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Firstly, thanks for all the great comments and emails I received following the first instalment of this article.
A lot of people commented on the many overlaps between the themes and particularly around the tagging requirements.
Tagging is a great area to explore, so I thought I would take this and a few of the other themes that were proffered before looking at areas to postpone focus, in the next instalment.
If you would like to see these prioritised further or which companies are differentiating themselves in this space, please let me know or add in the comments field below.
Tag management solutions
Tracking is commonly looked upon as a simple way of measuring campaign success, preventing audience overlap or weeding out poor performing media partners.
The simple truth is that tagging has not developed at the same pace as the media channels themselves. They are relatively singular in their measurement, reflecting separate, discrete events rather than the connected and potentially non-linear behavioural analytics they are capable of highlighting.
In fact, tag management solutions are now one of the critical components to ensure your CRM system, performance and display channels, as well as all your other paid, owned, shared and earned channels are effectively speaking the same language.
If you run a tag analyser on many sites, you will see the sheer number of different tags tracking different aspects of the consumer activities for different media, analytics and enterprise technology partners.
Other than affecting the site loading times, these multiple tags are probably duplicating efforts and often not tracking anything that helps the company measure longer term customer value.
As ‘digital performance channels’ begin to offer only marginal gains in spend efficiency, marketers needs these tagging insights to drive longer term ROI planning.
I would recommend attending a few tagging seminars or asking an independent agency or specialist tagging company for an initial free audit.
Organic first media
The trend, as you would expect in a competitive market where companies are now a lot more efficient in how they spend marketing budgets, is to look beyond paid media for new opportunities to drive incremental growth.
This has led to a re-arranging of the tradition POSE model (paid, owned, shared & earned) to an OESP model which we tend to refer to as an ‘organic first model’.
This effectively places owned content and marketing/communications channels at the epicentre of a client’s marketing efforts.
The outward radiation of channels from owned (all content, communications touch points and customer level data), earned (socially endorsed and third party created content), shared (paid and non-paid partnership such as resellers, editorial endorsement where commercial & media goals are aligned) and paid, creates a consumer out approach to marketing.
Of course, not all marketing execution needs to go through these conjuncts in a serial manner, paid can be used tactically to take advantage of shorter term environmental opportunities such as competitor activity or favourable popular news.
Re-visiting your creative
Performance media and its ‘coal faced’ accountability has redefined the industry, and established new businesses & opportunities.
However, it can be argued it has also made some of us lazy and a slave to shorter term ROI goals.
Creativity and the ‘magic’ that creates communication strategies which are more than the sum of their parts, is a key challenge for marketers to preserve as they fight to ensure their brand has traction in the mind of the consumer.
I recommend all companies look carefully at their creative assets and run consumer focus groups to fully understand the impact of their communications channels beyond just their appropriateness for the buying channels they use.
Attribution (and it role in defining the value of digital media) was widely discussed in 2013 and is quickly becoming an accepted form of post campaign analysis.
However, cross device and cross platform tracking, as well as understanding individual behaviour in a home setting, are key topics for the year ahead, and I recommend getting a handle on this as soon as possible.
In particular, it is worth looking at the output and application of attribution on further campaign optimisation.
I have seen a number of different attribution technologies being offered and they vary widely in the application of their output.
They can be linear, based on pre-defined weighting, to value the impact of different media channels against the end point conversion or algorithmic, whereby a predefined algorithm automatically adjusts the weighting allocations.
Both have their merits and can be applied from a cross campaign or individual campaign basis. I definitely recommend looking at the options in the market and how they can be used for your specific requirements.
Next time, I will discuss cookie-less tracking options, smart business intelligence platforms and the next generation of private market places. If you want anything else covered, please let me know.