Digital Marketing
4 min

How Much Are You Paying To Learn About Your Customers?


Detectives in movies often tell their teams to leave no stone unturned.

Do everything you can to find something and solve the case.

Tommy Lee Jones’ famous speech in The Fugitive comes to mind:

“Listen up, ladies and gentlemen. Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injuries, is four miles an hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.”

In the performance marketing world, his mantra has meaningful application.

But instead of leaving no stone unturned, you leave no lead unlearned.

Facebook, for example, allows you to take advantage of their machine learning capability to find the right customer at the right time with the best creative. The more ads you run, the more you learn about your customers, and the more you can create winning digital experiences and interactions.

We let our curiosity drive us, trusting that we can learn from all of our leads, even the wrong ones. The insights we gain from data on clickthrough rate, cost-per-click, and conversion rate can still be meaningful, even if the leads themselves aren’t ideal. We can use that data to get smarter, quicker.

If you want to tap into that invaluable source of data to learn about your customers, first you have to consider your company’s stage. Paying for education partly depends on the spend tier in which your brand finds itself.

  • If you’re a small upstart company that can’t afford to spend more than a few thousand dollars per month, then it will be difficult to build a meaningful digital ad program. For these kinds of brands, the team (or the agency partner) will have to make educated guesses with a limited amount of certainty.
  • If you’re a midsize or larger brand that can dedicate more resources year-round, then you can build a significant campaign that will net valuable learnings. Your standing marching order, especially during off-peak months, is to continue being aggressive with your campaigns. Remember, it’s always better to learn and pay for that education, as opposed to sitting around waiting for a sale.

Please note, there’s no right or wrong among these two examples, it’s simply the reality of where your brand is in its company life cycle. Just understand that the more data you have, the more confidently you can use it to make decisions. Whereas if you’re not able to spend money on your ad campaigns, then you accept greater risk in your analysis.

Some brands actually can make this education investment at the outset of their ad campaigns, but don’t. And their resistance in the beginning of their performance marketing journey is understandable, as they don’t know whether the campaign will work to begin with.

If you’re committed to growing your business long term, you need to get comfortable spending on your brand’s digital education. Without that capital outlay, you might set yourself up to optimize into false learnings. There’s nothing more frustrated – and potentially wasteful – than trying to coax business decisions out of a small data set.

A larger ad spend might pull in some clicks that don’t represent your ideal customer. But their interest in your ad and your product will often signal enough of a similarity to make them worth learning from. If you leave no lead unlearned, you can use that traffic to supplement your data, and arrive at your goal more quickly.

Go get ‘em.

Digital Intelligence Facebook Paid Search


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