Commentary

How To Determine The Best Data For Return On Spend

With a flood of data sources available, search marketers need to understand the types of metrics required to run successful campaigns. Not all do, according to a discussion Thursday at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit in Deer Valley, Utah.

The group of experts from UPMC Health Plan, The Home Depot, and SAP discussed how to identify the correct key performance indicators and data to support attribution, retargeting, and paid-search advertising, and how to sink that data with site analytics and third-party data that the brand might buy.

More importantly, they also spoke about the time and money wasted to get to numbers that marketers never use. Although the group did not quantify the dollar amount associated to the time and effort to reach those numbers, all agreed that millions are wasted in the effort. Some companies even use four analytics packages. Rob Griffin, chief innovation officer at Almighty, led the discussion.

So how should marketers start thinking about data? Focus on what's needed based on the objectives. As The Home Depot runs a variety of campaigns, the same data and metric will have an influence on the outcome based on the marketer's strategy. "If I'm doing a straight product promotion where I need to sell mulch for 20%, there's a clear KPI," said Erin Everhart, senior manager, media strategy and mobile at The Home Depot.

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On the other hand, when the campaign centers on educating consumers about LED lightbulbs, she won't look at the immediate return on ad spend.

Everhart said marketers spend days -- if not months -- obsessing over data, but not all campaigns require the need to know click-through rates, page views, impressions, cost per conversions, and link clicks. It really depends on what the market will do with the numbers.

"Don't just do a data puke of all the numbers because it won't be actionable," Everhart said, adding that it is important to take the time to interpret the numbers before sharing them.

Gregg Greenberg, VP at SAP Digital, said the "single source of truth makes executives in the C-suite feel warm and fuzzy, including myself." He can wrap himself in the numbers to feel cozy, but at the core it's all about what the marketer will do with the numbers.

"What are you going to do before we invest all this time, money and effort to get to that number, determining the accuracy, and spending" what seems like a lifetime and tons of resources trying to get to it, Greenberg asked.

Zach Cole, search marketing manager at UPMC Health Plan, said he's trying to tie "crazy performance numbers, clicks and impressions, … but the mystery in health insurance becomes what turned into a sale."

Cole said UPMC began importing the data into its CRM system, and now he can look back to see where leads come from by source, when they became a sale, and the touchpoints that consumers came in contact with. It became a baseline to determine the data to use.

Cole also said that the search group has been reaching out to other internal group such as email to find out what type of campaigns they run. Marketers talk about integrated marketing, but "heaven forbid" one group speaks with another. "A big initiative I have now is with the direct mail team. Let's see what they're actually sending out because wouldn't that behoove us to know what they're actually sending out," he said.

1 comment about "How To Determine The Best Data For Return On Spend".
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  1. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, December 9, 2016 at 4:34 p.m.

    These folks sound like a bunch of Porgressives trying to count the number of angels on the head of a pin.  Pinheads, I guess.

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