Commentary

Building A Single Currency For Marketing Measurement

Twenty years ago, traveling through Europe meant that you needed a pretty big change purse and a calculator. That’s because you had to use multiple currencies, depending on which countries you were visiting during your trip -- lira in Italy, francs in France -- all with their own individual exchange rate. But then the European Union introduced the euro, which not only provided a simple solution, but also saved everyone a lot of headaches when traveling across borders.

In this case, conversion rates made it easy to translate the value of each individual country’s currency to other currencies. But when it comes to marketing, building a single currency is much more complex. The individual currencies of different marketing silos within a company are often difficult to convert in order to understand relative values across marketing channels. Depending on the channel, the currently accepted currency could be conversions, clicks, CTR, visits or GRP’s, just to name a few.

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But why do we need a single marketing currency in the first place?

The answer is simple. Though recently there has been criticism of the single-currency model, a single currency drives standardized measurement across your company. Standardized and accurate measurement drive more effective optimization. And effective optimization helps you buy the right media to give you the best returns for your marketing spend. 

Best Practices for Building the Right Currency

Your single marketing currency should be a metric that is the most important to your company. Consider these best practices for selecting and using a single currency:

  1. Select the right metric for the business: Align your currency with your most valuable bottom-funnel metric, such as revenue, conversions or purchases. Even if you are measuring brand marketing efforts, select a brand engagement currency that will ultimately drive future bottom-funnel outcomes. 
  2. Ensure accuracy of the metric: Make sure your currency can properly credit every marketing touchpoint (e.g. display, SEM,  etc.), as well as its underlying attributes (e.g., device type, placement,  keyword, etc.). In other words, it should look beyond the last touchpoint to account for the entire customer journey.
  3. Deal with viewability: The right currency should be able to automatically weed out media with non-viewable impressions during the optimization process. If the currency accounts for all of your touchpoints and their individual attributes, then the specific publishers and placements that serve the most non-viewable impressions will quickly be weeded out due to their poor performance.
  4. Activate programmatic media buying across channels based on your single currency: Programmatic buying is expanding beyond desktop search and display to other channels and screens, such as social and mobile devices. This is what enables marketers to do their measurement, optimization and activation all in one closed loop. So you need to deploy optimizations to your programmatic platforms on a regular basis to buy media based on your single currency. If your programmatic buying platforms can’t accept your currency, then they will never be able to inform their buying and optimization based on what’s important to your business.

Once you have established your single currency for marketing, then you can finally throw away your currency exchange calculator and giant change purse. Instead, you can focus your time and effort on launching strategic, closed-loop marketing programs that drive business results across all of your marketing channels.

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