tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/attribution Latest Attribution content from Econsultancy 2017-10-30T15:00:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69544 2017-10-30T15:00:00+00:00 2017-10-30T15:00:00+00:00 AdWords Conversion Linker: What is it and why do you need it? George Slokoski <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/9977/picture2-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="54"></p> <p>This is related to an email AdWords sent out at the beginning of September regarding the upcoming Safari update which introduces the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). </p> <p>The new technology intends to improve people’s privacy by using machine learning to determine which domains can track people across sites. It works by limiting tracking for the <em>allowed</em> domains by only letting cookies act in a third-party context for 24 hours. This article will explain what the Adwords Conversion Linker is, why it came about, and how you can implement it to avoid losing out on essential data.</p> <p>To better understand the issue Google is trying to solve and also why you need to implement the new Conversion Linker we first need to cover a basic understanding of how cookies work. </p> <h3>Cookies and how they work</h3> <p>A cookie, besides any other data it contains (name, expiration date, content etc.), would always contain the domain it has been written for. Below is an example of a google advertising cookie:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9978/Picture3.png" alt="" width="450"> </p> <p>The cookie can only communicate the data it holds (for example, whether a user has clicked a link) to the domain it has been written for. Therefore, the above cookie can only communicate its contents to googleadservices.com.</p> <p>If you are visiting Bill’s Shoe Website, then a cookie written for <em>www.billsshoewebsite.com</em> would be considered a <strong>first-party</strong> cookie.</p> <p>If there is a cookie on <em>www.billsshoewebsite.com</em> which sends data to another website (e.g. a Facebook like button sending data to Facebook.com, then it is considered a <strong>third-party</strong> cookie. </p> <p>Note: Cookies are not intrinsically first or third party – this is decided by the browser at runtime.</p> <h3>How does this relate to AdWords?</h3> <p>Let’s get back to our AdWords tracking point, and the point of this article.</p> <p>To date, AdWords cookies have always been <strong>third-party</strong> cookies (since they send data from any domain to <em>www.googleadservices.com</em>). </p> <p>Safari and Firefox are taking steps to <strong>block</strong> third-party cookies (to varying levels). By default this means that often people converting on these browsers <strong>aren’t tracked</strong> by the regular AdWords conversion tag. This is bound to only get worse with the coming ITP update to Safari mentioned in the beginning of the article. </p> <p>In essence, it means that essential AdWords conversion data is becoming lost, as it cannot be tracked from these browsers.</p> <p>Sometime in September, Google announced a new AdWords conversion tracking option which replaces the <em>www.googleadservices.com</em> cookie with an additional Google Analytics cookie. That is significant because the GA cookies are written against the domain they are tracking. Essentially, this circumvents the above limitation as these cookies will now be considered a <strong>first-party</strong> cookie on your website.</p> <p>The new Google Tag Manager (GTM) Conversion Linker tag works in a similar way. It simply reads any Google Click Identifier (GCLID) and Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) URL parameters relating to AdWords clicks, and sets them in a cookie on your own domain. Then later, if a conversion occurs, it can be properly tracked, even in browsers that block third-party cookies. </p> <p>Both these options would allow you to track users of browsers that block third=party cookies by default, as well as users that have chosen to block these cookies. Considering the ease of implementation of the new Conversion Linker tag it’s a no-brainer if you have GTM and use an AdWords conversion pixel currently.</p> <p><strong>Note:</strong> You only need to do this if you haven’t linked your Google Analytics with AdWords (more information: <a title="How AdWords tracks website conversions" href="https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7521212?hl=en-GB" target="_blank">https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7521212?hl=en-GB</a> )</p> <h3>How to setup the GTM Conversion Linker Tag </h3> <p>It is simple to setup the GTM Conversion Linker tag, but if you manage your GTM setup in-house, here are the steps you need to follow: </p> <p><strong>Step 1:</strong> Select to add a new tag and choose ‘conversion linker'.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9980/Picture4.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p><strong>Step 2:</strong> Set the default trigger of all pages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9981/Picture5.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p><strong>Step 3:</strong> You are all done. Put your feet up and feel smug!</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/data-analytics/">Data &amp; Analytics Training Courses</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69487 2017-10-10T11:00:00+01:00 2017-10-10T11:00:00+01:00 The state of marketing attribution: Research Nikki Gilliland <p>The research is based on an online survey of almost 1,000 practitioners from Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Here are some key charts from the report, alongside some insight into the state of marketing attribution in 2017 <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68313-marketing-attribution-how-many-are-actually-doing-it" target="_blank">compared to last year</a>.</p> <h3>Attribution is on the rise</h3> <p>In 2016, 31% of companies were carrying out attribution on ‘all or most’ of their marketing activities. This has increased to 39% this year, with the percentage of companies practising any type of marketing attribution at all also increasing from 79% to 81%.</p> <p>However, despite this increased usage, there are still questions over whether or not companies are seeing the benefits. The main struggle is the ability to properly interpret data, with 26% of agency respondents saying that their clients typically carry out attribution but they’re not sure how to effectively analyse the results.</p> <p>What’s more, 70% of businesses now agree with the statement ‘we don’t action the insights we get from attribution’ – up from 51% last year.</p> <p>Why is this the case? It mainly appears to be due to the sheer amount of touchpoints and data available, which is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to decipher.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9488/Uptake_of_marketing_attribution.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="621"></p> <h3>Confidence in custom attribution grows</h3> <p>While first-click and last-click remains the most-used attribution methods – cited by 39% and 44% of companies respectively – custom attribution has seen a rise in popularity. </p> <p>Now, 29% of companies use custom attribution, a figure up from 21% in 2016.</p> <p>The reason for this increase in favour is higher levels of sophistication. Unlike first or last-click, which ignore other touchpoints that might influence decision-making, custom attribution draws on one or more established methods, while simultaneously using data points that are most appropriate for a particular business. </p> <p>Unsurprisingly, custom attribution is also deemed to be the most effective method, described as ‘very effective’ by 48% of companies who are currently using it. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9489/Custom_attribution.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="684"></p> <h3>A lack of knowledge remains the biggest obstacle</h3> <p>When asked why they don’t carry out marketing attribution or have delayed its use, the majority of companies cited a lack of knowledge as the reason. This has remained the biggest obstacle to implementation, only slightly increasing from 58% in 2016 to 59% in 2017.</p> <p>Second to this issue is technology limitations, with 53% of companies citing this compared to 41% last year. There has also been a rise in respondents citing too much disparate data as a barrier, perhaps indicating that companies are becoming more educated in the topic as a whole (and therefore more appreciative of how data and tech issues might impede their ability to proceed).</p> <p>Out of the companies already implementing marketing attribution, 35% of respondents cite defining the online customer journey as the biggest barrier to effective usage. Again, considering the increasing number of potential touchpoints in the typical customer journey, and difficulty in tracking each one - this is perhaps unsurprising. