No matter your campaign’s goal, you need to measure its success, and analog approaches no longer cut it. Without accurate insights into real consumer behavior, a company can no longer hope to compete.

With technology in place to get data in real time, companies should be using it advantageously. Here is how real-time marketing optimization can drive success.

Real-Time Optimization Is Key for a Successful Marketing Campaign

In a recent poll from Forrester, 65% of marketing professionals said they are concerned with the quality of data when it comes to creating a real-time marketing strategy. And 71% struggle to achieve a cohesive approach when measuring that data.

Products enabling real-time optimization of digital advertising are becoming more common, but they’re not created equal. The true benefits of real-time marketing should include allowing marketers to inform the start of a campaign based on past performance and consider metrics beyond the standard engagement metrics used today.

With real-time marketing analytics, brands can gain insight into whether their objectives are met and which approaches work. Marketers can even use such data to determine which ad is driving foot traffic above all else and the context behind consumer purchase behavior.

But here’s where real-time campaign optimization gets interesting:

1. You can optimize on the fly.

With today’s machine learning capabilities, real-time campaign optimization should be easier than ever. Every campaign can gain access to immediate, direct feedback based on consumer actions. And that isn’t a one-time thing — consumers are constantly moving, so any real-time data analytics should allow marketers to consistently improve the experience.

Remember, however, that all your data should feed into a virtual cycle. One of the primary challenges of real-time marketing is that it’s easy to miss data when it’s passing from one provider to the next.

2. You can vary the levers you push.

It’s easy to leverage the tried-and-true engagement metrics — e.g., clicks, downloads, and form completes. But it’s better to take advantage of various signals and inputs, including store inventory, active interest in a neighborhood, and even weather, as you optimize.

Let’s say you’re launching a new product internationally. With the right real-time metrics, you’ll be able to hold off advertising in each store’s area until the product is actually in stock and the first unit moves off the shelf. Then, once advertising starts, you can vary your creative based on the weather or amp up ads when you know you’ll have a free-standing insert in the market. And you can slow the ads down when online signals suggest the area’s interest in related topics starts to wane while picking it up in areas where that topic is gaining ground.

In this way, you’re able to optimize to circumstances and an end result to ultimately personalize the advertising to meet various market needs.

3. You can take what you’ve learned and use it for the next campaign.

Brands can use real-time data from past campaigns to segment target markets and enable campaigns that combine retail and brand objectives. Valassis Digital customers have used historical data to boost sales at specific retailers.

A robust intelligence partner will ensure you have the data you need to optimize future campaigns. The goal is to use the data you’ve gathered to expand your audience and reach.

If you do these steps well, you’ll likely reap the rewards. For example, we worked with a dental product company to reach its customers across multiple interactions in Walmart stores. After using real-time marketing, the company gained a 10.8% featured item average sales lift and $245,000 in incremental sales.

It’s time to stop relying on old-school tactics or your own “intuition.” With a real-time marketing strategy, every decision you make can be informed directly by your consumers’ actions and the world around them. But if you don’t use real-time data analytics, your competitors will, leaving you and your campaigns in the dust.