By @SimonCocking interesting interview with Ian Campbell, Head of Performance Digital Havas Media Ireland a global communications network that unites people & brands through meaningful connections. Digital & content runs through our veins!

“Effective attribution modelling is the key to digital marketing – understand your customer journey, plan your digital media accordingly and set the correct KPI’s for each stage of the funnel, success will inevitably follow.”

What is your background briefly

My background was originally in accounting. I graduated with a BComm from UCD but then decided to follow a slightly different path by completing a Masters in e-Commerce in DCU. It was during that year that I got my first exposure to digital marketing and knew that it was the career for me.

What led you to where you are now?

I joined a small specialised search agency after college which allowed me to hone my craft. From there I moved to Initiative, setting up & developing their search department with great success. I joined Havas in 2015 to develop their digital performance offering and to grow the business as part of the senior management team.

Who are Havas Media & what is the aim/ethos?

We are a performance-led, full service media agency and part of the Havas global network, which operates in over 100 countries. Digital is at the core of our business and we have recently grown our capability considerably in the areas of SEO, PPC, display, social & mobile. Our ethos is to create meaningful connections between people and brands.

 How has the agency grown over that past year?

2016 was a phenomenal year for us. We managed to acquire 20 new accounts, almost doubled the size of our team and grew digital billings by over 150%. We are the fastest growing digital agency in Ireland which is something to be very proud of – the hard work continues however and we are hungry for more growth in 2017.

What is the biggest challenge in digital marketing today?

Attribution. In terms of performance, attribution is a daily challenge for every digital marketer.

Did that impression really help to drive that sale? First click, last click modelling? Cross-device paths to purchase?

These are questions that I am asked daily but attribution modelling is something to be embraced. Nowadays you must understand every aspect of your customer’s journey to deliver the most effective digital strategy. I push clients & clients push me as we strive to understand the real impact of digital for their business. It is one of the greatest clichés but no two businesses are the same and attribution modelling needs to be customised based on your own business objectives & customer data. Long hours are spent wading through spreadsheets & deep diving into Google Analytics but all of the data is in there… I promise!

From a PPC perspective, Google have made great strides in terms of attribution modelling in recent months. Data-driven attribution (DDA) is allowing advertisers to more effectively apportion value by brand and generic campaigns. If you are still using ‘last-click’ attribution, you are probably doing it wrong.

Digital Performance – how do you decide if a campaign is a success?

From my first day working in digital, performance is all I have known. For me, the success of a campaign all boils back down to what impact it has on the bottom line – sales, conversions & revenue. I specialise in search so most PPC campaigns operate at lower end of the purchase funnel and the KPI’s should be reflective of this. For other digital mediums, such as programmatic display & social, it is important to understand that these generally influence people who are in the upper-funnel and success should be judged on a different set of KPI’s. Effective attribution modelling is the key to digital marketing – understand your customer journey, plan your digital media accordingly and set the correct KPI’s for each stage of the funnel, success will inevitably follow.

PPC in 2017, what are your thoughts?

The two hot topics this year are audience targeting & Google Shopping.  The ability to reach very specific audiences through Google Adwords has evolved massively over the past couple of years and will continue to do so in 2017. Know your audience and use your demographic, device, geo & day parting bidding in tandem to squeeze every extra euro of efficiency out of your campaigns. My advice is to deep-dive into your audience data and test, test, test your bidding strategies.

Google Shopping has been in beta since Q4 last year but the results to date suggest that it has been highly successful and ad visibility will continue to increase steadily this year. For retailers, my advice is to get your Product Listing ads set up asap. From experience, the returns are exceptional when compared with standard search ads so push this in your digital planning meetings.

Digital marketing is about being responsive quickly, how do you balance that with online /offline work life balance? Personally?

Digital marketing is an incredibly exciting industry to be working in but there is no doubt that it can be stressful at times. You need to keep a healthy body to maintain a healthy mind – this will allow you to handle the pressures that come with your role. Close the laptop after work, eat well, sleep well, exercise, make time for friends/family and everything in moderation!

What is the key to being successful in digital marketing?

I have been fortunate enough to hire and develop two teams of digital specialists and there are some common personality traits which I believe will make you more likely to climb the ladder quickly. Strong attention to detail & the ability to multitask are key but there is no substitute for common sense which cannot be taught unfortunately.

Digital roles can be very turbulent – there are days when you will be on top of the world and others when you will question yourself, don’t worry we all have these so be confident in your own ability.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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