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9490/Lack_of_knowledge.JPG" alt="" width="778" height="607"></p> <h3>Optimising media mix is main goal for 2017</h3> <p>In 2016, the biggest attribution goal for marketers was to build an understanding of the customer journey. </p> <p>Fast forward a year and this has now been overtaken by media mix optimisation, with 60% of respondents citing this as a ‘high priority’ for 2017. Third on the list for this year is to justify digital spend, but much like before, there is not much difference in the extent to which companies are prioritising these top three attribution goals. </p> <p>Finally, other goals such as budget optimisation and determining correct affiliate payments have slipped even lower on the list. However this does not necessarily suggest that they are less important, but perhaps that they have become standard and everyday practices rather than top priorities. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9491/Optimising_media_mix.JPG" alt="" width="777" height="600"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download the full State of Marketing 2017 report <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-state-of-marketing-attribution/" target="_blank">in full here</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4579 2017-10-04T13:10:00+01:00 2017-10-04T13:10:00+01:00 The State of Marketing Attribution 2017 <p>Econsultancy's second <strong>State of Marketing Attribution</strong> report, produced in association with <a href="https://www.adroll.com/en-GB/">AdRoll</a>, seeks to establish current adoption levels, confidence in usage and the effectiveness of different attribution methods used by companies.</p> <p>It also focuses on the skills required for success and the barriers to effective use of modelling.</p> <p>The report is based on an online survey of almost <strong>1,000 practitioners from Europe, North America and Asia Pacific</strong>.</p> <p>With comparisons between North America, Europe, Japan and Australia throughout the report, the study builds on last year’s research which was predominantly focused on the European perspective.</p> <h2>Key findings</h2> <ul> <li> <strong>Current usage and confidence in attribution.</strong> There has been an uptick in usage of marketing attribution since last year, reflecting increased recognition about the role this discipline can play in helping companies to achieve their business goals. Despite this increased usage, there is still a lack of confidence in the marketplace surrounding the use of marketing attribution and related technology.</li> <li> <strong>Types of attribution.</strong> Many companies are still using simplistic attribution models which are limiting their ability to make the best possible decisions for their businesses.</li> <li> <strong>Technology used for attribution.</strong> Organisations have become less confident in the ability of their technology to support their attribution-related requirements, despite the increased availability of software in the marketplace.</li> <li> <strong>Attribution challenges.</strong> Companies are more likely to blame technology limitations and disparate data this year, and less likely to blame a lack of time.</li> <li> <strong>Impact of attribution. </strong>Optimisation of the media mix is the number one attribution goal for 2017, overtaking understanding of the customer journey which was the key objective in 2016.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69368 2017-08-25T13:35:02+01:00 2017-08-25T13:35:02+01:00 Is WPP the canary in the coal mine for the global ad business? Patricio Robles <p>WPP CEO Martin Sorrell blamed his firm's woes on a "trifecta" of factors:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Digital disruption.</strong> While Sorrell says that the "duopoly" of Google and Facebook isn't hurting WPP, the ways in which consumers are engaging with brands through digital channels are changing rapidly. A WPP investor document noted "content competition from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent." There's also Amazon. As CNBC's Patti Domm <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/23/amazons-next-victim-worlds-biggest-ad-agency-lowers-sales-outlook.html">observed</a>, "Price wars and changing consumer tastes have turned some of the once mainstay brands into virtual commodities, with less supermarket shelf space and now less marketing clout."</li> <li> <strong>Zero-based budgeting.</strong> More and more companies are engaging in this practice, which essentially requires that every expense be justified. This generally encourages companies to lower costs, resulting in lower budgets for ads and agencies.</li> <li> <strong>Activist investors.</strong> The trend towards zero-based budgeting is in many cases being pushed by investors who want the companies they invest in to increase profits. To maximize their returns, some of these investors have pushed share buybacks and dividends over innovation and core business investments, which can obviously have an impact on ad budgets.</li> </ul> <p>By far, WPP has been most hurt by its CPG clients.</p> <p>As AdAge's Laurel Wentz <a href="http://adage.com/article/agency-news/packaged-good-giants-culprits-wpp-s-growth-downgrade/310212/">pointed out</a>, WPP's two largest clients, Procter &amp; Gamble and Unilever, are on a mission to cut their agency costs by half a billion dollars over the next five years.</p> <p>Unilever <a href="http://adage.com/article/agency-news/wpp-tumbles-unilever-announces-slashes-ad-costs/308589/">announced</a> earlier this year that it was cutting its ad output by 30% and Procter &amp; Gamble made headlines recently when it revealed that <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69309-how-much-waste-is-in-the-digital-ad-market">it reduced spending on digital ads by more than $100m last quarter without impact on its growth rate</a>. According to P&amp;G CFO Jon Moeller, the reduced spend "reflected...a choice to cut spending from a digital standpoint where it was ineffective, where either we were serving bots as opposed to human beings or where the placement of ads was not facilitating the equity of our brands."</p> <h3>So is WPP sounding a warning to agencies or the entire ad industry?</h3> <p>Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, told AdAge that "the thematic elements WPP is talking about are already of concern to every holding company." In other words, this isn't just about what's happening at WPP and its clients specifically.</p> <p>As Ian Leadbetter, co-founder Ruler Analytics, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69357-what-s-next-for-the-agency-model/">detailed earlier this week</a>, talk of the death of agencies is on the rise. But is the agency really on its death bed?</p> <p>As Leadbetter sees it, "there remains a need for experts—trusted sources to provide advice, guidance, assistance, and reassurance," but the agency model will have to change. For example, he argues that agencies will have to get smaller and more specialized and focused. He also suggests that agency compensation will be tied to revenue generation.</p> <p>Others have <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/media-agencies-tweaking-pricing-models-win-big-clients/">made similar suggestions</a>.</p> <p>But it would be a mistake to assume that what ails WPP is exclusive to the agency world. Beyond the desire to cut agency costs and the cyclical ups and downs of ad spend, 2017 has seen important developments in the way advertisers are making decisions, particularly around their digital ad spend.</p> <p>As the digital ad market has matured, advertisers have become more savvy and now that they're intently focused on topics like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69245-native-ads-gain-as-advertisers-seek-brand-safety-away-from-programmatic">brand safety</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69276-following-youtube-s-brand-safety-backlash-will-ad-relevance-take-center-stage">relevance</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67246-advertisers-willing-to-shift-spend-over-viewability-report">viewability</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-of-marketing-attribution">attribution</a>, players in the global ad business would be wise to expect that agencies won't be the only ones vulnerable to advertiser pushes for accountability and efficiency.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69164 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 Should sales be used to measure the ROI of influencer marketing? James Collins <p>According to research from Linqia, marketers are predicted to spend $50,000 - $100,000 per influencer marketing programme this year (doubled from 2016’s $25,000 - $50,000). If you’re spending big budgets, you need to know why you’re considering influencer marketing as part of your marketing mix, and how you’re going to measure it.