For the past 22 years, Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) has been helping clients understand how to better measure, attribute and allocate their online and offline ad dollars. Doug Brooks, MMA’s global executive vice president, spoke with eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher about current trends and challenges associated with multichannel marketing measurement.
eMarketer: What do you think is the biggest challenge marketers face today with multichannel marketing?
Doug Brooks: Most companies have a group of media planners or a marketing department that has been doing traditional media for a very long time, and they have set metrics, set data and set ways of planning. Apart from that, they also have a digital group that is using newer metrics and newer ways of planning digital.
“The problem is if you measure [channel-specific tactics] in isolation, they don’t account for the fact that they work together.”
We all dread the weekly report. A spreadsheet arrives in your inbox, crammed full of numbers, perhaps a few charts, maybe even some attempts at “data visualization,” but usually without any narrative or explanation. You look at it and think: “So what?” So what is it telling you and so what are you going to do about it? We’re not short of numbers. We’re short of understanding about what to do about the numbers. As analysts, we’re complicit in this. We have a habit of sending out data rather than insights. We’re good at reading numbers but not great at telling stories. We need to be telling more stories because people remember stories and they rarely remember a piece of analysis.
But what are the ingredients of a good story and how is that relevant to analysis?
In many cases, organizations are still struggling to get the return on investment in their digital analytics that they were originally hoping for or could reasonably expect. Ten years on from when Web analytics started to go mainstream, why is that still the case? If we look at the possible reasons, they tend to lie in the “triumvirate” of technology, people, and processes.
A lot of organizations have access to Web analytics technology and have invested in it heavily over the years. The introduction of free services sparked by Google Analytics over five years ago means that it’s cheap to acquire Web analytics technology. For organizations with more sophisticated requirements such as the ability to integrate Web data with other data sources and systems, the enterprise market satisfies those needs. The technologies have developed significantly over the past few years and provide richer analytics, particularly in the area of behavioral segmentation, than they did a few years ago. There are still areas that are not addressed well by Web analytics technologies; notably the attribution of acquisition channels. And while it’s great that the technology providers are adding additional functionality, particularly in the social media arena, acquisition attribution is an area that it would be great to see some development in as well. Read More
The heart and soul of marketing is targeting strategy, and when it comes to digital advertising, that strategy is increasingly data-driven and algorithm-based. Compared with traditional media, digital advertising has the advantages of targeting/personalization, precise performance metrics, and much greater flexibility in terms of reach and cost. These differences also spark two dramatically different views of advertising strategies like two dueling gunfighters in the Wild West.
In the east corner is the shotgun approach: let’s take advantage of the Web’s abundance of low-cost ad impressions and canvas the Web until we land on enough interested users to cover the cost. This is also known as cookie bombing.
In the west corner is the modern day sharpshooter: if the average response rate is around one basis point, only highly-targeted, well-placed ad messages can get the job done effectively. It’s a targeted approach with a well-researched plan (by strategically analyzing data to effectively drive performance), and no collateral damage.
How can something with such tasty connotations be such a source of distaste?
Cookie deletion has long been a blight on digital campaigns, skewing conversion tracking and affecting the validity of reach and frequency metrics. It’s a boundless, borderless issue that affects our industry the world-over (for a breakdown of cookies and how they work, see this recent story on ClickZ Asia).
A recent industry analysis from comScore puts it in sharp perspective: as outlined in its new report, the research group found that current cookie measurement systems overstate the number of users by over 2.5 times. The study looked at a first-party cookie from Yahoo and a third-party ad server persistent cookie from DoubleClick as served to the Australian Internet population to determine the degree to which Internet users were deleting their cookies and causing publishers to deposit new ones.