#AryxeTalks: Meet Adriana Malkanova – Digital Advertising Virtuoso
12 min read
12 min read
by Adriana Malkanova & Aleksandra Stamatović
Get ready to dive headfirst into the exciting world of digital marketing as we introduce you to a true dynamo in the field: Adriana Malkanova, our very own digital advertising virtuoso! Adriana joined Aryxe not long ago but has made herself indispensable to our company’s structure. Her extensive expertise and passion have positioned her as a valuable asset to our team. She has achieved remarkable success with a keen command of platforms like Meta and LinkedIn. So, without further ado, get ready to discover the insights and experiences that have shaped Adriana’s career in digital advertising, and read on!
While studying, I started working in marketing immediately and took care of unpaid (organic) social media content only. As one would say, I was starting from scratch and trying to turn a product not many knew about into a diamond. Thus, I learned all of the struggles and tricks on how and when to deliver and present information on multiple platforms without big budgets and fancy campaigns. After I finished my Master’s degree, where I focussed mainly on social media marketing and digital advertising, I got the amazing opportunity to start working for LinkedIn via an outsourcing company here in Bulgaria. I could learn so much directly from the source, and I was immediately mesmerized by all of the additional opportunities and functions paid campaigns had to offer.
I kick off each day by mapping out a plan. I jot down a to-do list, which invariably turns out longer than I’d like, covering all tasks I aim to tick off. Then, I put a star next to the most pressing and important assignments. But what’s special about my routine is how well it mirrors the old saying, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” More often than not, life chimes in right after I’ve set up my perfect itinerary for the day, and the priorities start to shuffle. Yet, this is what adds a dash of spice to my job. There’s never a dull moment in the fast-paced world of digital advertising.
The most important thing for me every day is to track the progress of all of the campaigns, to analyze how certain changes have impacted the performance, and last but not least – the contact with clients. In this line of work, it is not only about being knowledgeable about marketing, the different platforms, the best practices, and the product; it also has much to do with psychology and pedagogics.
It takes a good dose of patience, a knack for testing and optimizing, and a deep dive into the world of statistics. Yes, you heard it right. While math may seem like that intimidating ogre under the bed and Statistics, its pesky sidekick no one wants to invite to the party, they’re both undeniably crucial. Sure, picking up the basics of how platforms and algorithms function might be straightforward. But the real challenge lies in deciphering the correlations and, if you hit the jackpot, identifying the regressions that surface when changes are introduced. However, once you’ve acquainted yourself with your target audience, figured out what strikes a chord with them, and mastered the art of showcasing your product or service in a palatable way, there’s nothing standing in your path to success.
This is another aspect of digital advertising that keeps me on my toes – just when you feel like you’ve cracked the code, the platforms, policies, or interfaces switch up the game, leaving you feeling like a newbie once more. But take heart because a thriving digital advertising community is out there grappling with the same hurdles, glitches, and updates. Finding like-minded peers and mentors for inspiration and learning is always beneficial. I am fortunate to have crossed paths with such individuals in person and discovered a diverse bunch online, hailing from all corners of the globe.
Thanks to channels like LinkedIn and Youtube, I can always stay up to date and learn from people with more experience than me. As we love to say in Bulgaria: “You don’t have to discover hot water all over again; it was already discovered by someone else.”
Keeping abreast of the latest in the field demands a deep love for your job. I frequently find myself immersed in articles about emerging trends and triumphant campaigns, even after clocking out. The secret sauce to doing this without risking burnout? I simply don’t view it as work. For me, it’s a hobby, a passion. Sure, it might be a bit rough on my eyesight, but it fuels me with a vibrant energy and a zeal to delve deeper, learn more, better my skills, and view the digital advertising landscape with even sharper clarity.
The crux of the matter is that clients should have a clear vision of their target audience. You might presume that’s a given, but in reality, it’s a rare commodity. Often, people come up with a fantastic product… and want to unveil it to the whole wide world. Yes, every last soul. “My product is relevant for everyone. Everybody needs this.” – an assertion I’ve heard more times than I can count. And while I generally concur, that’s not quite how LinkedIn, social media, and digital advertising play out.
My usual approach is to cast a wide net initially and let the campaign sail for at least a fortnight, budget permitting. I then sift through the amassed data, paying special attention to the demographics of the audience reached. Interestingly, the same product could attract totally different demographics across platforms. Hence, a single ‘perfect’ target audience is a myth.
Starting with what the product is and determining the best platforms to kick off with, followed by extensive testing, analysis, and optimization, you gradually understand your target audience over a few months (budget and product considered). This allows you to start generating leads and conversions.