</p> <p>This is something many marketers have been aware of for a long time: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">a recent Econsultancy report</a> revealed that measuring ROI on their influencer initiatives is the biggest challenge for 65% of marketers.</p> <p>So what’s stopping marketers understanding the value their influencer marketing activity is driving? There’s already a wealth of research out there on this fiercely debated topic – and there’s one question that comes up time and again: should influencers be judged on sales?</p> <p>The short answer is yes – if that’s what your objective is. To clarify:</p> <ol> <li>It depends on what you want to get out of your campaign. Marketing basics: start with your objectives and determine how you’re going to measure performance from there.</li> <li>As consumers are often exposed to brands and products through influencer marketing at the earlier stages of the buying cycle, measuring the impact on sales across the whole user journey – not just at the last click – is essential.</li> </ol> <h3>What do you want to achieve with your influencer marketing?</h3> <p>Understanding what you want your influencer marketing to achieve will not only shape the tactics used but also how it will be measured. </p> <h3>Raising awareness and reaching new customers</h3> <p>Many influencer campaigns are about awareness and brand positioning. Here, working with brand-relevant influencers that offer the potential of long-term partnerships and ambassadorship is key. Awareness has always been tricky to measure but things are getting more sophisticated. Tools now exist to help brands measure KPIs such as sentiment and share of voice, taking the understanding of performance beyond simple ‘reach’. </p> <p>Logically, brands want to raise awareness among their target audiences – those people who are likely to go on to become customers. One way to measure this is to look at how much new customer web traffic is driven by your influencer campaigns. Rakuten Marketing data shows that 84% of the revenue driven by content publishers (including influencer bloggers) is from new customers, indicating that they are effective at reaching new audiences.</p> <p>This data can then be used to generate positive KPIs, such as cost per new user. These stats can help build a stronger case for influencer activity as an effective means for new customer lead generation. </p> <h3>Engagement</h3> <p>Web traffic in general – whether that’s from new or existing customers – is still a common indicator of success for influencer marketing, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers report </a>showing that 79% choose it as their most important metric. </p> <p>But how much can just looking at amounts of web traffic really tell you? Not a lot. It’s the action that consumers take once they visit your site that’s truly important. How long do they spend on your website? How many different pages do they visit? Are they visiting high value areas of your site, or did they just bounce and disappear? Measuring the onsite activity of those people referred by influencers gives more meaningful engagement metrics.</p> <p>Measuring engagement is about measuring the impact of your influencer marketing beyond sales and comparing it to other types of marketing. This type of measurement is particularly pertinent for retailers that don’t rely on ecommerce – for example, household brands stocked by supermarkets.</p> <h3>Sales and conversions</h3> <p>All that said, let’s not forget the importance of sales and revenue. Trying to get budget for campaigns that may not have a provable ROI is a huge pain point for marketers. According to another Econsultancy report – <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence">The New Face of Luxury</a> – the biggest challenge to implementing influencer marketing for luxury brands (a key sector taking advantage of influencer marketing) is budget.</p> <p>When budgets become constrained, the activity that can’t be linked to revenue generation is commonly the first to be cut. But, as we’ve discussed, influencer marketing is often about raising awareness through aspirational content, with a view to generating purchases further down the line, rather than pushing immediate sales. </p> <p>Rakuten Marketing data backs up this hypothesis: it shows that content publishers, including influencers, start more converting customer journeys than any other affiliate publisher type. As well as this, of all the revenue driven by content publishers, 54% sits in the first position in the user journey.</p> <p>The visualisation below, based on aggregated data from Rakuten Marketing affiliate clients, shows that social networking and content publishers (two key channels for influencer marketers) commonly appear at the beginning of the user journey.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6666/affiliate-category-sales-funnel-small.jpg" alt="Affiliate category sales funnel" width="800" height="411"></p> <p>This demonstrates that if you are going to measure influencer marketing using revenue, analysing and reporting on data across the whole user journey, rather than just at the last click, is essential. </p> <h3>Understanding the multi-channel view and seeing incremental value</h3> <p>The need for better attribution to measure influencer marketing was cited as the most common request in eMarketer’s recent Measuring Influencer Marketing guide. This demand is only going to increase in line with the demand for better measurement of the ROI of influencer marketing.</p> <p>Using attribution and analytical tools that provide a multi-channel view across the whole user journey is essential to demonstrating the impact influencers have on sales. Having this view enables performance marketers to understand the value of influencers in the context of their other marketing channels, wherever they appear in the user journey.</p> <p>Even if the objective of your influencer campaigns is to increase brand awareness or engagement, being able to tie those newly engaged visitors back to sales further down the line will help give you the power you need to secure your influencer budget.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69115 2017-05-26T15:09:25+01:00 2017-05-26T15:09:25+01:00 What marketers need to know about Google Attribution Patricio Robles <p>Here's what marketers need to know about it.</p> <h3>It aims to answer the question, "Is my marketing working?"</h3> <p>Marketers can slice and dice their campaign results in any number of ways but at the end of the day, marketers ask themselves a simple question: "Is my marketing working?"</p> <p>Google says that Google Attribution is designed to answer that specific question and boldly claims that "for the first time, [it will be] possible for every marketer to measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels."</p> <h3>Google says it solves a number of major attribution challenges</h3> <p>Marketers love the concept of attribution, but making it work in the real world <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68313-marketing-attribution-how-many-are-actually-doing-it/">has proven difficult</a>. Google says that Google Attribution will address a number of the biggest attribution challenges, including difficulty of use,<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68369-five-ways-to-improve-your-cross-device-marketing/"> cross-device tracking</a> and ad tool integration.</p> <h3>It is integrated with other Google offerings</h3> <p>In terms of integration, it's no surprise that Google has integrated Google Attribution with its ads and analytics products.</p> <p>According to Google, Attribution "takes in data across AdWords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick Search without any additional tagging," and "results are immediately available for reporting, updating bids or moving budget between channels."</p> <h3>It uses machine learning to enable data-driven attribution</h3> <p>As one of the world's most innovate tech companies, Google has invested significantly in machine learning and Google Attribution uses some of the company's machine learning tech to enable data-driven attribution. What is that? The company explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>Data-driven attribution uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each step in the consumer journey -- from the first time they engage with your brand for early research down to the final click before purchase. It analyzes your account's unique conversion patterns, comparing the paths of customers who convert to those who don’t, so you get results that accurately represent your business.</p> </blockquote> <p>For marketers still relying on last-click attribution, the data-driven attribution model could provide a beneficial new perspective that helps them allocate marketing spend more wisely.</p> <h3>Google is making a big push to track offline store sales</h3> <p>Google Attribution will give marketers access to store sales measurement at the device and campaign levels. Marketers whose companies collect email information at the point-of-sale can import store sales data into Google AdWords, but Google isn't stopping there.