01 Aug 2022
5 min read

Return to Focusing on Workhorse Channels of Search and Shopping

Written by Hillary Walters
on August 01, 2022

No matter what the financial climate looks like, the chances are good that you want your money to work for you. Efficient marketers and advertisers don’t want to waste money or ad spend, particularly when there are easy ways to stop that from taking place.

Although experimentation and testing have their rightful place in modern advertising strategies, returning to guaranteed wins can help you weather a potential financial storm. To do this, you might need to analyze data, pivot in your tactics, and reallocate funding.

In this blog series, our goal is to help marketers choose the right strategy when preparing for an economic downturn. Despite the financial forecast, you don’t have to feel ill-equipped to make the best decisions.

If you missed the first two posts in the series, check them out on the Rockerbox blog.

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What to Do to Identify Workhorse Channels

Do you know how your channels are performing? Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to make assumptions until you actually need this data to make more informed decisions. 

To gain an accurate understanding of your primary “workhorse” channels, you’ll need to perform a full audit (or deep dive) into the channels that you know to be efficient already. You can complete this step after cutting perpetually under-performing advertising channels, or those that routinely miss KPIs and targets.

Be sure to look at performance granularly on several different levels. This includes a breakdown of metrics such as:

  • Advertising tactic
  • Ad placement
  • Audience segmentation 
  • Creative level

Typically, most organizations that use Rockerbox find that non-branded search, shopping, email, SMS, and affiliate are the most reliable. 

The Impact of Measuring Workhorse Channels

The importance of measuring your most reliable workhorse channels is that you can continue to drive growth from these strong channels. A common mistake and improper reaction is to over-cut spending to the point where it’s detrimental. 

Remember—a panicked over-reaction is often worse than making an informed, carefully planned decision based on what you know to be true.

When you’re only looking at the average return on ad spend (ROAS) or cost per acquisition (CPA) for the corresponding channel, you could be missing opportunities to make smarter spending decisions in the event of a recession. Maintaining a complete and holistic perspective can reap benefits that your competitors may miss.

How to Approach the Process

By quickly identifying placements that are performing above goal, you can more easily justify  increased spend on those channels. 

To start the process, look at CPA and ROAS at the most granular level. Then, reallocate spending from under-performing placements within each channel and other channels.

Why Focusing on Workhorse Channels Is Important in a Recession

When the broader economic outlook seems to be trending downward, it’s more important than ever to check the pulse on your spending. This applies not only to marketing, but to any major investment that you plan to make with your brand or business.

At Rockerbox, we favor workhorse channels because by identifying them, you can still make forward progress. An uninformed business is one that freezes up, overcuts spending on different channels, and fails to make any progress when consumer spending is slower. Even in a recession, planning for growth is vital.

With that in mind, a recession necessitates spending smarter. With a platform like Rockerbox, you can be intentional and make the most of your budget without compromising on your brand’s growth goals or long-term stability.

How Rockerbox Helps with Tactical Optimization

When it comes to tactical optimization, Rockerbox encourages brands to ask the all-important question—which placements are being under versus over invested in?

A common use case is to identify line items where you have been over or under spending based on multi-touch CPA compared to last-touch CPA.

Rockerbox gives brands the ability to understand which channels, placements, and tactics benefit the most from multi-touch attribution (MTA) and to identify how placement and tactic level spend and rate should be modified according to data trends.

Rockerbox data frequently overrides the in-platform optimizations. For example, in-platform data (such as that which is available in Facebook) only tracks that particular platform's ad activity. Unfortunately, this means that brands do not gain the full and complete picture of ad spend during a recession.

How to Complete Optimization Steps in Rockerbox

To start making tactical optimizations within Rockerbox, you’ll need to set up your view in Analytics > Reports. Here’s a detailed checklist for setting up your view in the UI.

  1. Go to Analytics - Reports in your account (Not a Rockerbox customer? Get a demo today.)
  2. Select Report Comparison View instead of Attribution Report (the default setting) 
  3. Select what metrics you want to compare (i.e. CPA/ROAS)
  4. Select the channel you want to view
  5. Apply filters and review comparison data

Once you have the UI setup, you’ll then need to read and interpret this data before making spending adjustments. The examples below provide two popular scenarios that Rockerbox customers often encounter when making spending choices.

  • Example 1: When multi-touch CPA is lower than last-touch CPA, this indicates an opportunity to increase bids or allocate more budget. This result shows the impact of a particular line item in driving users down the funnel; this metric would not be indicated in platform data (i.e. Facebook or Google).
  • Example 2: When multi-touch CPA is higher than last-touch CPA, this indicates that you are still within your performance goal in the platform. Leave current spend as is, and continue to monitor performance. If you are not within your Facebook performance goal (for example), consider reallocating spend to another better performing line item.

To learn more about how to make tactical optimizations, visit Rockerbox help docs.

Make Informed Decisions with Rockerbox

When consumer spending slows down in a recession, brands still need to make forward progress. By carefully auditing, evaluating performance, and comparing commonly used channels, you can identify the workhorses in your ad strategy. 

With Rockerbox, you can make sensible and planned decisions to overcome financial challenges. This doesn’t mean making a panicked choice to shut down your ad spend. Instead, it means taking advantage of what’s working and making tactical optimizations to keep that momentum going.

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