Five Questions that Will Help You Choose the Right Marketing Measurement Partner

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Whether you’re an in-house marketer or work at an agency, the reality is that your success – and often your budget – is based on the performance of your marketing campaigns. And there’s only one true way to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns. It involves precisely measuring campaign results – and then using that measurement data to optimize your marketing messages, channels and strategies going forward.

That’s why an estimated 84.4% of companies with at least 100 employees will use digital attribution models of some kind, with 65.7% using multichannel attribution models, according to eMarketer.

But the reality is that most marketers and agencies simply do not have the right tools or enough manpower to accurately measure today’s complex multichannel marketing campaigns. In fact, in one survey, less than 30% of marketers said they were highly confident they can measure ROI. But according to HubSpot, marketers that effectively measure ROI are 1.6 times more likely to get higher budgets.

That means that picking the right measurement partner can be one of the most important things you do as a marketer. So how do you make the right partner choice? You can start by asking some key questions of your prospective (or current) marketing partner:

Can You Accurately Measure Performance Across Media Channels?

When it comes to measurement, no single channel tells the entire story. That’s why it is so important to select a partner that has the tools to not only answer the question: “How did this podcast ad perform among a subset of podcast listeners” but also to answer the question: “How did this advertisement perform among a subset of podcast listeners, YouTube watchers, Internet surfers, billboard readers and other key channels?” To answer the second question, your marketing measurement partner must be able to compare consumer engagement and purchasing across channels using control group methodologies that deliver statistically significant, accurate data analyses.

How Closely Can You Tie a Consumer Purchase to a Particular Advertisement or Channel?

Let’s say a consumer hears an ad for exercise equipment today while listening to a podcast and then purchases the product a week from now. One might assume that the advertisement prompted the consumer’s purchase. But maybe the consumer has always purchased that brand. Or maybe the consumer’s trainer recommended it. Or maybe that consumer regularly watches a television fitness program where the equipment is advertised. Understanding how media shapes consumer decisions means understanding two things: consumer identity and consumer influences.

To get insight into these two things, you need access to a robust identity graph – a database filled with consumer data that gives you in-depth insight that lets you determine what other influences (other than just the podcast ad) played a role in a consumer’s buying decision. It should also give you insight into a consumer’s household – and the role that other household members might play in the buying decision.

With an identity graph, you can segment consumers based on their demographics, lifestyles and past behaviors – and gain a wealth of new, privacy-compliant demographic insight into why customers are buying.

That same identity graph data can be used to do multivariate modeling, where you identify a profile of your best customer – and then develop a large database of “lookalike” prospects that look similar to your best customer and thus are very likely to buy.

No identity graph has every piece of data on every consumer. But a good marketing partner will have an identity graph that allows you to identify how customers segments with similar traits are responding to different messages across different channels so that you can truly understand what is driving the buying decision.

Can You Explain What Data You Use to Calculate Performance Results and What Specific Analysis You Provide?

Measurement shouldn’t begin or end with data collection. Data hygiene, the process of filtering a data pool to ensure quality records, is often even more important. No matter how good your marketing message is, it won’t result in sales if it is not reaching your target customers via their favorite channels. And bad data hygiene can affect your measurement results as well. Even the most analytically advanced measurement methods are invalidated by bad, irrelevant or improperly prepared data.

The same is true with good data and bad processes. Limiting measurement to a single channel creates blind spots in consumer behaviors and leaves measurement results open to more tenuous interpretation. But of course, consumer activities can’t always be resolved or even captured. That’s why it’s critical to have a partner that can leverage weighting and projections based on what’s known among your sample and what’s known about the population.

For example, a good partner should be able to deliver specific insight into what’s driving a 20% lift. Don’t be satisfied with “consumer activities” as an answer. Also find out which consumer base is being represented, because a 20% lift in one channel may not be a better indicator of performance relative to a 10% lift in another. Percent lifts are relative to a baseline and baseline values are difficult to align across companies. Ask for absolute values. When your partner says, “Your podcast campaign generated a total of 1,000 incremental conversions,” they should also be providing you with data that allows you to compare that success against performance in other channels as well.

How Will You Help Me Use Your Analysis to Improve My Campaign?

And a 20% lift may sound good to most advertisers but what if 30% were possible? What if 1,000 incremental conversions could have been generated with 15% fewer impressions? Measurement shouldn’t conclude with an overall performance metric. It should include ways to improve future investment. Sometimes that means shifting impressions to an audience responding more favorably than others or maybe it’s investing in another media channel. Make sure your measurement partner is providing not only relative measures of ad performance but also alternatives that are neutral across your media plan.

As My Partner, How Do You Define Success?

Of course, the only way to ensure that your measurement partner is suggesting alternatives that are neutral across your media plan is to hire a third-party measurement partner focused on optimizing your campaigns – and NOT promoting one particular advertising channel. Ask yourself: If I am paying a company to advertise on their channels, can I really trust them to accurately measure whether my ads are delivering results? When you write a check for advertising space to the same company that is doing your measurement, it’s a bit like having the fox guard the henhouse.

Trust and transparency are key. Without the confidence that your partner is treating your business as if it was their own, there’s potential risk. There should never be a vendor in the relationship, only partners. Of course, a good partner is NOT one whose advertising sales are reliant upon the success of your campaign or one particular channel within that campaign. You need a partner that has some skin in the game. That means you need a partner whose success relies solely on its ability to accurately measure what’s actually driving sales across multiple channels so you can improve ROI.

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About Claritas

Claritas is an established brand with 1,500 total customers that work with 98 of the top 100 advertisers in the United States. These customers leverage our identity graph to obtain unparalleled understanding into the American consumer using over 10,000 demographic and behavior insights. Our spectrum of solutions gives you an edge over the competition by helping you build marketing campaigns that maximize your ROI. From identifying target audiences to delivering multichannel campaigns and optimizing campaign performance, Claritas provides you with a holistic set of solutions across media planning, buying/targeting and measurement.