Ideas still matter in the age of data

By Aidan Watt, technical director at Hotfoot Design.

A hundred years ago business mogul John Wanamaker famously complained that, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

These days the picture is different. We have access to an incredible amount of data about the performance of the campaigns we manage.

We create reporting dashboards for our clients to show how their spend on advertising translates into revenue - from initial engagement through to online purchase.

What we see time and again is the value in making a broad range of touch points available to customers.

While some customers see a message and respond to it directly - proceeding to checkout without passing go - this is quite rare.

More typically, especially with bigger ticket items, there is a period of purchase consideration. Friends are consulted. Reviews are read. Comparisons are made.

By the time a sale is completed, your customer may have seen search ads on Google and sponsored posts on Facebook.

They may have visited your website and read about your company in the press.

We use data to inform the strategies we devise for our clients so they are present when and where it matters. And we optimise performance through testing. But the best performing campaigns still have one thing in common: brilliant creative ideas.