The landscape of digital marketing is a complex, multifaceted terrain where businesses strive to capture the attention of their target audience while outshining competitors.
To navigate this landscape and increase the likelihood of success, marketers have established a set of foundational principles known as "golden rules." These rules are not arbitrary; they represent a carefully crafted framework that guides marketers in optimizing their campaigns and ensuring they resonate with their intended audience.
In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at what golden rules are, and why it’s so important to measure not just compliance with your golden rules, but also the impact that compliance has on your marketing activities.
What are golden rules?
Golden rules are essentially a set of best practice guidelines for the set up of media campaigns and the measurement of delivery and performance.
Golden rules will vary depending on what you’re advertising, and the type of campaign you’re running, but you can see a few common examples below:
- Limiting ad spend during early morning
- Limiting the frequency of ads being shown to a single customer in a week
- Showing your brand in the first five seconds of a video
- Achieving a minimum level of viewability across your ads
- Only using assets created specifically for a specific channel
Modern customers continue to demand a more varied range of touchpoints to interact with brands, and that means that marketing teams have a wide spread of different activities going on at any one time.
To make sure that budgets are being allocated efficiently, marketers need to be able to measure compliance with these golden rules and make sure they’re actually being followed. On top of this, they also need to be able to measure the impact of these golden rules on their marketing campaigns and figure out if they’re actually improving the efficiency of their marketing activities.
This in turn will help to raise marketing standards across the business as a whole and help to provide points of comparison across markets, brands, business units, and agency partners.
The challenges of measuring golden rules: Automated Vs. manual rules
The measurement of golden rules can be really simple - such as monitoring whether a campaign stops running ads through the early hours of the morning. However, measuring compliance gets trickier when rules aren’t linked to data points that can be easily found or automatically registered. In fact, some of the rules may only be items to cross off of a checklist before pushing a campaign live.
As a result, there are no traditional metrics or ways of measuring compliance with these rules on an individual campaign basis, let alone at scale. A rule such as “show the brand in the first 5 seconds of a video creative” is not going to have a relevant metric in the platform it has been utilized on. We refer to these rules as ‘manual’, as they often require human input to be able to both create and then collect the required data points.
How can you measure golden rule compliance?
When measuring these manual rules, the question becomes how do we measure them when there is nothing that can be measured? The answer to this question is to create appropriate manual processes that lead to the creation of data points and help to develop sustainable and scalable pipelines for this data. To do this, we can follow the process we have outlined in the flowchart below:
Essentially, where possible, a golden rule should be measured and automated by either pulling a specific data point or by analyzing a set of data points that can be pulled from a marketing platform.
However, where the rule requires human input in order to generate the data points (e.g. Show the brand in the first 5 seconds of video ads), marketers must rely on people following processes to generate the data required. The output from those processes should be simple, and easily connected up to the rest of the marketing data that the organization is querying.
How to build best practice compliance measurements into your data strategy
While a few manual checks are par for the course, marketers can free up time and optimize campaigns more easily by automating as much of the best practice compliance measurement process as possible. This is where an integrated data platform (IDP) can enable a business to take the outputs from their golden rules processes and transform them into data at scale.
If, for example, an organization uses a Google Form to record a campaign’s compliance against the various golden rules, the responses can be sent into a Google Sheet. This sheet can then be connected to an integrated data platform so that the responses can be pulled and transformed into standardized data. The same concept applies to a number of other solutions, such as Sharepoint, SFTPs, databases (such as Azure or Snowflake), etc.
So the next question is, how do we turn the outputs of the manual checks into data that can be analyzed? Firstly, this depends on how compliance against each golden rule has been recorded.
If an organization decides that they want to record compliance and non-compliance as 1s and 0s respectively, then this can be ingested and joined to the appropriate marketing data. However, it may be simpler for the people who are providing the responses to answer true/false questions about each rule. As you can see in the example below, each campaign has a true or false response against each golden rule.
In this case, the “TRUE” and “FALSE” values can be used to measure compliance for the given campaign against the rules. Again, the golden rule compliance data can then be used to enrich the appropriate marketing data so that the impact of following golden rules can be assessed alongside campaign performance.
These solutions only work, however, when a campaign has been declared as either compliant or non-compliant by someone following the process. Should rules be missed or campaigns be missed entirely, organizations may need a solution that will help them rectify these errors.
How to easily handle and fix errors
Errors may occur for a number of reasons and may affect both the manual and automated golden rule processes. The most likely scenario is that a campaign is missing data against a rule, or for the values in the data to be recorded incorrectly.
In both cases, with an integrated data platform such as Adverity, notifications can be triggered via an automated email sent to the relevant people within a business, informing them that there have been errors found within given datasets. This provides an opportunity for businesses to proactively monitor and fix any errors that do occur, ensuring that the data is quality-assured and ready for analysis.
It will be important to make sure that data blindness is avoided, and people don’t feel inundated with notifications. It’s therefore imperative that the people who are targeted are those that are in a position to take action, and that the notifications are as infrequent as possible.
How can you use an IDP to measure golden rule compliance?
By collecting and joining your data in an integrated data platform like Adverity, you can calculate compliance rates based on your company's priorities, and monitor their impact on activities. In short, you can measure both your golden rule compliance and the effectiveness of golden rules. You can also use dashboards to better understand performance, and create compelling visualizations that tell a story with your data.
What can be done with this data?
Given the opportunity to analyze processed and cleaned golden rule data within an IDP like Adverity, new opportunities for learning and optimization can be found. Fundamentally, this data should help to improve the hygiene of media execution, highlighting which campaigns fall foul of the golden rules. This may help to identify training requirements within specific departments or markets where rules are regularly ignored or not implemented correctly, enabling businesses to establish minimum standards for media execution across the entire organization.
The ability to measure the rules will also allow you to experiment with them, allowing you to test which have the biggest impact on your marketing activity. Whilst these rules may be considered best practices, it’s possible that not all of them make sense for every business or campaign. By testing the golden rules, it will be possible to identify the right mix to have the largest impact on marketing activity. This can also allow businesses to identify and create new rules that can then be tested, implemented, and analyzed.
And finally, your golden rules compliance data will also help you to better understand the channels being utilized in media plans. By analyzing media performance data and golden rule compliance data, you can get more context for campaign performance. In doing so, you’ll have more data to help make decisions around optimization and qualifying campaign performance.
Accountability and transparency will drive improvement
As with any industry, marketing and the execution of marketing campaigns needs to have elements of standardization and best practices. This is fundamentally why Golden Rules have been introduced, to help improve the standards of marketing to the benefit of the business running the ads, as well as the consumer seeing them. Some of these rules can be hard to implement, and even harder to track. But as we have seen, with the right methodologies and processes it’s possible to both apply the rules and to measure their application and impact.
By implementing measurement of best practice compliance, marketers can create the accountability and transparency that they need to understand how much they have set themselves up for success, and how much further they have to go.