Accurately Measure Marketing Effectiveness Means Identifying All Channels On A Customer’s Journey

VP of Worldwide Sales for LeadsRx, responsible for driving revenue growth and adoption of our impartial marketing analytics software. 

As advertisers expand their marketing reach to mediums like podcasting or over-the-top (OTT) – and even take a fresh look at television and radio advertising – more niche measurement solutions are arriving on the scene: Podsights, Veritone and TVSquared are all examples. Now, a large brand might have four or more different measurement systems that all take credit for overlapping outcomes and all try to justify the medium they measure as “the winner.”

What’s required here is a cross-medium solution that impartially evaluates marketing performance and not just medium performance. With full transparency, that’s what we do at LeadsRx. My company and a few other vendors provide a completely agnostic view of the choice of advertising vehicle, which provides the basis for creating a media currency – basically providing a worth or value to one medium’s effectiveness in driving revenue. Only when you have an impartial review of outcomes can you truly give credit where credit is due and thereby compensate a particular medium or collection of mediums.

Declaring data from Comscore or Nielsen — both measurement tools — as currency sounds a bit silly. Comscore uses set-top box data for audience measurement. It’s an alternative to Nielsen, longtime a household name for measuring TV viewership. Large media companies, such as ViacomCBS and Fox, use Comscore and Nielsen, as well as other vendors, such as advertising software/data company VideoAmp.

The notion of measurement data as a currency is tricky, especially in light of various niche solutions that isolate one medium over another to show evidence of impact.

This all started with Google when they began measuring ad impact through a special conversion ‘pixel’ installed on an advertiser’s website. This allows Google to associate an ad impression or ad click with a business outcome, such as purchasing a product. Facebook has done the same, as has The Trade Desk, etc.

Each of these ‘silos’ has a self-interest mission of showing the connection between ad dollars and revenue, but they end up creating an inability to measure how advertising ‘shares’ success. It’s not uncommon to have more than one — several even — ad mediums involved in a single outcome. Part of this is driven by basic consumer choice to engage or not with a particular medium, but part also is based on consumer mistrust with advertising they believe is tracking them.

All of this said, accurately determining where credit is due is complicated. While digital ad clicks are mostly deterministic in their ability to ‘know’ whether a consumer is in fact responding to ad exposure or not, podcasting and OTT require a little guesswork, and mediums like radio and television require probabilities to be considered.

Television, in particular, becomes even more complex with the notion of local versus national advertising, live shows versus broadcast, dual- versus single-cable feed and daylight saving time, just to name a few. Getting measurement correct requires an understanding of these complexities and technology to handle it all at scale.

LeadsRx recently announced a capability that seeks to solve an old problem of advertisers failing to find an accurate measure on complex national TV spots. The solution seeks to provide better “accuracy in multi-touch attribution results for the types of feeds and the times commercials air nationally.” I and my team believe this represents the first time in history that an independent vendor has made the effort to incorporate solving this problem into its modeling. 

Why is this important? Measurement must be believed before it can be used as the basis of any kind of media currency. The various ad servers won’t participate, and advertisers won’t use it if the measurement system seems flawed or non-substantial in its ability to decode the way each medium works.

The goal here is to remove bias and preference, and this can only be accomplished with accuracy and data.

I and my team believe these types of ‘deep dives’ into particular mediums will continue to be a core requirement as more and more marketers incorporate different types of advertising into their mix. For example, the emerging market for in-game advertising for sporting events and virtual reality games presents challenges with ad overlap, exposure time, and even device complexities.

Only with impartial examination and measurement of all touchpoints and a complete view of customers’ paths-to-purchase can marketers win and consumers be best served a customer experience they want and need.

Looking Ahead

There are still challenges ahead. Efforts to protect consumer data privacy will only get more restrictive; but I and my team also believe the average consumer is fine with allowing the use of some data, especially anonymized data, if it provides a smooth customer experience with a brand or company they already trust. Data clean rooms (DCRs) — a topic for an entirely separate article — are one way some vendors provide technology to their enterprise customers so IT teams are given the power to control marketing data and allow management of and access to that data according to internal and external data privacy policies. The solution separates data otherwise stored within a vendor platform into an independent DCR, controlled and administered by the enterprise IT team.

Predictive analytics will become more prevalent, as well. By benchmarking the right data and insights, impartially gathered and examined over years of monitoring literally billions of customer journey touchpoints, brands can compare their current marketing efforts to what has been working (or not working) to determine if their new marketing campaigns will perform successfully. This is a new, powerful realm for MarTech and advertisers. Imagine seeing five years of data of how well paid Google ads — or any other channel — have performed in your business category and using that knowledge to better serve up a great experience for your existing and prospective customers. It’s a win-win for the enterprise and the consumer.

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