Measurement – The buzzword
Digital marketing is considered to be the most measurable medium. We present this Three part series on Measurement in digital marketing where the first part talks about the fragmentation and benchmarks, the second part covers the challenges and the final part will help in tackling the issues in measurement.
If you work in marketing, or have ever interacted with one, you must have heard about digital marketing being the most agile, quick to set up, best place to get results, cheaper to start off, reaches individual potential customer, a 2-way medium, a place for zero moment of truth, etc and that there are various aspects of digital marketing. Right from social media, videos, SMS, mobile-app based marketing, PPC, SEO, Influencer management, content marketing, email marketing, programmatic, Facebook ads, etc
As a marketer, you would know the challenges of Fragmentation. From having a multi-agency mix, to multiple tools used for measurement (each with a different term for the same metric), to people changing, to the entire Paid, Owned and Earned media universe, it is a challenge to (a) keep up with what’s happening where and (b) how much is good, bad or ugly.
Fragmentation happens due to multiple reasons, right from metrics to chase, the incorrect processes of building campaigns, the added layer of multiple platforms / multiple agencies / in-house teams, and data from each of these not talking to one another. In such a world, forget a unified report; it is difficult to even control duplicated reach, measure the effectiveness of spends or just attribute success to one platform / agency / vendor.
To add complexity to the above, the ORM teams (managed by the social agency) and the PR teams are often at loggerheads trying to take the credit for good work. Same happenes when the fine lines between YouTube the Paid platform vs YouTube the content platform debate rises; or when the same video has to be promoted on Facebook by the social agency and on Video platforms by the media agency.
One illustration of the Paid, Owned & Earned Media
In an ideal world, brands must run campaigns on digital that derives from an overall business objective, which runs the company.
The marketing, communication, media objectives are first set up & the digital media objectives are then worked out as per the requirements. Media principles, KPI setting, budgeting and finally the digital media plan gets finalized.
But in the current ecosystem, most of the steps get ignored, are never attempted, or are done in silos. The results are then force-fitted into the annual review. Such processes do not add any effective RoI on the digital media, and hence the outcome is either under deliver or over delivery, and in both cases, the results and the expected impact are often very different.
Deviations in the plans and deliveries are very common, especially in a fragmented ecosystem. Pressures on deliveries and to show efficiency is another area where the digital teams (esp the performance teams), try to overdo things and execute campaigns that can over-delivery beyond a certain range every single campaign. Under-Over delivery of upto 20% can still be expected due to various reasons, real time bidding, automated placements, creative performance, etc. But unless some content has gone “viral” (an abused word in our media), getting insanely different results should not make a marketing person happy.
Some professionals, freelancers and even agencies take pride in delivering 3.5X planned inventory, but the truth is, the planning wasn’t correct, the forecasting has gone for a toss and the expertise should be questioned.
Here comes the need to benchmark. Benchmarks must be updated, sourced and managed across 3 areas, viz. own performance, industry performance and competition / category performance. Historical performance is easy to manage and benchmarks help get a fair understanding of how the brand performed across various platforms in the past 6, 12 or 18 months. Competitor performance data, though limited, will help to compare and position ourselves to an extent. Industry level benchmarks – be it category (FMCG, Automobiles, E-comm, Travel, etc), country-wise performance, age group level or any other relevant cut can help in setting practical targets for the brand.
Digital Media Objectives created with historical benchmarks, industry performance, competitor data to some extent can help marketers to minimize wastages, be more effective as well as add to planning efficiencies.
The next section will cover the challenges faced in the realm of measurement and how we can tackle them.
To read part 2, click here.
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