Why is it that us advertisers and marketers have such a bad rep? We’re genuinely trying to target the right people for our products with the right messages. We’ve been regulated for decades.
We have been guided by the principals of creating legal, decent, honest and truthful communications for even longer than that, but there are two things that get in the way of us being seen by the person in the street as a respectable industry. The first is our tendency to exaggerate (occasionally) the benefits of a product, the second is junk communication… and of those two, the one that infuriates our audiences most is junk.
No digital marketer wants to do this to our audience. Source
What are we doing about that as an industry? We're measuring everything.
This blog series is about measurement. What we can measure now, what we hope to be able to measure in the future, why it’s so important and what on earth that has to do with addressing the bad reputation our industry has for spamming people with junk communication.
iProspect is a digital performance marketing agency. That means we get involved when our clients are trying to drive measurable business outcomes. Another way of saying that is that we do Direct Response online. It doesn’t matter whether those are clicks, form fills, downloads, sales or something else, but they have to be measurable. With measurement in our DNA in this way, we have to take it pretty seriously.
The first step in ensuring that we can measure what we are doing accurately is to spend time setting up the campaign. We need to know what we are measuring. What is the campaign designed to do? What is the call to action? What are the main KPIs? Generally, a big part of getting this right is getting the analytics right, so we often start with an analytics audit. Is everything on the destination website or landing page properly tagged for analytics? Are we going to have full visibility of everything that happens in the onsite sales funnels?
Next we set the campaign itself up for measurement. There are usually multiple channels in play: search, display, social media, as well as direct traffic and traffic from off-line channels to consider. Not only do we need to measure traffic from each channel but we’ll want to know how many of our users converted, how far non-converters got through the process before abandoning and importantly, we’ll want to be able to retarget those non-converters.
This is a complex and challenging technical process that we are covering elsewhere in this blog series, but it involves placing tagging and tracking code on all of the relevant pages. We can often avoid that meaning too much disruption to client websites and ongoing access to IT departments by dropping what are called ‘container tags’ on to the pages. These act like containers that we can subsequently drop multiple tags into if we need to, without requiring back-end access to the site’s CMS.
Making Strides in Measurement
With the campaign set up properly, we can pretty much measure everything that it is possible to measure. However, as an industry, we can’t quite measure everything we would like to. We are tantalisingly close to being able to track everything users do across the web and across the multiple devices and platforms that we all use these days… We can already track users that have interacted with social media, across multiple devices using social media IDs and we can track a user using a single device using cookie-based techniques.
And although we are getting close to converging these techniques, it’s not quite there. Much of this is to do with the big players’ (you know who they are) reluctance to collaborate to unify tech across all channels, but we believe that we will make further great strides towards solving this in 2015. At some point in the very near future, there will be a blinding flash of light and we will realise we have reached a measurement and analytics ‘singularity’ and that all measurement will be possible.
Analytics that Makes Sense
After campaign set up, the next part of the process for us is to display the results in a way that makes sense to us and to our clients. We use iAnalyse, our own data visualisation tool for this. iAnalyse can take feeds from all of our campaign monitoring tools, Google Analytics, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, Facebook Reporting, Twitter Analytics etc. as well as being able to ingest and display API data from offline channels if it’s available, e.g. in-store onboard conversion data, call data from call centres etc.
At this point, we have undertaken an analytics audit, set the campaign up for measurement and built a real-time reporting platform that will allow us to see and analyse everything that happens in order to optimise the campaign as we roll it out. We can see how users interact with our campaign, track them and re-engage them if they don’t convert.
Isn’t this all a bit ‘Big Brother’? (In the 1984 sense, not in the past-its-sell-by-date-TV-series sense!) Isn’t this obsessive tracking of user behaviour across the internet going to damage the reputation of our industry further?
I don’t think so…
Measurement Translates to Relevance
Back to the original point in this blog piece… It’s quite the opposite. Measurement, I believe, will save the reputation of our industry. The more we learn and understand about our target audiences the more targeted and relevant we can be, and junk communication is communication that lacks relevancy or is poorly targeted.
A communication that is sent to the right person at the right time is welcome communication. You want car insurance information only when you are in the market for car insurance, you only want to hear about a scuba diving holiday if you are into scuba diving.
When every communication is timely and relevant there is less wastage, higher engagement and conversion rates, and for the user, a better brand experience… There are no downsides.
Measurement will save our industry.
It will bring us closer to the holy grail of marketing communications… An end to junk communication. During our Measurement and Analytics blog series we are going to talk in more detail about the technical side of measurement, we’ll talk about the challenges of tracking and measuring users in specific channels, search and display in particular, and we’re going to have a bit of fun with our iAnalyse tool by tracking and measuring the daily behaviours of some of our own iProspecters and displaying the results on our reporting platform… Enjoy!