tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/attribution Latest Attribution content from Econsultancy 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68408 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 The five fundamentals of data-driven marketing Evan Dunn <p>81% of marketers are looking to <a href="http://www.zoominfo.com/business/mktg/ebooks/ebook-data-driven-benchmarks-for-success.pdf" target="_blank">increase budgets</a> for data-driven marketing, while 83% of marketers believe <a href="https://www.ana.net/content/show/id/37128">it's important to be able to make data-guided decisions</a>.</p> <p>That's nearly every marketer.</p> <p><a href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/09/19/investment-data-driven-marketing-continues-rise-survey-notes" target="_blank">Over half</a> expect to see revenue growth as a result of data-driven marketing investments (only 7% expect a decrease), and 39% plan to increase spend on data-driven marketing initiatives.</p> <p>Despite the popularity of data-driven tactics and tech, there is a lot of confusion about the nature of marketing data, and the possible implications it can have for marketing decisions.</p> <p>Here are five ideas I’ve identified as fundamental to effective data-driven marketing.</p> <h4><strong>1. There are two types of marketing 'data': Contact information and performance metrics.</strong></h4> <p>It is strange how rarely this distinction is highlighted, despite how frequently marketers interact with both types of data.</p> <p>For example, “database marketing” refers exclusively to leveraging email lists to engage with customers.</p> <p>“Data management platform” (DMP) refers exclusively to leveraging a mix of IP addresses, emails and other contact information to deliver targeted advertising to customers across the web. </p> <p>Part of the reason I’m writing this article is because of how confused I was by so many of these terms.</p> <p>Databases can store many things, so why only point to use cases that involve emails? And DMP - such a broad, sweeping term for such a narrow use case.</p> <p>Understanding the difference between the two methods is critical to knowing how and when to use them.</p> <p>Many modern marketers are focused so heavily on contact-information-based use cases that they neglect the importance of measuring overall performance and tying it to revenue.</p> <h4><strong>2. Data-driven marketing based on contact information involves tracking individuals in order to get them to buy.</strong></h4> <p>It's sort of like helicopter parenting - helicopter advertising.</p> <p>Tracking individuals across digital media is becoming increasingly popular among marketers, in an attempt to make their marketing distinct among the hundreds of ads we each see every day.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0562/helicopter.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400"></p> <p>“<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65212-what-is-marketing-automation-and-why-do-you-need-it/">Marketing automation</a>” is one of the earliest examples of this type of data-driven marketing, though people rarely classify it as such.</p> <p>Marketers use a MAP (Marketing Automation Platform - a technology class created by Marketo, much like Siebel Systems pioneered CRM) to track individuals through the funnel, usually in organic (email, website) touchpoints, but also in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-paid-advertising/">paid social</a> and display ads.</p> <p>Then the MAP distributes targeted content based on where a person is in the funnel, particularly what last action they took (such as downloading content).</p> <p>Another example is “Attribution” - a term which on the surface just refers to assigning various media, creative and audience segments with percentages of contribution to success.</p> <p>Attribution usually involves tracking individual customers across the web, based on interactions with digital media properties, both paid and owned.</p> <p>More advanced platforms can track whether display ads come into view on the visible portion of a person’s screen.</p> <p>Attribution sometimes leverages DMPs and TMS (Tag Management Software), along with proprietary analytics, to attribute conversions and sales to specific ads. </p> <p>Attribution is primarily focused on individual identification, but also relies on aggregate performance metrics to recommend adjustments in advertising tactics.</p> <p>Data-driven methods that rely on contact information benefit from high levels of detail, but suffer from scalability (you can’t track everyone).</p> <p>Personalization, customer experience optimization and other initiatives fall into this category.</p> <h4><strong>3. Data-driven marketing based on performance metrics involves analyzing investments in and returns from marketing initiatives, in order to better drive results.</strong></h4> <p>Performance marketing, quantitative marketing, media mix modeling - these practices involved rolled up streams of customer actions - i.e. performance metrics. </p> <ul> <li>“Performance marketing” is just a way of saying “marketing where you actually look at what works and what doesn’t in order to drive outcomes.”</li> <li>“Quantitative marketing” has historically referred to enterprise-grade initiatives that use statistics to optimize marketing outcomes based on investment (i.e. ad spend) and key performance indicators. </li> <li>“Media mix modeling” - or media mix allocation - is sometimes classed as a type of quantitative marketing. It involves analyzing which channels (TV, radio, display, etc.) have the greatest impact on conversions through probabilistic statistics (data science).</li> </ul> <p>Data-driven methods that rely on performance metrics benefit from the fact that every system produces some measure of reporting and thus are highly scalable, but sometimes more detail is needed.</p> <p>A focus on performance metrics also has a natural bias towards objectives.</p> <p>Customer data can be a black hole of possible activities, and many companies are stuck in the vortex of collecting, cleansing, weighing customer data.</p> <p>But performance data always tells a story relevant to your objective.</p> <h4><strong>4. There’s this thing called a “proxy” - it’s how you measure the intangibles.</strong></h4> <p>Some things are difficult to measure.</p> <p>For example, “Awareness” (which is an actual objective for many marketers) is really the sum of “how much time do people spend thinking about your brand/product/service?”</p> <p>Obviously, we can’t strap brain sensors to everyone (yet). Most marketers use focus groups and surveys to approximate awareness.