</p> <p>To track offline sales more broadly, Google has established relationships with firms that it says give it access to data for 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States. Google will use this data to aggregate and anonymize store sales and provide it to marketers even if they don't report sales data to Google.</p> <h3>There are privacy concerns</h3> <p>Not surprising, the fact that Google has partnered with firms giving it access to data for billions of credit card transaction has caused numerous observers to speak out about the privacy implications of Google Attribution.</p> <p>To counter privacy concerns, Google says its partnerships give it access to spending data only, not transaction details like products purchased, and the search giant revealed that it developed a "new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure, and anonymous."</p> <p>Whether that is enough to allay fears that Google is collecting too much data remains to be seen.</p> <h3>It is free</h3> <p>Last year, Google unveiled Google Attribution 360, a paid attribution solution, that targets large marketers. The newly announced Google Attribution platform, on the other hand, will be free, making it an attractive option for marketers at small and mid-sized businesses already using Google's ad services.</p> <h3>Some marketers are skeptical</h3> <p>On paper, there's a lot to like about Google Attribution, but some marketers are already expressing skepticism about the offering. </p> <p>As Jason Beckerman, the CEO of Unified, which operates a business intelligence platform, <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/no-real-separation-church-state-marketers-skeptical-googles-new-attribution-tool/">told</a> Digiday, "there’s no real separation of church and state." He elaborated:</p> <blockquote> <p>If [Google's] competitors end up having higher return on ad spend, it could put Google in a tough spot. Google wants to become one-stop shop for marketers and own their marketing. It has got too much skin in the game.</p> </blockquote> <p>While such concerns are not without merit, given that a significant percentage of every new dollar directed to digital ad spend is going to Google, it would appear that many marketers have already decided to make themselves dependent on Google. For these marketers, adopting tools like Google Attribution might not require such a huge leap of faith, especially if they see it as an improvement over their existing attribution efforts.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68983 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 You're (still) not tracking CPA properly and here’s why Depesh Mandalia <p>Every business for decades has struggled with two common things: which channels to focus marketing spend on and how much return every dollar spent returns. This isn’t as simple a question as it may initially look.</p> <p>Marketing channels have evolved hugely since television, radio and print ads were key ways to reach a mainstream audience. Despite the advancement in tracking technology and ad platforms, the question of how best to utilise each marketing dollar remains a challenge, even for the most advanced marketing operations and platforms (despite what they tell you) and here’s why.</p> <h4>Scenario 1 - a customer sees an ad in a single channel and purchases there and then</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> ensuring there is tracking in place, which for digital is usually in the form of digital analytics and for offline is primarily in the form of promotion code.</p> <p>How often does this scenario occur? There will be a good percentage of your acquisitions that only ever see your one ad on one platform or through a single medium and decide to buy all within the same ‘session’. For clarity we define a session here as a stream of events all happening one after the other.</p> <p>For simplicity I'm focussing on a visit to a website as the journey to complete a transaction (as opposed to a shop visit or app download via an app store). So:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer clicks/responds to ad</li> <li>Customer visits website and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item</li> </ol> <p>In this scenario, the customer does this without a break to browse other sites or coming back later. For a business with limited brand and product awareness, it is less likely that someone will see an ad for the first time, click <em>and</em> buy in one go.</p> <p>Of course, we marketers would love to think our ads are spot on <em>and</em> the target audience have been reached in one hit <em>and</em> that audience is in the mindset to buy <em>and</em> they visit your website <em>and</em> buy without even thinking about other important things in their day like what's for dinner or the latest cat gif on Facebook.</p> <p>There are also factors around trust which affect consumer behaviour - trusting how legit the company and website is, whether the product quality can be trusted, whether the product price is going to be the best you can get etc.</p> <p>What kind of company has enough <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66013-brand-activation-and-its-role-in-driving-consumer-engagement-and-awareness/">brand awareness</a> and product range association that seeing a single ad will prompt you to both trust the business and purchase in one go? Amazon comes to mind as a company that can do this, as may other well established businesses, where the consumer is fully trusting of the brand and broadly aware of the product range. But how quickly do you need to increase sales? And how long have Amazon taken to establish themselves?</p> <p>Trusting that a company like Amazon aren't going to defraud you, are going to deliver your product, and are going to deliver a known quality - these are questions which for most people are answered on the Amazon site or through strong brand association. You, the smaller brand, simply can't match that.</p> <p>Chances are that if your data suggests that a given transaction occurred from the first ad the customer saw in the same session, there's something else at play. Let's look at scenario 2.</p> <h4>Scenario 2 - a customer sees an ad, doesn’t interact, but comes back later to buy from you via the website directly <em>or</em> via another marketing channel.</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> tracking the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-of-marketing-attribution/">attribution</a> of the source channel due to the lack of connection to the final conversion channel. </p> <p>This is a very common (if not the most common) scenario and essentially how brand-led campaigns make their mark by creating an uplift on trackable channels. In this scenario a customer will see an ad, for example on TV, outdoor display, a leaflet, print ad or even digitally such as Facebook or Youtube as follows:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer doesn’t interact with ad</li> <li>Customer visits website directly at a later time/date and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item. Ka-ching! </li> </ol> <p>If you’ve ever run or been involved in a brand campaign you’ll know what a struggle it can be to truly measure the impact of the campaign on bottom line numbers. As a performance marketer you’ll know how fluffy ‘brand awareness’ can seem as a metric.</p> <p>To fully measure brand impact requires many more tools such as a brand impact test which measures trackable channel performance with and without the brand campaign, baselining your organic/non-paid channels to measure uplift and things like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">paid search</a> brand keyword uplift in particular.</p> <p>That being said, not every 'brand campaign' is big budget, massive exposure stuff. Every supermarket carrier bag shows branding at play. Every time you read a newspaper with the logo facing outward branding is at play. Branding plays a big part in our everyday interactions with companies, whether we notice it or not. And as a marketer, the impact of brand awareness is often neglected when calculating the ROI of your dollar spend.</p> <p>If you’ve scaled a business, you’ll know the importance brand plays in creating the foundation for sustainable growth. Sustainable growth is that which doesn’t rely on any single marketing channel (eg Facebook ads) and has a good blend of non-paid acquisition acquisition channels.</p> <p>Scaling a business solely focussed on the hard metrics of spend, sales and CPA will hide the subliminal impact your marketing is having, like how <a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html">Pavlov had his dogs salivating</a> at the sound of a bell, or how those that have dined there, have an instinctive, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201108/7-reasons-we-cant-turn-down-fast-food">uncontrollable reaction to seeing the Golden Arches</a> through the release of dopamine.