good news for marketers. We can get information on everything from demographics for website visitors to names of those who opened a marketing email and what they did afterward. All that information is data that can provide useful insights into marketing strategy. Savvy marketers now make analyzing that data a major part of their work.

What do we do with data after we gather it? Optimize campaign strategy. What does that mean? It’s pretty simple. Optimizing, in general, is a process of making something as good as it possibly can be. You can optimize just about anything. But in a marketing context, optimizing a campaign means refining and retooling your approach to bring about the best-possible result.

What Is Optimization?

Optimizing means different things depending on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to increase engagement on social media, the optimization process could involve finding out how much engagement you’re getting and setting improvement goals. You’ll need to measure both. Simply saying that your engagement is currently “low” and that you want it to be “higher” is fine in a general sense. Using data makes it easier to pin down specifics.

Specifics are very important when it comes to setting goals. If you don’t know exactly where you are and where you’re trying to go, how will you know when you’ve actually arrived at your destination? Data-based optimization lets you pinpoint specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can then measure from beginning to goal.

Data isn’t just about finding out what point A and point B are, though. You can gather data to learn more about how your audience behaves and what they like to see from you. The more information you have about what generates a positive response, the better you can optimize your strategy to meet your goals. That means you’ll need to find a way to measure your audience’s preferences in order to see definitively which approach is the most optimal.

Simple Data Gathering: Split Testing

The world of data campaign optimization can seem intimidating if you aren’t yet digging into the numbers very much. But don’t let the concept of data fool you; this isn’t a high-level statistics class. You’re simply trying to find out which approaches work best for your marketing goals.

That means that sometimes, the simplest approach can be the best. Sure, some people are wowed by complexity. But if you can’t understand the data you’re gathering, there isn’t much point. It’s best to stick with something you can easily understand and act on to get better results.

That’s why split testing, also known as A/B testing, can be so effective. This technique allows you to get specific in testing what drives the most encouraging data for specific KPIs. For example, if you want to increase your email open rate, you can split test different subject lines. All this means is that you send the same email out to the same people with two different subject lines. If one results in a significantly higher open rate than the other, that means you’ve found a good formula for writing an attention-grabbing subject line.

This can work for other types of content as well. Blog posts, for example, can get different titles and thumbnail images. You can also split test things like call-to-action lines, product descriptions, video titles, and so on.

When you gather data this way, make sure you’re controlling for variables that can artificially throw off your result. For example, don’t just put up new blog posts at random times and compare them. You should post Blog 1 and Blog 2 at the same time of day on the same day of the week. It doesn’t have to be the exact same day; you can try one one week after the other. You’ll also want to do identical promotion for each and gather data over the exact same time period, whether that’s hours, days or weeks.

The goal is to get a clean, unadulterated test that produces real data. You’ll end up with something objective to use in optimizing your strategy. It’s easy enough to guess what might resonate with your audience. But you’ll only really know that your guess is good enough when you measure the results using objective data.

Getting More Advanced

Data gathering doesn’t end with split testing. You can go much further than that and use more data campaign optimization strategies to find your proven route to success. These days, marketers should use things like market research data and intuition as starting points that then get optimized with the assistance of results-focused data.

There’s a variety of programs that can help you automate your data collection and analysis too. Just don’t view it as something that’ll add a lot of extra work to your plate. There’s no need to rely on guesswork when you can use data to optimize your best marketing strategy.