Today’s consumers are not simple. Marketing is even less so. Driven by convenience and disloyal to brands, shoppers are, as they say, driving the bus.
Successful brands know that to reach their audiences, they must expose them to multiple messages across numerous channels. And it’s not just about frequency. There has to be alignment between offers, media, creative and audience interests and behavior.
When done right, there’s synergy between various types of media—display, search, social, email, TV, radio and more—that drives consumers to look for more information and to purchase. For example, research reveals that display advertising has a direct impact on search activity. Consumers are more likely to search for a company and its products after seeing a display ad, even if they don’t click on it.
It’s more apparent every day that relying on a last-click attribution model is not the best strategy in a world of multiple channels. Last click doesn’t account for all of the touchpoints along the way that motivate a prospect and fails to show how your other marketing efforts help get that final click and conversion. If you can’t see which tactics in your marketing mix are driving results, you can’t optimize the best-performing ones and retire the rest.
Measuring Up to Multi-Touch Attribution
Making the transition from last-click attribution to a cross-channel view is an exciting step toward realizing the full potential of your marketing mix. However, this evolution in technique calls for an evolution in perspective. Advanced measurement strategies require you to think differently about how channels work together. It also means that, for the first time, you can leverage the untapped potential of centralized data.
Adopting a multi-touch attribution platform is the perfect opportunity to review and improve the quality of your data standardization practices and business processes. With data consistency comes data legibility. Legible data improves how efficiently and effectively you can execute media optimization recommendations.
Four Ways to Standardize
Standardizing saves time, helps reveal insights and streamlines results. Here are four elements of your marketing approach that you can standardize when onboarding an advanced attribution solution.
1. Standardize Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
When viewing marketing performance using a legacy last-click approach, metrics and KPIs often fall victim to the “silo” effect, which results in disparate measurement tactics across individual channels. Examples include optimizing affiliate media to the click while optimizing display media to the view, or optimizing paid search to sales while measuring email efficacy by leads.
Though channel strategy can differ, it’s important to remember that all channels work cohesively to contribute to the bottom line. Recognizing the most influential metrics and KPIs from a full-channel view, and measuring all channels against the performance of this integrated perspective, is an important prerequisite for leveraging cross-channel insight.
2. Standardize Naming Conventions
The structure of your business and its unique reporting needs are the framework for standardizing naming conventions. This ensures that the analyses, insights and recommendations from your solution map directly to your brand’s unique jargon and business goals.
It can be difficult to wrangle data management into a consolidated methodology, especially when channels are managed by different departments or agencies. However, the benefits of conquering this challenge outweigh any inconvenience, since standardized naming conventions create a foundation for data integrity.
The old principle of “garbage in, garbage out” rings especially true when implementing an attribution platform to centralize and examine disparate marketing sources. The quality of the algorithmic output depends intimately on the quality of the data input. By defining naming conventions up front, your business moves one step closer to comprehensible results.
3. Standardize Taxonomy
At the most basic level, standardizing your taxonomy helps you categorize your data so you can use it. Never does the difference in channel structure become so apparent as when a standardized view of some shared metric is required as a consistent input elsewhere.
For example, providing cost from each channel seems like a straightforward task, until a consolidated view of that cost is required not only at the aggregate channel level, but also at the additional granularity of your publisher, ad group, placement and creative dimensions.
While not all dimensions remain applicable across each channel in your marketing mix, it is important to retain as much similarity as possible in order to preserve the flexibility of “slicing and dicing” performance across uniform views. Standardized taxonomy normalizes channel differences and provides the objective perspective required for impactful cross-channel optimization.
4. Standardize Expectations Across Departments
The move to cross-channel measurement is nothing short of a marketing paradigm shift. It requires a mental swing from a last-click approach to an understanding of media interdependency.
The success of an advanced marketing measurement solution at your company depends on level-setting expectations across all key stakeholders. This new view of marketing performance may be surprising at first—particularly in comparison to the previous measurements of each channel in isolation—but with ample education, consistent use and an open mind, the benefits of cross-channel attribution will win over even the most skeptical.
Without standardization across data and departments, you’ll be left with inefficient processes, and insufficient results. By laying down the right foundation for your attribution solution, you’ll be well on your way to better measurement, and a better return on your marketing investment.
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