The advertising ecosystem revolves around the consumer — so much so that advertisers have shifted campaigns from an audience-based approach to a people-based one. Delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the most opportune time has become an obsession. But with consumers engaging with brands across multiple channels, measuring the true return on ad spend can be difficult.
As such, more brands are focusing on enhancing their measurement capabilities. For example, research from the Data & Marketing Association and the Winterberry Group shows that 63% of the marketers surveyed identify an attribution strategy as a growing priority within their company — but 62.7% still use an outdated, single-touch measurement approach.
Fortunately, marketers have access to technology and data to turn an otherwise complex measurement effort into an insightful exercise that lets them truly understand which campaign components work and which need to be optimized. Here are five tips that will help you better measure ad spend, as well as provide insights into how to make better marketing decisions, whether your brand is highly sophisticated or a mere startup.
While clicks might provide instant gratification, they aren’t always the most effective way of judging an advertising program’s success. When you optimize your campaigns based solely on clicks, there’s a good chance you’re leaving money on the table. Most people see between 2,000 and 4,000 ads per month and only click on a few, if any. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t affected by a message they saw. Attribution of marketing efforts is changing, and clicks alone don’t tell the whole story. Your end goal most likely isn’t driving clicks, but changing purchase behavior and generating additional revenue.
A large part of today’s attribution game is collecting actionable data. This means more than total visits and bounce rates. There are plenty of tools you can incorporate into your campaigns to get deeper insight into your customers and their actions. For more accurate measurement, consider including coupons, QR codes, landing pages and pixels that let you cross-track campaign impressions data with website data to measure user interaction with your brand.
Once you’ve collected the data, the next step is linking it together to make more informed decisions. And the only way to do that is to really look into the data. This could include transaction data, media exposure, consumer data and online activity data. You should start by looking at data points from two samples, one that shows the effectiveness of specific campaign elements against the target audience and one that shows those not in the target audience (control group). Then look at the sales lift of specific campaign elements, types of products purchased versus products advertised, online impact of offline marketing, and types of consumers who engage with specific campaign elements. Having the right data is just as important as mining it for insights and turning it into actionable intelligence.
The consumer experience must be at the heart of every marketing strategy. You can get to know your audience by tying campaign and transaction data to consumer demographics, geographies and psychographics. This lets you deliver more personalized ads and messaging more likely to lead to a purchase. One option is working with a third-party vendor to help link together the trail of data people leave behind as they interact with brands.
TV has come a long way in terms of attribution. Traditionally, TV audience measurement has focused simply on eyeballs vs. media impact, with little insight into how TV advertising converts into sales. But with more TV advertising becoming digital and addressable, collecting second-by-second viewership data linked to households is possible. You can now tie this data back to your online and offline sales.
Data and technology give you a real advantage when it comes to campaign attribution and measurement. Connecting campaign data to offline sales opens new doors of opportunity to make better marketing decisions — as long as you know what to look for. Brands and agencies that take attribution efforts will be able to have more meaningful interactions and will therefore engage and retain more customers.
I have a tip too.
Recognise that traditional media, your competitors, price, distribution, weather, events etc. all affect brand sales. Dump your narrow digital-only attribution based on convenience and do the hard yards.