</p> <p>Find me a direct response ad that can release dopamine better than a well placed brand campaign. Are you tracking the DU (Dopamine Uplift) of your marketing campaigns? Surely this will trim your CPA by a percentage or two, yet we're often having to make budgeting decisions based on the reaction of the rational brain when neuroscience studies confirm the unconscious, deep thinking part of your brain as being a key driver to decision making, including what and where we buy.</p> <p>The brand funnel is about creating awareness in defining your <a href="https://www.startwithwhy.com/LearnYourWhy.aspx">‘who’ and ‘why’</a> - who you are and who you are relevant is what creates meaning and connection to your target audience. Too often, businesses focus on what they do, completely bypassing the customer need. This is a typical sales-led approach to growth and not a customer-centric view.</p> <p>It is the channel CPA-centric view that drives marketers and businesses to focus heavily on what they do and this isn't what your target audience will primarily care about. Give them a reason to not just be interested, or to like you, but to love you as a brand and watch those CPAs fall. </p> <h4>Branding 101</h4> <p>Below is a good illustration of the brand journey and impact on your acquisition funnel - moving from a wide audience, some of which are not your target consumer, and funneling those that are toward your business.</p> <p>As a business, if your audience is everyone, then whilst your product may well cater for every single person you can market to, until you create relevance for that person you’ll struggle to help them determine how your product improves or complements their life. This is the role of brand marketing, to sift out non-consumers and attract potential consumers from a wide funnel of prospects.</p> <p>The ‘indifference’ stage noted in the diagram refers to the fact these people have no positive or negative opinion on the business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5367/1.jpg" alt="brand funnel" width="400" height="295"> </p> <p><em>Via <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/demystifying-brand-funnel-sean-kelley">Sean Kelly on LinkedIn</a></em> </p> <p>The relevance of this user journey scenario is this: whilst you may measure and try to improve acquisitions that come through to the website or through brand searches, do you really know what the first interaction for that customer was? If not, then deciding where to place that next dollar is not going to be entirely fact or numeric based.</p> <p>As a Chief Marketing Officer your growth decisions need to rely on a variety of datasets to analyse impact, performance and future actions.  </p> <h4>Using multi-data points for indirect attribution analysis</h4> <p>An important and often used piece of attribution analysis is a question asked to customers after the point of purchase: "how did you hear about your us?".</p> <p>Don't underestimate the importance of this simple question. Although we have the ability online to track the channel from which a visitor landed on a website (eg search engine, facebook, youtube, affiliate etc through web analytics), this question gives us a valuable first-touch data-source for channels which we can’t track so well such as TV and print media.</p> <p>In the case of ecommerce companies, many rely on promotion codes in order to track the marketing source but in this scenario, where a customer has seen an ad in one source and purchased via another source, you’ve lost the originator marketing channel.</p> <p>For example if you distribute leaflets and a customer sees one, then goes online and purchases through an affiliate code, you have no concept of the performance of the leaflet and may make the incorrect decision to stop distribution of inserts due to low uptake. </p> <p>At toucanBox we use a post-transaction survey to ask customers how they heard about us at the point at which we are front of mind. The reason to have this in the checkout confirmation page and not in the confirmation email or later is because it would otherwise only serve to dilute the quality of response.</p> <p>The positive impact brand awareness has is best demonstrated when we look at TV advertising performance. We have a certain CPA target we are aiming for and use a promotion code on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMy9bFitXBM">the TV ad</a> to help us track customers coming directly via the TV ad. However, if we follow scenario 1 above and assume all customers that see the TV ad, will come <em>directly</em> to the website, our CPA looks quite astronomical and unprofitable. Decision? Let’s trash TV it clearly doesn’t work! Ah but if you add additional data points, it tells a very different story. </p> <p>If we look at just one of our many paid search keywords related to brand searches (see below), we see that there was a rise and fall of searches on that particular keyword when we ran TV advertising in February, denoted by the rise, peak and fall which correlates with TV spot timings. This gives as an additional attribution back to TV because the increase in paid search hits for this one keyword can be directly matched back.</p> <p>We analysed all brand keywords that we could track, alongside those people directly visiting the website and those coming through non-paid search and found similar patterns. The uplift in visits also correlates with an uplift in transactions confirming both volume and quality of TV impact for this keyword.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5374/2.png" alt="keyword uplift from tv" width="800">  </p> <p>Now if you tally up the additional sales TV brought in as the originator channel into the trackable channels (brand paid search, organic search and direct visits) the combined CPA comes in within target. The correct decision therefore based on this data is to continue with TV advertising. I may not know the complete, numerical positive impact TV has across all channels but I can be convinced with this data that it is worthwhile. </p> <p>Another data point we used was the post-transaction survey mentioned earlier. In response to ‘how did you hear about us’ we gave some relevant options such as TV, print, search etc. When analysing the data for the same period, the majority selected ‘TV’, which was of course great news but unsurprising.</p> <p>However where this was even more interesting was matching this back into Google Analytics as an event and analysing those that said they heard of toucanBox via TV and the final channel they converted on. Through this we also found TV impacted sign ups that came via Facebook ads, online partnerships and affiliates.</p> <p>Essentially we added a layer that analytics tools cannot yet add - where did they remember seeing or hearing about the brand first? This is important because we're looking for the trigger ad that prompted them to move from the indifferent stage to the like stage for the brand.</p> <p>TV for toucanBox had played an even bigger part in uplifting the entire marketing mix. Without the additional data points, a singular view of CPA and attribution would have led us to making the wrong decision and hindered growth. </p> <h4>No surprise, CPA tracking is still an issue </h4> <p>Despite this level of insight and understanding, can we answer how best to place every single marketing dollar?</p> <p>No we can’t, because the true CPA of every channel, considering what percentage of the customer journey each channel contributed, is a thing of data science beyond the scope of this article. You can search for and sift through <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=multi+channel+attribution">tens of thousands of articles</a> written on this subject in the last 5-10 years yet we’re still not able to 100% define a true CPA.</p> <p>The challenge is that typical tracking of budget and transactions, from channel to channel, device to device, across web analytics and crucially your customer database rarely match up. This occurs because of how each tracking system sees the view of a single transaction.</p> <p>If a customer visits the site from a Facebook ad, based on the attribution window you are looking at Facebook will record it as a transaction via Facebook, regardless of whether that person converts subsequently via another channel or not. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics register the last channel the customer came through and although GA offers a way of <a href="https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/multi-channel-attribution-modeling-good-bad-ugly-models/">viewing multi-channel attribution</a>, at best some marketers and analysts are still inexperienced with how to use it for budget decision making and at worst are not even aware it exists.