“We are making optimizations” You may hear your agency or sales rep say these words and you don’t think twice about what that actually means. You trust these words like it’s some kind of Wizard of Oz, man behind the curtain, deal. So what does the word “optimize” really exemplify in the context of digital campaigns? Well, it can mean something different depending on if you are on the client or the agency side. For a client, these words mean that his agency is taking care of it. Making improvements to his campaign to improve ROI. He doesn’t need to be bombarded with all of the details. His agency is handling it, so he can do his job. In this case there is one very important element that needs to be present. Trust. He needs to trust that the man behind the curtain is doing what he says he’s doing. At Media Two, I can tell you we aren’t wizards in the literal sense. We are real people who love data. Our magic comes in the form of curiosity, and an unwavering eagerness to constantly improve. We may have made a few optimizations to a campaign, when really on the back end it involved 3 hours of pulling reports, creating pivot tables, performing analysis, and drawing conclusions. Sometimes a simple bid adjustment can drastically improve performance, but it takes so much more in depth exploration to really understand how that one change can impact all of the other elements of a campaign. To me, someone deep in the weeds in campaign performance, I think of optimizations as an unraveling of data and insights with no end in sight. Like a labyrinth or a child’s maze where there are clear dead ends, however in my version the actual ‘finish’ is nonexistent. This isn’t as discouraging as it sounds though because there is always opportunity for testing, learning, and improving campaigns. New technology and the constant shift in the way in which we analyze data will never allow there to be a finish line. And that is good for marketers who don’t want the ‘set it and forget it’ model from their agency. If you are a marketer with an agency handling your media buying, I encourage you to challenge them by asking, “What were the optimizations you made?” If it sounds like fluff, ask them how they got to the decision to make those changes, and how is it impacting the campaign?