john randall Archives - CRAFT Media | Digital

Quick, what sites performed best for your most- recent network campaign? What drove the most clicks? What about conversions?

Media buyers and planners need to know these answers to key questions to better plan, execute and optimize existing and future campaigns. Yet, many do not, and cannot, know these answers. Why?

Because of a lack of transparency. 

Lack of transparency can damage a campaign in several ways, including:

  • Wasted Client Money
  • Potential Loss of Revenue
  • Brand Dilution
  • Damaged Reputation

All of these could threaten the success of your business, resulting in lost clients and lost jobs.

Let’s look at this through the lens a traditional ad buy. A TV buyer would not spend his clients’ budget on ads without knowing where they are airing. So why should a digital buyer, with greater access to insights, accept a lack of full transparency?

Transparency, more than programmatic or native advertising, is the key to the future of digital advertising.

Notably, without transparency you cannot make truly informed decisions about your ad campaign. Without transparency, your “big data” is misinformed and can lead your campaigns astray. Without transparency, you are generating false data and wasting budgets.

We’re not the only ones pulling back the curtain on this. AdWeek’s Mike Shields wrote a compelling article ”The Amount of Questionable Online Traffic Will Blow Your Mind The World Wide Rip-Off“ that examines this ever-increasing problem for buyers and sellers – lack of transparency. In that article, Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Whenever you buy from someone who won’t tell you where your ads are running, there is a real danger they are ripping you off.”

Following up on this, Digiday published an article “The Hidden Cost Bots Add to Online Ads,” where they continue to highlight and address the fraud issues facing digital buyers and sellers. The article points out, “Not only are brands paying for fraudulent ad impressions, but they’re also finding bots are leading them astray in their efforts to reach real humans.”

So what can buyers do to help ensure their data is real and their campaigns optimizing correctly?

Demand transparency.

If you can see the sites that are driving traffic you can make informed decisions and more easily detect fraud. If you are running a public affairs campaign, and the bulk of your clicks come from ads on CollegeHumor (mentioned in AdWeek article), you should question the results.

Don’t waste your budgets on fake or misguided impressions or clicks. Before you plan your next campaign, make sure you can monitor and manage the sites where your ads run. Demand transparency.

CRAFT is bound by talented individuals who share creative aptitude, technological expertise, strategic thinking, and political or public affairs campaign experience.

John Randall shares all of these.

John Randall’s experience, skills, and talents make him perfectly suited for the job as CRAFT’s Director of Digital. We know all about John’s thoughts on digital strategy and thought we’d share them with you in this Q&A.

Name: John Randall
Hometown: Holyoke, MA

Twitter handle: @jrandall

Why did you decide to join CRAFT?

In addition to the creative and cutting-edge campaigns CRAFT designs and implements, you can’t help but be impressed with the team they have and their vision for the future.  In purely selfish terms, this is an incredible chance to learn from some of the best in the business. But most importantly, a great opportunity to do amazing work and help push digital campaigns in politics and public affairs to the next level.

What are the current trends in (online) advertising?

The two biggest trends right now are programmatic buying and native advertising. Programmatic is not new, but it is becoming more widely adopted, as it allows advertisers to highly automate the buying process based on data—merging two of the differentiating factors of digital.

How should campaigns use big data?

Data is a powerful tool, but like any tool, if its not used correctly it can do more harm than good. Campaigns need to understand that just because you theoretically have the ability to target small groups of people that are not always the best, or most cost effective option. Effective message targeting is essential, but sometimes it squeezes out blocks of people who may be influenced by that specific message. Big Data is nothing new – just read Team of Rivals when it discusses Lincoln running for the House and having voter contact cards – its just the amount of data we can now access and use is now limitless and it’s important to use the data smartly to achieve your goals. Data is a tool, not an end.

What recommendations do you have for candidates running in 2014?

Start early and be aggressive. Digital isn’t a silver bullet or something you can just role out at the end. Also, don’t nickel and dime digital budgets. Spend what needs to be spent to succeed, or at least to know why something failed.

Have a question for John? Ask him on Twitter.