Despite the ever-growing number of data-powered technology tools for social media marketers, we still haven’t solved the puzzle of building perfect campaigns. That’s because marketing is still a mix of art and science, intuition and information. Today’s successful marketing professionals know how to use hard data to craft creative campaigns that attract audiences.

In the war to win millions of potential social media users and spend billions of ad dollars wisely, marketers owe it to themselves to embrace flexibility and experiment often. A combination that includes researching trends, customer feedback, and old-fashioned brainstorming can win over audiences and build customer loyalty.

The Data-Driven Marketer

There is so much data available about social media users that marketing departments are drowning in it. User demographics, geographical markers, influencer interactions, website preferences, and brand engagement are just a few of the data points marketers can use to craft social advertising campaigns. And according to a recent study for Fortune 1000 companies, 70 percent of participants believe big data is critically important to their businesses.

But the accompanying report reminds us that Big Data isn’t enough anymore. Making use of that information means blocking out the noise and honing in on what really matters. Solutions that deliver audience insights in real time—what your target buyers are looking for, the channels they use most often, and the kinds of content they respond to—are foundational elements of building ads that convert. And attracting users is just the first step in the journey to creating customers.

Straight Talk with Audiences

Technology can help marketers measure one of the most valuable metrics on social media: engagement. But reaching out to audiences and asking them what they want is much easier said than done. It requires testing a variety of ads to reveal how target audiences prefer to engage, which social channels they frequent most, and where they are in their buyer journeys.

Of course, marketers should also use informed intuition to guide decisions for building ads. Social media management platform Buffer was able to boost blog traffic by more than 200 percent in eight months through various social media experiments.

Asking “Would I click?” is a great way to start. Are the calls-to-action clear and appealing? Is your copy compelling? Are the images inviting? Putting yourself in the seat of your target audiences combines audience data with common sense—and that combination can be hard to beat.

It can be challenging for marketing teams to create consistently effective ads across social channels. But with the right technology and an informed sense of creativity, brands can do more than just deliver compelling ads. They can create customers.

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R.J. Taylor

R.J. Talyor is CEO and founder of Quantifi.ai, a social ads R&D platform for marketers. With more than a decade of product leadership at ExactTarget and Salesforce, he’s an unabashed innovation addict, high-tech trendsetter, and chapstick connoisseur.

R.J. is Editor-in-Chief and podcast host at TheNewNewThing.com, has spoken at SXSW, AdWeek, Mobile World Congress, and was recently recognized as Indianapolis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. R. J. earned his B.A. from DePauw University and holds an MFA from Purdue University.