AdExchanger – Are Your Metrics Creating Confirmation Bias?

A marketing campaign is nothing without a strong measurement strategy. Each channel and tactic you are investing in needs to be held accountable to business results. Confirmation bias creeps in when you consider a KPI that is easily manipulated but isn’t a true reflection of business results.

Here are three ways confirmation bias may be hurting your campaigns…

3 Ways to Improve Marketing Campaigns Using AI

Are you using artificial intelligence for your marketing? 

If not, you’re likely spending unnecessary time and effort launching and optimizing advertising campaigns.

Which creative assets are best for this audience? How much should I bid for a particular ad placement? Who is my target audience? 

AI can help you answer all of these questions, minimizing guesswork and assumptions. 

How does AI boost marketing campaign performance?

To distill it down, AI uses algorithms to sort through data using a set of rules to complete automated tasks. To function optimally, the algorithm needs a goal to optimize towards. So it’s up to humans to tell the machine what that goal is and if the campaign is succeeding or not. These guardrails are necessary to ensure actions aren’t taken that create cost reductions, but are actually detrimental to marketing goals. 

With this strategic foundation in place, artificial intelligence can significantly improve campaign performance, save time, and increase efficiency.

Here are the top three ways you can use AI to improve marketing campaigns:

1) Campaign Optimization

The most prolific use for AI in marketing campaigns is for media buying automation and optimization. 

Automatic bidding allows media buyers to place appropriate bids for each ad placement in the open market. This ensures you are reaching your target spend levels and pacing evenly across campaign durations. 

Artificial intelligence tools can also optimize pre and post bid to improve campaign performance and learnings: 

  • Pre-Bid Optimization: Analyze site visitation patterns and social media following before a campaign launches for faster learnings and more accurate targeting.
  • Post-Bid Optimization: Pull insights from millions of data points to understand what worked and what didn’t. These learnings provide a roadmap for improving future campaigns and identify tweaks throughout the campaign. 

These automations allow you to focus on meaningful data and strategic thinking. Use them to repurpose your time to more strategic tasks while platforms manage the day to day operations. Look for anomalies and trends in the data, but let the AI do the heavy lifting. Then you can take a more inquisitive approach to determining the “why” behind the data points.

2) Audience Targeting 

The second way you can use AI to improve marketing campaigns is by expanding and refining audience targeting. Using AI, you are able to expand your first party and/or pixel data to find more people who look like your existing customers. Whether it be similar media consumption behaviors, demographics, or other behavioral attributes, this technology can find people most likely to convert. 

In a post-cookie world, AI-assisted targeting will be particularly important. Many brands will have less complete customer profiles due to less availability of consumer data. There will be an increasing need for AI to rapidly test various targeting tactics to find your best audiences in a way that’s both measurable and efficient. 

3) Creative Optimization

Finally, creative optimization is another impactful way to leverage artificial intelligence. Consumers are demanding more personalized, exciting moments from brands. To drive action, ads need to be hyper relevant to your niche audiences’ motivations, but also break through the clutter of other “personalized” ads. 

Dynamic creative optimization is an AI feature that delivers the optimal combinations of creative imagery and headlines to individuals in real-time. This takes the guesswork out of the creative process while improving ad personalization. By letting computers sit on top of the data, you can gain valuable insights into what creatives drive the most impact among core audiences. 

Here are a few tips to make the process of exploring AI go a little smoother:

Bonus AI Marketing Tips

  • Build a strategic foundation: AI saves time and resources, but there’s no point in capturing data if you don’t know your key business objectives.
  • Test and learn: The digital world changes fast. Use data in real-time to make decisions and see if things are working – and if they’re not, to make smart pivots.  
  • Remember the human element: We can’t forget feelings, relationships and human interaction. Make sure human insights from your team and your audience are still part of planning and optimization processes. 

If you’re a marketer, start getting more familiar with AI. Don’t expect to get it all right at first. Ask questions and talk with experts in this space. Start learning and move forward from there.

To work with Coegi and leverage our Data & Technology experts for your brand, contact us today

Paid Search Advertising 101

Do you ever wish you could wave a magic wand to drive your customers through the sales funnel faster? Something that cuts the time needed to build awareness and pushes them straight through to consideration? Good news – one of the most tried and true digital marketing tactics can do just that. Enter: paid search advertising

Organic Search vs Paid Search

When looking at search engines as a marketing opportunity, it is important to know the distinction between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising, also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising. 

