Just getting caught up on my industry reading and I came across this article titled Why CFOsDon’t Believe In Online Advertising. Now, at this point, I tell you why you should care about this article as well. It discussing one fo the most important parts of a direct response campaign – Reporting. The article is about analyzing campaign results and offers some very important elements to keep in mind. These come second nature to savvy direct marketers, but it’s nice to have someone put them in writing. So, thank you Stephan Pretorius. Although the article is clearly addressed to “client-side marketers”, it is useful for anyone in the industry, no matter what side of the desk you sit. For my entry, we’ll focus on the agency side of things.
It starts off discussing data integrity, which is a critical component of the results and analysis, and it will cause a loss in credibility if the accuracy comes into question. That said, there will always be reporting discrepancies. There’s no way around it as there’s too many “cooks in the kitchen” when tracking an online ad campaign, which is why the IAB has verbiage related to theseoccurrences to help the situation. However, the best bet is to follow the advice mentioned in the article. Come up with a solid Media Measurement Framework that your client will be comfortable with. This should be decided upon before any impression is served.
All six (counting engagement mapping as it’s own point) points are important, but there are a couple that I’d like to highlight in the rest of the blog. First, data integration is extremely important and can be very challenging. I’ve seen this accomplished two ways, through theadserver or manually. My preference was the backend metrics being plugged into the frontenddata through the adserver. This way, it is all together when a report is pulled. Some adservers or client’s system are not set up to do this, so the only other way is to integrate the data manually, which is time consuming. This is the step where the discrepancy occurs more often than not.
Quickly, the duplication of conversions when using a performance venue is a huge issue, so measures should absolutely be put into place to de-dupe those.
Lastly, and probably most important, “Make your metrics relevant to your business”! This cannot be stressed more. Custom reporting that speaks to the client’s business is what separates Media Two from other agencies. If you followed point 1 and are tracking EVERYTHING, then you will have metrics that you are reporting on that are specific to your client. So, if all of your reports, that you are showing your clients, just have impressions, clicks, cost and conversions, then you are doing an injustice to your client, and more importantly, yourself. Of course, the main objective is to drive sales, but there are a substantial amount of secondary benefits and learnings that can help your client, but you must be able to track and report on them. For example, these can be an email capture, refer a friend or a whitepaper download. Although these may not be your desired actions, these secondary benefits can only help in proving the worth of the online medium within the marketing mix.
In closing, this last point corresponds with the last point in the article. Most of the job postings and resumes I’ve ever read have something about “staying abreast with industry trends”. Even in interviews, you may be asked this very question. My recommendation to you is answer by saying Engagement Mapping. There has been a lot of talk about this reporting feature, and although I do feel it is an excellent feature for your client, it is far from the piece de resistance everyone keeps pushing it as. This goes back to point five in the article. You and your client decide how important it is and how to quantify or assign weight to the touchpoints in the conversion stream, because it should never be a standard allocation.
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