</p> <p>GA will also often under report against what your customer database shows due to cookie/tracking issues and so as a marketer it is a constant struggle to optimise channels, marketing-mix and internal KPI reporting. The screengrab below is a typical view of what our customer journey might look like from first click to last. Quite the journey. And if last click was all we went on, we might ditch email or organic search from our marketing mix.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5375/3.png" alt="attribution" width="800"></p> <p>Whilst at toucanBox we are highly data-driven in our marketing analysis and decision making, we’re also in fast-growth stage and so require a balance between data accuracy and growth agility which often increase inversely. Making decisions on hard, measurable data points isn't enough to make a fully qualified decision to assigning the true CPA for a given campaign or a channel.</p> <h4>So after all of that, how exactly do you evaluate the return on your dollar spend? </h4> <p>The simple answer is through complex data modelling, tracking and attribution. Well no, actually the simpler answer is you don’t.</p> <p>Instead marketers will often take stock of a blended view of marketing in order to determine the success of a campaign. If tracking and accounting the return from every dollar is your priority (and there's no reason it shouldn't be) then you will need to have the time and resource available to create a system which at best, will get you close to answering this.</p> <p>However if you’re a fast-growth company looking to make the the next best decision to that, on how your marketing performance stacks up, then a combination of in-channel optimisation to get the best from your macro metrics such as cost per click (CPC) and clickthrough rate (CTR) on top of a blended view of marketing performance might just get your growth machine whirring that much faster.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68665 2017-01-04T01:00:00+00:00 2017-01-04T01:00:00+00:00 Three keys to digital advertising success in 2017 Jeff Rajeck <p>Some the changes which have been covered extensively include: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Platforms</strong> - some which have risen (hello Snapchat) and others, fallen (Meerkat, RIP).</li> <li> <strong>Header bidding</strong> - which has become a significant challenger to traditional ad exchanges.</li> <li> <strong>Advertising on messaging apps</strong> - which is tipped to bring big changes to the ad market.</li> </ul> <p> At Digital Cream Singapore, we spoke with dozens of client-side marketers about these changes and how they affect their agenda for the coming year. </p> <p>Surprisingly, though, <strong>most brand marketers were less concerned about the latest technology or platforms and </strong><strong>more worried about how they will use digital advertising to deliver value to the business. </strong></p> <p>To make that happen, participants on the day identified three things which they consider as priorities if they are to bring success in the coming year.</p> <h3>1) A single view of the customer</h3> <p>Attendees felt that most organisations have plenty of customer data. Nearly everyone has a CRM with customer attributes, most use web analytics to capture on-site user behaviour, and now a significant number have implemented a data management platform to understand what their customers do on other sites.</p> <p>The problem for marketers, though, is that customer data is spread across several systems. As a result, it is difficult to join up the data and obtain a single view of the customer which links their attributes, interests, and behaviour.</p> <p>Participants felt that fragmented customer data is particularly problematic for digital advertising. As digital ad platforms need data for segmenting, targeting, and positioning, marketers without a single view of the customer are not able to exploit opportunities and deliver the best value to the business.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2647/3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></strong></p> <p>One technology which helps marketers obtain a single customer view is a <strong>'customer data platform' (CDP)</strong>.</p> <p>A CDP is a system which:</p> <ul> <li>Combines data from multiple sources.</li> <li>Lets marketers build customer profiles.</li> <li>Delivers messaging across multiple platforms.</li> <li>Uses decision-making algorithms to optimize performance.</li> </ul> <p>While CDPs sound promising, they are relatively new and so marketers will need to conduct more research before they are widely-deployed.</p> <p>More information about CDPs is available <a href="http://customerexperiencematrix.blogspot.sg/2015/01/customer-data-platforms-revisited.htm">here</a> and a list of vendors is available via the <a href="http://www.cdpinstitute.org/">CDP Institute</a>.</p> <h3>2) A cross-market ad buying strategy</h3> <p>Another issue client-side marketers hope to solve in 2017 is how to buy ads programmatically across different markets.</p> <p><strong>The problem marketers face is that different countries usually have different ad platforms</strong>. Marketing managers struggle with becoming familiar with each of them in order to train the regional teams.</p> <p><strong>Some participants avoid this issue by relying solely on the 'ad duopoly', Google and Facebook</strong>, to cover multiple markets. Others, however, find this approach limiting and feel compelled to use additional programmatic platforms to reach more consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2648/5.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <p>Another issue raised was that <strong>Asia-Pacific does not have many third-party measurement services</strong> which help them avoid bot fraud, fraudulent inventory, and unviewable ads. This was particularly a problem for advertisers who operate in China.</p> <p>Delegates offered few ideas into what managers can do about this besides upgrading ad-buying technology and ensuring that regional marketers keep a closer eye on local ad networks.</p> <p>According to a 2016 <a href="https://www.exchangewire.com/bidswitch-report/">BidSwitch survey of buy-side technology firms in Asia-Pacific</a>, the problem isn't going away soon - and indeed may get worse. Nearly half (45%) of respondents indicated that <strong>there will be more programmatic technology companies in APAC over the next three years.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2646/graph.png" alt="" width="800" height="517"></p> <h3>3) An attribution model</h3> <p>Finally, the most frequently-discussed item on the digital advertiser 'wish list' for 2017 was marketing attribution.</p> <p>Having an agreed method for attributing marketing success to different channels has eluded most marketing teams, participants noted. The issues they face include: </p> <ul> <li>Obtaining the view and click data from all of the channels.</li> <li>Calculating the value of each touchpoint.</li> <li>Using the model to dictate media spend.</li> <li>Understanding of the customer journey.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2649/4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <p>One delegate said that<strong> their marketing team overcame some of these issues by implementing a 'fluid' attribution model</strong>. Their approach was to have all stakeholders meet regularly, review ad performance data and, based on hard data, adjust the attribution model appropriately.</p> <p>While not perfect,<strong> introducing flexibility into the model reduced the stakes for all parties as nothing was 'fixed in concrete'</strong>. This, in turn reduced the politics around adopting a model and led to quicker acceptance.</p> <p>Still, many attendees felt that they did not yet know enough to develop an attribution model and so 2017 was going to be another year of learning.</p> <h3>A word of thanks </h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day and the moderator for the Online Advertising table, <strong>Stephanie Myers, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at HSBC.</strong></p> <p>We hope to see you all at future Singapore Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2650/end.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68635 2016-12-13T15:09:00+00:00 2016-12-13T15:09:00+00:00 The secrets of elite analytics practices: Report Arliss Coates <p>Today we're expanding on those insights with commentary from top marketers on the power of measurement.</p> <p>In this, the first of two long reads, we explore how analytics is revealing opportunities in a complex customer journey and what tactics are winning out.</p> <p>We'll also be exploring its limitations and hearing how these senior marketers plan to overcome this challenge.</p> <h3><strong>Building brand responsiveness into the customer journey</strong></h3> <p>Channels and platforms are multiplying and marketers are struggling to describe that journey, much less follow it. The terms customer journey and purchase funnel imply a linear progression, the reality is that it's anything but.