D&AD Case Study

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D&AD is a non-profit advertising and design association which celebrates, uplifts and nurtures creative thinkers from all across the creative industries

It hosts the annual D&AD Awards, which have become a prestigious mark of success and talent amongst the creative industries, with winners amongst the calibre of Penguin Books, Pizza Hut, Apple, Amazon, Unilever and many more.

The Good Marketer has been working with D&AD for several years, managing their social media and PPC campaigns for all the different avenues they offer – New Blood, Masterclasses, D&AD Awards and the D&AD Festival. We were already in partnership, so handling the 2021 D&AD Awards campaigns was an eagerly awaited challenge for us – to improve upon the submissions of 2020 and analyse the data gathered to inform future strategies regarding channels.

We identified several key KPIs that we wanted to monitor and analyse during the campaigns life cycle:

The lowest cost per conversion across the channels that would be advertised, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube and Google

Which channel drove the highest number of clicks at the best cost

Which channel drove the highest volume of form submissions and downloads.

Our Approach

For Facebook and Instagram, we focused on setting up a full-funnel campaign, capitalising on the numerous subject interests and categories of the Awards to feed our top of the funnel. For the middle of the funnel, our main target was engagers of the social pages for D&AD, to ensure specifically relevant ads. The bottom of the funnel consisted of website visitors specifically for the website pages relating to the Awards to refine the targeting and ensure that no ads were run to general visitors of the site who would not necessarily be relevant.

Given that LinkedIn and Google were already in use for brand awareness for the Masterclasses, we utilised the scope for visibility that these two platforms offered to build top-of-the-funnel campaigns for both. Allowing us to monitor results and ascertain which out of these wide-net platforms was the most beneficial for the Awards.

We conducted in depth-keyword research for the Awards for Google, segmenting our approach into semantic groups that would allow for highly relevant ads and thus a better campaign quality score. Our ads were written with a high level of collaboration with D&AD, to ensure that our tone of voice and phrasing was as relevant and concise as possible to drive maximum engagement.

Social Media Marketing Analysis

For LinkedIn, we tested audiences composed of senior creative leaders within the industries, given that this platform is designed for professionals and B2B engagement.

Across Facebook and Instagram, from a demographics perspective, gender was split at all stages of the funnel in terms of engagement and conversions. The most engaged age group was the 25-34-year-olds, who converted the most, which was in direct opposition to our predictions that senior creative levels would be the demographic to take action. We were able to modify our approach during the campaign’s life cycle to account for this age range being the most positively engaged to ensure that our campaigns were hitting the users most likely to convert.

Our top-of-the-funnel campaigns were split into relevant segments to more accurately monitor which audiences were performing the best and make budget changes where necessary.

Of these, our ad set targeting Designers saw a significantly higher level of interest than our generic ad sets targeting senior creative job titles. We then utilised these insights to actively funnel our budgets into the highest-performing ad sets while the campaigns were live to maximise their effectiveness.

Overall, Facebook and Instagram were the highest performing channels for the D&AD Awards campaigns as we were able to:

Spend $13,000, which drove 9,500 link clicks in total.

Generate 7,000 landing page views.Achieve 6,000+ enter button clicks from relevant, interested users, driving an incredibly high level of interest in the D&AD Awards compared to 2020.

Drive 450+ PDF/Form downloads in total.

Facebook generally accumulated a higher overall CTR than Instagram, with 2.05% compared to 0.66%. Retrospectively, we learned that for the middle-of-the-funnel, as this particular campaign was launched towards the end of the life cycle, in the future this would be highly beneficial to launch sooner in future campaigns to garner more interest from those users already aware of D&AD. We also determined that for our bottom-of-the-funnel ad campaigns, the Website Visitors ad set was the most valuable – which is information we can and will leverage for future campaigns.

Google Analysis

Throughout the Award season, we also ran Display and YouTube campaigns. Display spent £1,500 and achieved 29,000+ clicks. YouTube spent £2,500, achieving 218,000 views and had an extremely positive interaction rate of 22%, whilst Display only achieved a 1.20% interaction rate.

However, this is more typical of YouTube as a platform. Whilst we were able to track performance (which was not throughout the entire duration of these campaigns, so it would be unfair to measure this as a reliable indicator of success), we saw that the CPC for display was very low, whilst its more than 12 times that for YouTube. Moreover, the cost per conversion was also considerably lower for Display Ads.

This data suggested that Display ads are better than YouTube for achieving actionable conversions but nowhere near as efficient as Facebook and Instagram. In the future, we will be able to run Google campaigns to help users filter through the funnel and as brand awareness exercises to drive a high volume of relevant traffic to the site.

LinkedIn Analysis

We ran a cold LinkedIn campaign during the initial stages of the Awards campaign. This campaign spent £450 and achieved 70 clicks. As expected, this had a much higher cost per click than all other platforms of £6.44 but also a much lower CTR of 0.31%.

However, we used the senior creatives audience to test on LinkedIn. We learned from our Facebook/Instagram performance that this was an underperforming audience this year, which could account for a portion of the lower results.

Ultimately, this was beneficial for us to learn that LinkedIn required far more specific targeting to drive results that were worth the investment, which is valuable to understand for future campaigns.

The Results

Ultimately, Facebook was the most valuable platform for generating positive engagement, enter clicks and PDF entry kit downloads at the top of the funnel stage, achieving 76% of all clicks on the enter button and 66% of all Entry Kit downloads.

The performance here was in line with our expectations that Facebook is a better platform for users with no – or very little – knowledge of D&AD.

However, at the hot stage of the funnel, Instagram achieved 47% of all clicks on the enter button but 54% of all Entry Kit downloads. Instagram drove this with a higher CPC – $9.21 compared to Facebook’s $5.96 – indicating that both platforms are valuable to the Awards campaigns but that Facebook continued to be the more competitive of the two.