Thinking Differently About Unified Measurement

Within the jungle of jargon and technological colossus that is ad tech, we are always hearing about the newest tips for attribution or the latest advancements in engagement. As professionals with experience in the field, it is up to us to manage these tools to build brand recognition and drive revenue for our clients, and ultimately create better advertising experiences for consumers.

As the industry continues to explore how consumers are influenced across all screens, by different ad types and formats, it’s incumbent upon us to ensure we are measuring appropriately and accurately. We must also ensure our ads are being served to the right consumers and that they are viewable.

As we think differently about measurement, we can improve longstanding metrics like frequency by looking at the correlation between how long a consumer spends time among a brand’s ads, across screens.

The technology exists to improve measurement dramatically. It will be a partnership between marketers and vendors to leverage the technology to drive efficiencies and deepen connections with consumers. Brands, agencies and, most importantly, consumers, are ready for it.

Don’t Mistake Clickers for Buyers

Click-through rate has long been used as a proxy for intent to purchase, but there have been numerous studies over the past five years disproving clickers as primary buyers.

 When looking at click-through rate, we’re really only considering one single ad a user viewed in a moment. Though appropriate at the beginning of ad tech because it was all we had, click measurement fails to consider other forms of marketing consumers have been exposed to throughout the consideration and purchase process. Rather than focusing on all of the moments that a brand has connected with the consumer, we mistakenly assume clicks are indicators of intent.

We have an abundance of accessible research disproving the former norm of display advertising, and yet the industry still relies too much on click-through rate as a barometer of purchase power.

As cross-device marketers, we are looking to gauge insights or trends gathered by multiple device usage. We need to reinvent our role of cross-device to witness the journey consumers take along different ads and devices. We must shift our thought process to view measurement as telling a digital consumer story rather than getting caught up in clicks, a metric which doesn’t help parse the complexities of consumer behavior.

Consider Tying TV and Digital Together

The need for a unifying metric tracking across channels and devices is growing not only among cross-device marketers, but for advertisers as a whole. Consumers practically eat, breathe and sleep with their TVs, cell phones, tablets and beyond, and yet the industry is still struggling to adopt a standardized method for measuring accurately across devices.

It’s increasingly difficult for marketers to show how digital formats and TV are working together, or even compare them to each other. If we are able to detect consumer viewability of an ad on a mobile device and the corresponding purchase on a computer, then we should be able to include TV in the mix. Marketers are operating inefficient campaigns and budgets, since their sense of what a single consumer has experienced across multiple screens remains murky.

Be Innovative

The ad-tech industry is certainly no stranger to innovation, with a surplus of different tools and services available. Cross-device capabilities for attribution continue to improve, as does the ability to activate learnings in a cross-screen way. All sides of the industry are begging for greater cross-screen unification, namely in connecting TV to digital and mobile. As more devices become connected and we become further immersed in the Internet of Things, there will be even more innovation to come in marketing analytics.

It is time to move into a new era of ad-tech measurement, and thinking differently about what unified measurement means can be our first step forward.

1 comment about "Thinking Differently About Unified Measurement".
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  1. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, November 26, 2016 at 10:33 a.m.

    This is an urgent need. But,,, an early industry mis-step was to define the wrong unified measurement: the CTR. I am convinced that clicking on an ad is an unnatural act, akin to pulling off the highway to hug a billboard -- there's definitley an action there, but it doesn't mean what we think it means. At the risk of stating the obvious, measurements must be tied to goals. There can be such a thing as unified measurement, but it might be more accurately described as "unified measurement by goal". That's a mouthful, but I think the distinction is important. Without it, we risk just creating the next CTR, and spending the following decade or so trying to un-do it.

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