Platforms like Meta and LinkedIn offer many targeting filters and setting options. Make sure you frequently navigate through the options list where you select audience criteria and don’t shy away from dabbling with the ‘hidden’ menus on these platforms.
And here’s a pro tip: When a platform rolls out a new feature that promises to yield incredible results instantly, give it a breather for a couple of months before you test it. In my experience, these never deliver as promised at the get-go. As I mentioned earlier, patience is a virtue. Let the initial euphoria and errors roll past you, allow the machine learning algorithms to do their thing – falter and improve over time – and in the meanwhile, take lessons from others’ missteps. Once the feature has had its second or third update, that’s your cue to test it rigorously. It will perform much better, and you’ll save substantial money in the process.
Three words: Keep it short! Videos between 15 and 30 seconds perform best on both Meta and LinkedIn. Always add text or subtitles to your videos and follow up with a retargeting campaign. Videos are so popular because they are the fastest way to build an audience for future campaigns and are an amazing way to re-engage the people who already showed interest in your product. They are also easy to digest in our daily lives, and one can deliver much information with them compared to images and carousels. Yes, even in only 15 to 30 seconds. It is possible; I have witnessed it multiple times, so keep it short, guys. Almost nobody will watch a sponsored 2-3 minute video about a product they know nothing about. And people can always post the longer versions organically and create a campaign with a short teaser video. It works miracles.
Well… I know what updates could make the platforms better. For instance, it would be great to have the possibility to test different creative types in a single campaign on LinkedIn. Ergo, to have one campaign promoting a video, a single image ad, and a carousel, all in one place. I hope this will be possible soon. Regarding Meta, I am eager to test all the new functions they have introduced. As well as to see how they improve them. I think short videos in all formats will be increasingly popular in the future among all social media channels. AI will also have an interesting imprint on how our industry develops. A smart man once said: “Let’s see if culture eats the trends up or if the trends become culture.”
The approach truly hinges on the client. There are those who possess a firm grasp on their self-presentation to the world, while others are more receptive to ideas and experimentation. I respect both, yet there’s something particularly invigorating about the latter group. Assessing various strategies, like using cheeky visuals and clever copy versus adopting a more sober, academic tone, to gauge what kindles the most engagement has always been an exciting part of my work.
There’s a golden rule in this business that I absolutely relish: always test three types of creatives. First up, the smart and savvy kind. Picture those adverts that leave you puzzled for a few seconds before the penny drops. That ‘aha’ moment when everything clicks into place is incredibly rewarding.
The second creative type is designed to tug at your heartstrings. It could be something that pulls on the threads of nostalgia, warms your heart, or leaves a lump in your throat. Essentially, anything that elicits an emotional response.
And the third kind tends to be somewhat ambiguous and, at times, controversial. Depending on the product, it could also incorporate a dash of sensuality. This isn’t my go-to choice, but its effectiveness in the advertising industry over the years is undeniable.
So, the key is to test what resonates with your audience. Don’t shy away from challenging their intellect, touching their hearts, or stirring their innate instincts.
Immerse yourself in the theoretical foundations of the field, and don’t be disheartened when the practical realities occasionally deviate from those principles. They still hold value. Maintain a healthy skepticism towards every marketing “guru” who professes to have all the answers because, in truth, no one does. Cultivate patience, and never stop testing and optimizing.
Do grab a copy of “Statistics for Dummies”. That’s where my journey began after flunking two Statistics exams, almost costing me the two bachelor’s degrees I was chasing. Yes, Bavarian universities do uphold stern academic standards. Start by forging a love-hate rapport with SPSS, and strive to comprehend the logic underpinning statistical analysis. Then, it’s all about keeping your finger on the pulse of platform changes and updates.
Admittedly, it may seem daunting, but if this field genuinely sparks your passion (as it does mine), and you approach it one step at a time, you’ll navigate it just fine. Over time, every fresh impression, lead, or conversion you deliver for your clients becomes the most gratifying reward you can receive. Here’s wishing you the best of luck on this exciting journey!
With that, our enlightening journey with Adriana Malkanova, the epitome of expertise in digital advertising campaigns, comes to a close. We hope you’ve gained valuable insights, inspiration, and a deeper understanding of the strategies that fuel successful campaigns on platforms like Meta and LinkedIn. As the digital advertising landscape evolves, Adriana’s expertise will undoubtedly serve as a guiding light for seasoned professionals and budding marketers. Stay tuned for more captivating interviews and expert insights on our company blog, where we unravel the mysteries of the digital marketing universe. Until next time!
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