</p> <p>In an effort to reflect today's "always on, everything everywhere" customer behavior, various alternatives have been proposed including a customer journey circle, a loop and even a fish.</p> <p>What is clear from our research is that the majority of marketers believe understanding this customer journey is a work in progress. Less than a third of respondents to the IBM/Econsultancy August 2016 survey stated that they had a thorough, up-to-date view of the customer journey.</p> <p>Having plunged headlong into the digital universe, marketers are finding that channels clamor for acknowledgement but their teams and tools aren't up to the attribution task. It can often feel like the customer is moving too fast for them.</p> <p>Thoryn Stephens, head of data at American Apparel states: "I'm a strong advocate of multi-touch attribution, but it's really hard for businesses to go from a first and last touch culture to MTA. It doesn't happen over night."</p> <p>And therein lies the problem. Stephens adds: "As <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67203-data-analysts-vs-data-scientists-what-s-the-difference/">a data scientist</a> and technologist, I'm of the firm belief you cannot manage what you can't measure."</p> <p>Jim Sprigg, Head of CRM at IHG hotels, is one of the lucky ones: "Because we know who the customer is on every channel, we're really focused on understanding the impact of messages and content.</p> <p>"We've figured out a way to test across all channels and most companies haven't figured that out."</p> <h3><strong>Approaching the journey analysis task</strong></h3> <p>So it's clear that until brands have an understanding of how their customers behave across the various touch points, it's going to be difficult for them to serve them effectively.</p> <p>It sounds like marketers have a gargantuan task ahead of them. The question now should be "where to begin?"</p> <p>In this case, our research revealed what components of customer journey analysis top performing companies excelled at. It was salutary that the lower performing companies naturally engaged with these components far less.</p> <p>The top two were understanding the source of the customer - marketing channel or referral, etc. - and discovering their preferences of product, contact method, content and so on.</p> <p>For companies struggling to embed customer journey analysis, it's a question of gathering in information wherever it is to be found but prioritizing its use to manage the scale of the task.</p> <p>IHG's Sprigg outlines his process: "We have to be deliberate about it and take whatever information is available. We use cunsumer insights from primary research, the types, needs and perceptions of customers.</p> <p>"Then we can bring in performance analysis and make inferences from that."</p> <h3><strong>Prioritizing investment in the top of the funnel</strong></h3> <p>One of the problems is that understanding customer preferences and catering to them may be an essential part of starting that brand relationship with them, but it is far removed from the point of conversion.</p> <p>Marketers are struggling to link understanding the customer journey directly to ROI which, in view of revenue-focused business goals, de-prioritizes it.</p> <p>"Most of the conversations around return on investment are in the digital channel and justifying expenditure [diverting from TV]," explains Rex Jackson, VP of marketing and sales at Legoland Florida Resort.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2396/legoland_florida.png" alt="" width="836" height="401"></p> <p>"We have awareness tactics and conversion strategies. The latter is closely related to ROI but the former is more difficult to tie in as it's further up the funnel."</p> <p>Jackson's answer to this challenge is to break their KPIs up into awareness and conversion and having different ROI measures attached to each, based on where the customer is in their purchase journey.</p> <p>Marketers need to be more intelligent about understanding the contribution customer journey analysis makes to the end goal.</p> <p>Our research revealed that brands we would consider "elites" in the analytics space said that understanding where and when problems arise were the two most powerful results of their analytics capability.</p> <p>This was far above (63% vs. 27%) the much vaunted 'understanding customer behavior'.</p> <p>Interestingly, the situation was reversed when it came to laggard companies who valued customer behavior and gleaning customer knowledge far above understanding where problems arose (40%/47% vs. 7%). </p> <p>"I always start with the challenge - where can you drive value and from there, align the solution," Stephens summarizes.</p> <h3><strong>Bring information and strategic need together</strong></h3> <p>"Funnel analysis and where it breaks down is extremely important, however even more important is talking to your customer and understanding their needs or what's important to them," says Brian Streich, former CMO at StubHub and now head of growth at Vacatia.</p> <p>For marketers struggling to embed customer journey analytics into the organization, these findings would suggest that an excellent place to start is to begin with understanding where customers are coming from, their preferences and where the pain points in the experience are.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2394/vacatia.png" alt="" width="800" height="404"></p> <p>We have already stated in the report that friction is the most important force in the physics of online commerce, but perhaps even more important for brands is to take the time not just to fix but explore where the friction is happening.</p> <p>To borrow from former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Some of your most damaging friction points may still be invisible.</p> <p>"At Vacatia, one of our most popular features is FlexPay. We offer guests two ways to pay over time. When we asked our guest care team for feedback on what it was they thought got guests over the hump to book, they all said FlexPay."</p> <p>"But when we looked at our experience, we didn't really talk about it anywhere. Often guests only found out about it because they called us to ask about something else. This insight led us to make that feature more prominent through the site. Immediately, our conversion and use of FlexPay went up."</p> <p>Sometimes friction is clearly reduced by clearly communicating to customers what it is you already have but don't fully understand the importance of."</p> <h3><strong>Staying in context</strong></h3> <p>The problem with advocating laser focus on the consumer is that while you're busy optimizing experiences at an individual level, changes also have to be relevant at an audience level.</p> <p>IHG's Sprigg conducts optimizations at control group level but these are not isolated events. His analytics and optimization process is a series of test and learn opportunities that are plugged in across the whole specturm from single channel and segment level to a company and audience-wide reach.</p> <p>"We're trying to define the solution we want to build with multiple layers of testing. We will have control groups that define what a customer sees across all channels over time but will also have a control focusing on a single channel.</p> <p>"We score long-term content, we score short-term content. We then come up with a way to combine these scores and map out what the experience will look like once there is a framework in place. It's a multi-layer optimization."</p> <p>For Lego Resort's Jackson, this means taking a layer of insight deep enough to launch a range of campaigns and optimize down to audience preferences, after the fact: "The single biggest change I've seen is that optimization allows me to spend less time tweaking and optimizing creative on the front end, before customer exposure.</p> <p>"Instead, it allows us to place a variety of creatives into the market and then allow optimizations to happen in real time as we discover which resonates more."</p> <p>Sprigg suggests that failing to build insights out to an audience level is down to approaching the task from the wrong direction.</p> <p>The figures bear out his argument. Our research showed that companies with a powerful capability to translate individual issues to an audience level (the top 21% percent of the sample) had average conversion rates 136% higher than those with less sophisticated capabilities.</p> <h3><strong>Managing the customer journey for growth</strong></h3> <p>Customer journey analytics is clearly the bedrock for brands' future growth but it continues to pose challenges for marketers.</p> <p>There may be no shortage of data flowing into the organization but maintaining consistency across channels and tying the information to specific customers is a task many have yet to master. But with contextual personalization and people-based media both dominating the conversation, it's a something brands will have to rise to.