An Adotas Q&A with Traci Will, Senior Director of Media Sales Analytics at Gamut and CoxReps, part of Cox Media Group, explores the most important metrics on the digital landscape and how campaigns can increase their success rate by evaluating the right metrics from the get-go.
A: Data plays a powerful role in advertising strategy at every stage of a campaign lifecycle. Two key areas in which data can play a role during the planning stage are in product and audience choice. Product planning, for example, should rely on historical performance measurement benchmarks and product recommendations to determine product choices. Insights into the target audience are equally important. This data, in conjunction with savvy analysis, can help you put together a strategic plan that addresses not only reaching the right audience, but also meeting the client’s true objective. This is critical to understanding consumer behavior in relation to media consumption and product usage.
Q: In terms of performance measurement, what current trends are you noticing?
A: It’s still surprising to me that we see an awful lot of clients asking for a click through rate. It’s a measurement that never really gauges the most important objectives of an advertising campaign. While CTR is the easiest metric to track, others, such as conversions, site activity, and store locators, are more indicative of true performance.
I do see an evolution in measurement innovation – and not only the availability of it, but more importantly, the use of it. The industry is evolving cross-platform measurement at a nice pace. We are also starting to see advertisers begin to integrate audience data with their CRM tools. As more advertisers jump on board, we should start to see their advertising KPIs more closely align with these measurement capabilities, especially as robust measurement becomes less costly and more widespread.
Q: What metrics do you recommend, and what metrics do you tend to avoid?
A: I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but I try to avoid click through rate whenever possible. Now, when the client does not have better measurement tools, there are times that CTR can infer some success. For example, if a creative has an interactive overlay with a store locator, a “click” can infer intent to visit a store. It is still only inference, but it tells us more than a click on a simple banner ad.
Some clients are also inferring brand lift by measuring how many non-clicking users later visited the site shortly after seeing the ad. This often makes more sense than a CTR. A brand lift study measuring awareness, favorability, or intent to visit/purchase is also more indicative of success than CTR. Some brand lift study vendors provide the ability to segment users and measure brand lift by segment. For example, a study may tell you if your current customers are more favorable to a new technology than your competitor’s customers, or it could tell you if one generation is more favorable to your product than another.
Q: What is the most important initiative in measurement today?
A: Cross-platform measurement and attribution are very important. Isolating a user to reduce redundancy and understand habits across many platforms will be an exciting thing for the industry to finally nail down. Once we’ve got this, I would expect to see skyrocketing CPMs, but improved ROI.
Q: How do you advise clients on incorporating performance measurement into their advertising strategies?
A: I always advise clients to start with the business objective and consult with their media team. It’s also important to invest in attribution software if you’re not already using it. Get creative with your measurement and don’t be afraid to try new methods.