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be more appealing to search engines. This increases the chances that your site will show up organically in search results. SEM is a marketing channel where you create search ads to show when specific keyword queries are searched and then pay when your ad is clicked. 

While you can implement some aspects of SEO in a SEM campaign setup, SEO primarily requires time and human resources to optimize website content and performance whereas SEM requires that plus financial investment in search networks such as Google and Bing. The best results occur when SEO and SEM are integrated and seamlessly optimize toward your overarching business goals.

Broad Match, Exact Match and Phrase Match: Keyword Targeting Options

Exact match keywords are what they sound like: targeting searches that match exactly to your target keywords. Broad match expands your reach to show your ads in searches related to your terms. An example of a broad match targeting is if a brand targets the phrase “low carb diet plan” and then has their ad show up when “Mediterranean diet book” is searched. 

Phrase match provides a middle ground between in between exact match and broad match. With phrase match, your ad will show up for searches that include your targeted terms but can include other relevant words. These other relevant words are often adjectives and additional descriptors helping the user narrow their search, but your ad will still show.

Use a strategic combination of these keyword targeting options to show up in the highest opportunity searches for your brand. 

Responsive Search Ads vs Dynamic Search Ads 

Responsive search ads are the most common ad type within Google Ads. This format allows marketers to add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. The search algorithm then cycles through and tests, optimizing towards the combinations driving the greatest amount of desired actions based on your campaign objective. Responsive search ads are great for those looking to create flexible ads that can be tailored to reach and influence multiple audiences. 

Dynamic search ads pull headlines and other ad content directly from a brand’s website. These are excellent for targeting people who know exactly what they want and are using intent-based search terms. Google’s algorithm can pick up on things from your website that you may not think to add manually. If you are looking for an ad format that constantly updates with your website, dynamic search is a great choice.

Best Practices for Paid Search Campaigns

Building a search campaign differs from programmatic or social campaigns. Audience data targeting is of lesser importance. Instead, targeting keywords in your search campaign that are most relevant to your audience’s queries is of the utmost importance. Conduct in-depth keyword research to understand what people are searching, how the target audience speaks, and what information is most valuable to them. Then, further the reach of those terms using both broad match and exact match search terms. 

To maintain high-performing search campaigns, it’s important to consistently monitor search terms. With broad and phrase match keywords, it’s possible to show up for terms that do not align with your brand or campaign goals. Monitor your Google Ads or preferred SEM platform for terms your ads appeared for, and regularly update your exclusion list for words and phrases you no longer want to appear alongside. This process helps ensure all campaign traffic is relevant, thus minimizing marketing budget waste on low potential terms. Keyword blacklists also help optimize for cost per click (CPC), driving greater efficiency towards terms that are more likely to produce results for your brand.

Why You Should Incorporate Paid Search Into Your Marketing Strategy

Paid search marketing is a must-have advertising channel for most any brand. There’s a multitude of reasons why, but the primary benefits are:

  1. Cost efficiency: Only pay for ad clicks rather than impressions, which may or may not provide any value. 
  2. Competitive advantage: Ability to strategically target and bid on competitor search terms to place yourself as the alternative or preferred brand. It’s an excellent tool to level the playing field among businesses, assuming your budget is able to compete.
  3. Conversion-driving: Paid search is a strong driver for site traffic. Highlight your most high value landing pages or educational content by showing up for common search queries. 

Implementing paid search in your marketing mix is highly influential, especially for driving lower down-funnel results. It presents a unique avenue to reach audiences with high intent. If a user is searching for terms that demonstrate interest in the product or service, they are immediately exhibiting more value than a user who simply sees a banner ad. In the latter case, you are hoping to pique their interest. With search, they are already interested or in-market for products or services similar to yours, and are that much closer to selecting your brand. 

Everyone uses search engines, make sure your brand does too. Test out various keyword tactics and ad formats using both organic and paid search to find your competitive edge. Then, use these tips to fast track your company growth. 

Need a strategic partner to manage your digital marketing advertising campaigns?

Contact Coegi for a discovery call today. 

How to Level Up Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

Instagram is a social media powerhouse which nearly all brands should be using in some way. With 1.4 billion users available to target and a wealth of commerce-focused tools, there are endless opportunities for brands to grow through the platform. 