</p> <p>In the second of our long reads on embedding customer analytics into the company, we will be looking at some of the organizational and infrastructural changes marketers are having to make to adapt both culturally and technologically to the demands of new data.</p> <p><em>This post was co-written by Morag Cuddeford-Jones.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68633 2016-12-13T11:17:11+00:00 2016-12-13T11:17:11+00:00 How Britain's favourite brands are attracting consumers this Christmas James Collins <p>Our recent research revealed that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68590-10-dazzling-digital-marketing-stats-from-this-week/" target="_blank">Marks &amp; Spencer is the UK’s favourite Christmas shop</a>. Of the 2,000 consumers we surveyed, 28% said they will spend the most on gifts at M&amp;S this month, with Boots, John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser making up the rest of the top five.</p> <p>Attracting Christmas shoppers pays off for these brands, and not just in the short term. Our survey also revealed that 84% of UK shoppers plan to carry on spending in their chosen stores after the Christmas season has ended.</p> <h3>The modern consumer journey</h3> <p>The top five brands are ones which UK shoppers have known and loved for a long time. Although the stores aren’t new, their methods of attracting customers have changed dramatically since the stores were founded.</p> <p>These changes have been driven by the transformation of consumer behaviour. According to research by Webloyalty &amp; Conlumino, the average consumer typically used around two touchpoints during their path to purchase in the year 2000. By 2015, this had increased to around five.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2364/christmas-shoppers-on-smartphone.jpg" alt="Christmas shoppers on smartphone" width="800" height="450"></p> <p>Shoppers are interacting with more touchpoints across more marketing channels and devices than ever before.</p> <p>But which of these is having the biggest impact on consumer choice, and how are Britain’s favourite brands making the most of it?</p> <h3>The famous Christmas TV ad campaign</h3> <p>Despite the big budgets and hype, our research found that only 27% of people make a purchase based on brands’ TV adverts alone.</p> <p>This may seem a small percentage in return for the huge investment in TV ads, but no channel performs in a silo. As multi-device ownership increases – according to the IAB’s 2015 Full Year Digital Adspend Results, there are an average of 8.3 connected devices per home – the ways to reach consumers increase too.</p> <p>For a TV advert to be most effective, it must be part of a multichannel campaign delivering consistent messaging across channels and devices. </p> <p>John Lewis – whose Christmas campaign is often the most talked about – is taking this multichannel approach seriously, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68512-john-lewis-combines-tv-ad-with-snapchat-lens-and-email/">combining both on and offline experiences</a>.</p> <p>Buster the Boxer soft toys and picture books are on sale, and the brand has partnered with Snapchat to produce a custom filter, created bespoke Twitter stickers, and offered an Oculus Rift VR experience in the Oxford Street flagship store. </p> <p>The brand’s creative multichannel approach pays off. Speaking before the release of this year’s campaign, John Lewis’ head of marketing, Rachel Swift, said that the Christmas TV ad campaign is the store’s most profitable return on investment. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sr6lr_VRsEo?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Advice from friends and family</h3> <p>Our survey found that 31% of people listen to advice from friends and family about where to purchase Christmas gifts from.</p> <p>Social media is the modern equivalent of word of mouth. Today’s brands understand the importance of using social media as part of a multichannel campaign.</p> <p>For example, M&amp;S has ‘Mrs Claus’, the star of its TV ad, taking over its Twitter account, has created the hashtag #lovemrsclaus, and has even designed its own Mrs Claus emoji.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">A delightful morning full of giving (and receiving) awaits. Stay tuned... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LoveMrsClaus?src=hash">#LoveMrsClaus</a> <a href="https://t.co/au6wzme7AC">pic.twitter.com/au6wzme7AC</a></p> — M&amp;S (@marksandspencer) <a href="https://twitter.com/marksandspencer/status/806770300905848833">December 8, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>According to Waggener Edstrom, from 4–20 November 2016, M&amp;S clocked up 43,376 mentions across social media, second only to John Lewis (which had a huge 203,199).</p> <p>Again the scale of the social buzz surrounding these big campaigns helps hammer home the importance of creating a campaign that is active across multiple channels.</p> <h3>Browsing a retailer’s own website</h3> <p>Our survey results also showed that 33% of shoppers browse a brand’s own website to help them decide where to buy gifts. So, it’s essential to make sure people can navigate around your site easily.</p> <p>Next’s online Christmas store is a prime example of so many retail websites at this time of year – there’s an obvious Christmas section in the main navigation, ‘gifts for…’ category pages, Secret Santa guides, the list goes on. It’s easy for consumers to find what they’re looking for in whatever way that suits them.</p> <p>But this on-site experience is only beneficial if people are actually visiting your website in the first place. Attracting relevant traffic isn’t just about the short term tactics, like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68573-seven-examples-of-black-friday-email-marketing-from-retailers/">the barrage of Black Friday emails</a> we experienced last month.</p> <p>Campaigns that focus on the long term, like partnerships with relevant blogs and online magazines, can help you attract more of your target customers over a longer period of time. </p> <p>The tricky thing is measuring the impact of campaigns like this. If a customer reads your Christmas gift guide on their favourite fashion blog and then visits your website a few days later, last-click measurement won’t acknowledge the contribution of the content campaign. </p> <p>Brands, including some of those in our top five, are moving towards attributed measurement to help them understand the value of marketing channels that appear earlier in the user journey.</p> <p>House of Fraser, for example, saw an 83% rise in the number of affiliate touchpoints awarded commission when it moved away from the last-click model.</p> <p>This view of the full user journey allowed House of Fraser to recognise the touchpoints that were driving customers to its website on a longer term basis.</p> <h3>Saving money with vouchers and loyalty schemes</h3> <p>Finally, we found that 44% of consumers are encouraged to buy from a store if they know they can use a voucher code, and 23% are persuaded by the chance to build up loyalty points.</p> <p>Boots is a great example of a store that uses vouchers and loyalty points well. You can quickly find offers on voucher and cashback sites, the brand’s Advantage Card is extremely popular, and its 3-for-2 offers at Christmas practically fill the store.</p> <p>Typically, online vouchers are associated with short-term gains at the last click – arguably perfect for the Christmas push. But it’s important to understand the incremental value that vouchers offer.</p> <p>As our survey shows, they can prompt shoppers to choose one brand over another. Vouchers can also add value across the whole user journey: We found a 22% uplift in revenue from voucher sites when taking earlier touchpoints into account, rather than just last click.</p> <p>So, we’ve seen that the modern consumer journey is complex. Christmas shoppers are influenced by lots of different touchpoints – there’s no one channel that trumps them all. The UK stores that win the Christmas retail battle are the ones that target their audience across all the relevant channels available to them.</p> <p>The brands that truly win at this time of the year, however, are the ones that understand the importance of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65435-what-is-customer-lifetime-value-clv-and-why-do-you-need-to-measure-it/">lifetime value</a>. Attracting customers and encouraging them to buy Christmas gifts is only the first step.</p> <p>Retailers that succeed are those that use their data cleverly to help them make the most of the 84% of Christmas shoppers who intend to shop at their chosen store again – and attract as many of the remaining 26% as possible.</p> <p>Having a rounded understanding of the user journey, and the many touchpoints that users encounter both pre- and post-purchase, allows you to test and discover what messages to use – and when – to encourage more customers to return again and again.</p>