Use your digital media waste for your market research

The rise (err, fall) of media waste strikes fear into the hearts of most digital marketers. You know the scene: launch day is finally here. Your team created a new advertising campaign, complete with digital banners, a new landing page, blog posts, and an ad spend to prove it. And then, just two weeks later, your analysts tell you that online conversion has dropped, your prospects aren’t signing up via your lead gen funnel, and you’re getting a low click rate on your ads. Cue: panic mode.
Many people make the mistake of looking at media waste as … well … waste; but our team takes at different approach. Leave it to our data-obsessed team of Orlando marketing agency experts to put a new spin on an old problem. The reality is, you can’t avoid all media waste. As multi-device users surf and shop between their mobile phones, tablets, and desktops, some degree of media waste will occur naturally as the wrong customers are retargeted or even targeted in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to use that data to your advantage. Media waste is a phenomenal source of market research (without spending an additional dime than you planned to spend anyway).

Here are three tips to turn media waste into solid gold data insights:


First, by launching any major campaign as an A/B test (either against legacy work that has succeeded in the past, or going live with multiple versions of your proposed work), you completely reduce media waste, while simultaneously reducing risk to your business. Yes, we just said that you could completely reduce media waste. Bear with us. No, that doesn’t mean that every test will be a winner, or that some campaigns won’t fail; but it does mean that you’ll gain insights into what KPIs are impacted which can, in turn, help you answer the pivotal “why.” Comparing one campaign to another helps you refine future creative direction and slowly build an understanding of how your market is behaving.


Sometimes, knowing what doesn’t work is as important as what does work. Even if you don’t have a full-blown testing team, you can use media waste to gain critical insights into what your customers don’t like. Eliminating media waste isn’t about eliminating failure; it’s about shifting your team’s perspective on what you do when you fail. It’s okay to fail fast so you can learn quickly and pivot boldly. If your team is never failing, you’re probably not taking big enough marketing swings to really shake up the business and inspire new trends in your team’s work. Our team believes that failing is just as important as succeeding provided you do it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your bottom line, which is why we recommend testing or limited launch exposure as you roll out big ideas. Go ahead, launch that crazy campaign idea. If it works: congratulations! If it doesn’t: don’t retire that campaign into a media waste graveyard, instead, mine it for key customer insights to inform your next strategy. 


Many marketers hesitate when mining media waste for market research because the volume may be low or insights may be murky. We like to call these “directional learnings.” Media waste may not provide conclusive market research, but it does provide granular insight into your audience. Tease out these ideas and then test them to validate your hypotheses. Even simple user testing or a social media survey can add a few more data points to your research base. It may take a little longer to confirm your data than purchasing market research, but it is a lot cheaper and leverages work (and spending) that would be thrown away otherwise.

We’re so proud of the insights, and subsequent business wins, that have come out of our own missed campaigns that we’d be happy to share how our team has used media waste to drive learnings, or help you refine your past waste for future success. Shoot us a line and we’ll help you turn even the smallest failures into highly customized consumer insights.

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