Instagram has a multitude of capabilities to help businesses grow: Instagram Shops, full-funnel campaign options, integrated commerce websites through Shopify, BigCommerce, Magneto and WooCommerce, as well as multiple ad formats to connect with your brand’s audience.

However, if you’re only leveraging static images in your advertising, and not incorporating new media formats and interactive tools, you may be missing the mark. 

Keep reading to learn what Instagram’s new algorithm changes mean for marketers and key ways to drive your brand goals using Instagram marketing.

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s Algorithm Changes

Instagram recently made two major updates. First, they altered their algorithm to focus on video and reels. Seeing the vast opportunity with the rise of video on platforms like TikTok, the goal of this change was to drive greater interaction with content users interact with rather than content from personal connections and followers. Another change made was regarding the length of video content. Instagram Reels used to be restricted to a 30 second maximum. That has now been extended to 90 seconds. 

After backlash from very popular influencers (The Kardashian-Jenners in particular), Adam Moseri, CEO of Instagram, paused the company’s test of a full-screen video/photo feed layout. They also began decreasing the volume of recommended posts in feed, once again showing more follower content instead. Although the video-heavy test is on hold, the main goal of social platforms is to keep users on the apps for longer. And video content proves time and again to be the most engaging type of media.

The algorithm heavily impacts both users and brands. How can you use these changes to your advantage? We have four tips you can use to lean into these updates and maximize the effect of your Instagram ads on business goals. 

4 Tips to Level Up Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

  1. Lean into video: Although Instagram reverted their video heavy update, 91% of Instagram users watch videos on a weekly basis. Also, Reels now make up over 22% of all posts and receive higher engagement than any other post format. The longer your audience views or interacts with your content, the more likely they are to remember your brand when preparing to make a purchase. 
  2. Understand your audience: Instagram users are looking for quick, emotionally-compelling content. You don’t necessarily need high production value to do this – in fact, authentic marketing is exactly what people want to see. Find what your audience values and speak to their motivations through your ads.
  3. Complement with other marketing channels: Build a strong omni-channel experience for your audience. One of the best ways to improve your Instagram marketing is by supporting it with other channels. Make your brand consistent across multiple social and digital platforms, as well as in-person, to connect the dots in the customer journey. 
  4. Test new tactics: Regularly experiment and test new ad formats such as Instant Experience to increase engagement or a Collection Ad to drive conversions. Or, test first and third-party data segments other than Meta’s demographics and interests to reach a different audience. Find what works best for your brand and use these learnings to your advantage.

As the second largest social media platform in the US, Instagram offers boundless opportunities for advertisers. To take advantage of this, it’s important to stay in tune with platform updates and changes in user behavior. Use these four steps to future-proof your Instagram marketing strategy and start connecting with your customers.

As marketers, it is our responsibility to understand trends and algorithm updates to help grow your business. For help kickstarting your social media strategy, contact Coegi for a discovery call today. 

Retail Media’s Impact on the CPG Marketing Mix

Retail media networks are having a historic year, with projected ad spend growing by $10 million YoY from 2020 to present in the U.S. alone. Even with the delay of cookie deprecation, CPG brands are flocking to these partners to gain access to end-to-end solutions including robust customer data sets, category and competitive insights, and sales attribution. It’s very appealing, especially for CPG marketers who do not have large customer databases.

Here’s how to use retail media in the marketing mix at each stage of your CPG brand’s growth…

Q&A on Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Best Practices

Building business solutions for regulated industries is complex. At Coegi, we fearlessly take on clients across many regulated industries, and are well-known for expertise in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing. Clients come to us regularly to build their knowledge in the space.

This Q&A blog shares our learnings over the years. Coegi’s subject matter expert, Account Strategy Director Colin Duft, and our technology partner PulsePoint’s Head of Strategic Accounts, Malcolm Halle, answer questions regarding healthcare and pharmaceutical digital marketing best practices. 


Q: What should healthcare and pharma marketers do to ensure they are being compliant in their digital advertising?

A: PulsePoint – The foundation of all digital advertising is the data behind it. While data sounds like something objective, in reality not all data is created equal. Do the homework and look under the hood to understand the data informing campaigns. From a compliance perspective, two things are crucial: 

1) Consent: guarantee healthcare audiences reached provide the brand permission to market to them

2) Deterministic data: the patient or physician information so marketers know they’re actually reaching person who consented to marketing 

Building on this, it’s also important to consider the data in totality. The goal is to aggregate enough pieces of data about an individual compliantly to create a complete picture. Then you can meet the patient’s needs accurately. However, this process needs to happen in a privacy-preserving way. Lastly, the freshness of data will affect its usefulness and accuracy. 

