Life as a Digital Marketer is exciting, creative, fast-paced, and challenging. Similar to the digital industry, my work days are constantly changing. On one day, I will do nothing but analyze the metrics of a campaign. On other days, I am so busy juggling a variety of details with client projects and department responsibilities that I don't remember to eat lunch until 2:00 p.m. No day is ever, ever 'typical.'
To give you a real feel for working in digital marketing, I’m going to go beyond reciting a laundry list of responsibilities. Let's take a stroll through my day in the life of a digital marketer.
7:30 am - Morning Routine: After my morning battle with the snooze button, I wake up and immediately make myself a cup of coffee; most recently, espresso. Ever since moving to the city that never sleeps, my caffeine tolerance has gone way up. Coincidence? I think not. While I get ready, I listen to music and catch up on all the necessary social media channels. Then, I pack my lunch, feed my fish, and run out the door.
8:30 am - Commute to Work: My commute to work consists of a 20-minute speed walk through the hustle and bustle of NYC to Midtown Manhattan. Once in the office, I am greeted with a friendly good-morning from my boss and a fist bump from my desk neighbor. I sit next to the creative department which always keeps my days interesting.
9:05 am - Morning Ritual: The first thing I do is respond to emails and Slack messages. Some of our project managers are based in London so they have a 5-hour head start on sending me emails. As I respond to emails, I prioritize my day by adding new tasks to my To Do List. I have always been a list person and a big advocate of writing things down. To survive the ad operations industry you HAVE to be organized and diligent. For me, that requires a notebook and lots of sticky notes. Frequently, I am requested to pull a report, troubleshoot a tag, analyze ad performance or update campaign budgets while I'm busy doing something else; therefore, I write it down. If it's not in my notebook, it's not getting done.
9:30 am - Campaign Check-in: Besides emails, the first thing I check on are our active campaigns. This is where I check for performance issues. I ask questions like, “Is the campaign pacing? Are the ads gaining enough impressions? How much of the total budget is remaining? Are conversions being tracked appropriately?” Etc.
Depending on the volume of projects, checking can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours. Today, I had to pull a few reports to conduct a deeper analysis of a campaign's individual ad performance.
10:30 am - Digital Team Meeting: We have a regular internal meeting with the rest of the team. We run through each client project and give a status update. We discuss things like campaign performance, deliverables, project deadlines, upcoming events, and anything the team needs to be aware of.
11:00 am - The To-Do List: Now I start really tackling my top priorities. When everything is a top priority, and in the digital ad world that's common, prioritizing and remembering the big picture is key. Today my top priorities are:
1) Create a cross-platform strategy media plan for an e-commerce proposal.
2) Launch an app download campaign on Facebook.
3) Analyze the ad performance of an A/B test for further optimization.
I start my first task by brainstorming relevant platforms and ad types to add to the media plan. Across the digital ad industry, there are hundreds of options to choose from, so it’s important to remember the client's goals because these will influence which media platforms, campaign objectives, and ad types are selected.
Since this is an e-commerce client, the goal is to drive online purchases and increase ROAS (return on ad spend). I am a big advocate of using Facebook for ecommerce clients. I then outline a strategy with a Dynamic Product Ad Facebook campaign. With this, we can serve tailored ads driven by a user's behavior on the client’s site. We constantly see these performing well for an e-commerce campaign.
2:00 pm - Lunch Break: While grabbing a quick bite, I take some time to go outside, walk around, and rest my eyes. Sometimes when my brain really needs a break I go to the Sephora across the street and play with all the pretty makeup.
3:00 pm - Back to Work: After my lunch/mental break, I sit down at my desk and pick up where I left off on the media plan. However...this doesn't last long.
The ability to shift your focus is a required skill in Digital Marketing and working at Cambridge Analytica. While I was making progress on the media plan I was asked to immediately jump on a call with a project manager and media vendor to discuss a tagging issue that needed to be fixed right away. After, I received a Slack message from a colleague asking for a campaign performance report that they were unable to find. These requests may only take a small part of my day but can affect my concentration.
4:00 pm - More Caffeine: Coffee and catch up on emails that have been accruing in my inbox since lunch.
4:30 pm - Time Flies When You’re Busy: Where has the day gone?! I often find myself asking this question around this time. I work more on the media plan and add the finishing touches. I pass it along to my boss for review and begin trafficking an app download campaign. Another aspect I’ve learned in digital marketing is that having a second set of eyes to review your work goes a long way.
Cambridge Analytica is still a growing global company, it offers a fantastic learning environment where I can learn from my mistakes, hone my talents, and discover what I love. As a young professional, I have the opportunity to work closely with senior leadership like the Head of TV or a VP.
5:00 pm - Campaign Trafficking: Still trafficking the app download campaign. During this time I log everything I implement in a tracking document; I also continue to record changes once the campaign goes live. Those include targeting strategies, estimated audience size, optimization tactics, bids, budgets, ad copy and so on. Here’s why: even the smallest change can make a big impact on the performance of a campaign. Having the ability to reference these changes is critical to understand how to continuously optimize the campaign appropriately.
6:30 pm - Final Touches: I just finished the last 'top priority' task on my list. Time to pack up! Before I leave I write out my to do list for tomorrow so I know exactly what I need to accomplish right away.
Being a digital marketer who is in the weeds of all the day-to-day operations of a digital project can be stressful. However, minor campaign changes and strategic decisions can make a huge impact on the overall performance. The most rewarding thing about working in digital marketing is running a successful campaign and communicating that success to the client. It’s obviously a team effort but having that kind of responsibility is very gratifying.
If you're interested in a rapidly growing industry where you have the opportunity to learn something new every day then consider working in digital marketing.