A: Coegi – Similar to other verticals, it’s important to keep a pulse on the regulatory committee guidelines. Compliance isn’t a black and white map. HIPAA allows room for multiple interpretations, so committees such as the NAI help provide greater clarity. Additionally, it’s important to always be transparent with the client. If something feels off, have a conversation to explain your compliance recommendation and hear their point of view.

Q: The ecosystem of healthcare provider (HCP) marketing is shifting, with the acceleration toward digital. What are the latest trends in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing for targeting HCPs?

A: Coegi – No matter the strategy, measurement should always be the nucleus of a campaign. Companies like IQVIA and Veeva-Crossix provide marketing measurement products that tell a story and tie back success to a Rx. Use these solutions to complement and build on the brand’s sales team as they start to enter the doctors’ offices once again. 

A: PulsePoint – As digital becomes the dominant vehicle to reach HCPs, marketing to them doesn’t need to be restricted to office hours. Instead, understand and seamlessly align with HCPs’ shifting mindset as they go through their day. We can reach them with unique messaging during white coat moments as well as blue jeans moments. We see on our platform that HCPs are visiting work-related websites around the clock. But, we can also coordinate these marketing campaigns on other channels such as Hulu after dinner or on Spotify during a workout. These personalized touchpoints provide a more human experience.

Building on Colin’s point, PulsePoint offers an HCP measurement solution called HCP365. It enables healthcare companies to understand HCP brand actions across digital channels, including website, search and media, at the individual NPI level, in real time. This means brands can now know, with a very high level of certainty, that Dr. Susan interacted with a brand ad, or Dr. Patrick visited the web site. This kind of individual level analytics allows brands to understand, and therefore optimize, media performance with their specific target HCPs. 

Q: What outdated advertising strategies do healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers need to leave behind?

A: Coegi  – On the healthcare provider side, marketers need to come to terms with the fact that doctors don’t just read medical journals all day. HCPs are people too. Even with a smaller audience, you can hyper target the doctor and scale simultaneously. For consumer campaigns, patients also don’t just read endemic articles on a particular condition all day. Use media to reach them throughout their day across various touchpoints. 

A: PulsePoint – Marketers definitely need to break their ties with old school geographic and demographic targeting. This is especially problematic with connected TV. More than half of all CTV buyers in healthcare still use geo/demo targeting. They’re reaching broad audiences with significant waste. CTV offers so many more targeting capabilities, for example, targeting specific HCPs based on clinical behavior or targeting likely patients who have recently researched specific condition content. Take advantage of these capabilities. It may slightly drive up costs, but will significantly improve impact and ROI.

From the patient perspective, we know advertising and content marketing works to drive consumers’ health decisions. But it’s not a simple ‘if X, then Y’ journey. All consumers start their journey at different points, so they react to different messages in different ways. Yet we serve them all the same content and expect to see the same performance. Instead, use predictive analytics and machine learning to identify patterns and recommend marketing actions based on the customer’s profile and previous behaviors. This will maximize downstream results.

Q: Building on this topic, how can marketers reach patients with sensitive health conditions?

A: PulsePoint – The most direct, privacy-safe and effective way to reach people living with sensitive conditions is with contextual media. But don’t think of contextual media from five plus years ago. Contextual is now quite sophisticated. We can serve ads alongside relevant content, of course. When setting up contextual campaigns, it’s also important to understand co-morbidities and correlating factors associated with each condition, and use these to extend reach.

A: Coegi – If a particular health condition is sensitive, there are two primary considerations: 

1) How did we collect this targeting data? and

2) if ISI is needed, can it work within the experience I’m trying to deliver an ad within? 

Marketers can’t just take data and enter into a platform. They need to do their homework on the company, how they’re collecting this data and the targeting pool. With ISI, some channels fall off when it comes to channel planning. Not all forms of media make sense when you have a long ISI. 

Q: Lastly, we know it’s important to lead with empathy. How can healthcare and pharma brands keep patients at the center of their marketing strategy?

A: PulsePoint – Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of another. We can use data to uncover customer perspectives in real time. And we can go one step further: to use these insights to drive marketing outreach, also in real time. 

A: Coegi – It’s important to lean into research tools, as well as patient panels/boards. These tools allow you to hear and feel for the individual affected by a particular condition. Translate these learnings into insights. They will then allow you to reach the patient/caregiver where they are in their journey in an empathetic way.

Colin’s final word of advice is to not fall into a rhythm of copy and paste strategies. It may be tempting to go that route as the “safe” choice given all the  regulations in healthcare and . But, we must be creative and break the mold with out-of-the box thinking to continue delivering the best strategies using these healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing best practices for your brands.

Want to learn more? Check out Coegi’s guide to healthcare and pharma marketing.

Download Coegi’s Healthcare Marketing Guide

How to Nail Your International Marketing Launch

In today’s world, we have access to the global marketplace with much less friction than in decades past. Previously, it was very difficult to initiate an international marketing launch without local people on the ground. You had to know who to call to get your ads placed. 

The growth of digital was the biggest catalyst for globalization at the turn of the century. We gained the ability to conduct business, advertise and communicate from one location to another with ease. Access to the international marketplace means boundless opportunity, but can also be overwhelming for brands and marketers. 

Thankfully, digital advertising and content promotion provides the flexibility to test, adjust, and be nimble with your marketing campaigns as you learn the nuances of a new landscape.

Here’s four reasons why digital marketing is an ideal starting point for your international marketing launch:

It allows you to: 

  1. Launch campaigns quickly
  2. Test before you invest
  3. Flexibly adjust media placements 
  4. Track real-time results 

Launch Campaigns Quickly

Taking a digital-first approach lowers many logistical barriers to entry for a new market launch. Oftentimes, traditional advertising mediums involve lengthy contract processes, upfronts and lead times. 

For example, in Japan, one media conglomerate owns the majority of all traditional media in the country. If you want to activate traditional ads in Japan, you must partner with them in order to penetrate the marketplace. On the contrary, digital offers a much quicker way to market, with much less red tape and upfront cost. Once you have digital campaigns up and running and understand what is working, you can begin to supplement with traditional media placements. This allows you to have a well-rounded, data-driven strategy. 

Test Before You Invest

With digital advertising, you can understand your ability to scale with your target audience in a new market before making a major investment in buys that offer little flexibility. To do so, lean into a test and learn approach to allow your marketing initiatives to fail forward. 

However, don’t be too timid. If you only dip your toe in the water, you will not have enough information to know if your campaign is making an impact. Do the upfront research to create a strategic plan and then put mechanisms in place to test and track media success and pivot quickly as needed. 

How to Run a Test Campaign in a New Market

Look at the population of the country and the specific audience you are targeting. The goal is to reach a percentage of the audience at a high enough frequency so they know your brand. Typically this is around 6-12 exposures, depending on creative strength. Once you’ve reached this threshold, use a measurement framework or consumer study to understand the effectiveness of your campaign. Did it create strong brand recall? Was there a lift in brand affinity? 

Some brands will also need to consider non-paid media ways your brand has been exposed to audiences in a given country. Have you had any positive or negative press? Are there any Google trends to inform changes in interest level? 

Flexibly Adjust Media Placements

Another benefit of digital marketing for international brands is the ability to quickly pull media out of market. In today’s climate, certain contexts can quickly become problematic due to changes in current events or world news. Even if there aren’t major world events impacting your marketing ecosystem, be sure you’re staying nimble in your approach to culturally relevant messaging, swapping out creatives based on what is and is not resonating. 

Track Real-Time Results

Comparing marketing metrics across various countries will never be apples to apples. However, digital ads will give you quicker results and show clearer signals of success. Real-time platform data can give you a baseline understanding of what’s working, rather than waiting for post-campaign result readouts. This is especially critical during the testing phase.

To see a more holistic view of your advertising results, aim to have a unified measurement strategy in place to benchmark long-term success. Start by understanding what you can and can’t track in various countries. Then, consider filling in any gaps with these methods for gathering meaningful insights: 

  • Do your own commissioned survey research (ie. brand lift study)
  • Use global market research providers (ie. Harris Poll)
  • Create a cross-country scoring model to normalize data across different geographies

As you plan your international market launch, start with a digital approach to be more nimble, timely and informed.  But, achieving maximum scale across a full country profile will require you to eventually incorporate traditional channels into the marketing mix. 

Ready to Launch?

For help preparing your international marketing launch, contact Coegi today to get started. 

To read more, view Ryan’s second article on The Drum: The Key to Breaking Into International Markets


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