</p> <p>Those may also be used to approximate “Brand Equity” - the amount people <em>like </em>and therefore demonstrate <em>purchase intent </em>towards a brand.</p> <p>The problem is, surveys of all kinds are riddled with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Response_bias" target="_blank">response biases</a> - including the most subtle, such as <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-my-money/200807/familiarity-bias-part-i-what-is-it" target="_blank">familiarity bias</a> and <a href="http://heuristics.behaviouralfinance.net/availability/" target="_blank">availability bias</a>.</p> <p>Why not supplement these traditional approaches to awareness measurement with more comprehensive, scalable (and faster, less expensive) tactics?</p> <p>One increasingly popular method of measuring awareness via proxy is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67137-social-monitoring-listening-what-is-it-and-do-you-need-it/" target="_blank">social listening</a>.</p> <p>This technology category is actually not focused only on social media, but the ‘social web’ - all those publications, blogs, articles, comments, social networks, forums etc... essentially most of the Internet. </p> <p>“Best-in-class” estimates for the number of websites scanned by a social listening tool are usually around 100m or 200m websites.</p> <p>For reference, Twitter counts as one website.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digitally-transformed</a> enterprises use these tools to monitor the success of paid and earned media initiatives, as well as establish competitive benchmarks for brand awareness, based on the assumption that some number of people who are aware of a brand/product/campaign will talk about it.</p> <p>Other examples of proxies include NPS (Net Promoter Score) - a measure of the social equity a brand has with its customers.</p> <h4><strong>5. You can’t quantify poetry</strong></h4> <p>Marketing - getting people to invest time/attention/money in brands, products &amp; services - will always live partially in the poetic.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0571/shakespeare.jpg" alt="" width="335" height="298"></p> <p>Connecting with customers inherently has one foot in the abstract, ethereal, creative - and one foot in the scientific, mathematic, quantifiable.</p> <p>After all, some of the best ideas are ones no one has thought of before.</p> <p>This is why Jay Baer proclaims that “<a href="http://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/data-driven-marketing/" target="_blank">Data-Driven Marketing is a Bad Idea</a>” - all he’s really saying is that you can’t forsake the creative for the quantified, but the title he actually used is more sensational.</p> <h3><strong>We need a more holistic view of marketing data</strong></h3> <p>What marketers need is to broaden the scope of the way data is viewed, valued and used within their organization. </p> <p>Personalization and attribution have their place among the most academic of statistical approaches.</p> <p>And macro-performance measurement must concede the fact that, sometimes, the devil is in the details.</p> <p>Of utmost importance is the fact that no data is valuable unless it connects to critical objectives. For most marketers, this means awareness, brand equity and revenue.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-role-of-crm-in-data-driven-marketing/"><em>The Role of CRM in Data-Driven Marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/big-data-driven-marketing-how-to-get-it-right/"><em>Data-Driven Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68347 2016-09-29T01:00:00+01:00 2016-09-29T01:00:00+01:00 Seven ways to supercharge your data-driven marketing Jeff Rajeck <p>Nine out of ten put it in their first three, more than any other topic.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9633/data-driven.png" alt="" width="565" height="315"></p> <p>But what are marketers actually doing with their data?<strong><br></strong></p> <p>What tips can professionals give for those who may be just starting out with data-driven marketing?</p> <p>To find out, Econsultancy recently held roundtable discussions at our fifth annual Digital Cream Sydney.  </p> <p>There, client-side marketers from across the industry discussed trends, best practices, and the issues they are currently facing.</p> <p>The roundtables were moderated by subject matter experts from the industry. Participants brought their own experiences, questions, and challenges to the table for open discussion.</p> <p>Here are the highlights from the discussion at the Data Driven Marketing &amp; Marketing Attribution Management table.</p> <h3>1. Use personas and customer journey mapping for attribution modeling</h3> <p>We now live in an omnichannel world. People often use the web, social media, mobile, and search before buying something.  </p> <p>How can marketers determine the right amount to invest in each channel?</p> <p>Participants agreed that doing so, also known as attribution modeling, is one of the toughest tasks marketers now face.</p> <p>Figuring out which channels drive awareness, which help with research, and which lead to conversions is not easy - even with all the data in the world.</p> <p>While attendees admitted that there is 'no silver bullet' for determining the right model, delegates suggested that using customer experience data can help.</p> <p>They said that <strong>creating audience personas and then mapping each customer journey can provide insight into the path-to-purchase for different customers.</strong>  </p> <p>This can then provide the foundation for the elusive attribution model which helps marketers allocate their spending for optimal results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9626/data-driven__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2. Avoid using personas for more granular data-driven marketing</h3> <p>While the customer-centric approach may work for modeling attribution, delegates agreed that<strong> personas and customer journey maps were not so useful when doing more personalised data-driven marketing.</strong></p> <p>That is, when buying programmatic media or providing on-site personalisation, broad segments and models do not help.  </p> <p>Instead, attendees stated that <strong>marketers should use an individual's behavior to deliver relevant ads and personalised content.</strong>  </p> <p>What a person has viewed or purchased previously is much more likely to attract their attention in the future than something which fits a particular persona, one participant argued.</p> <h3>3. Look at <em>your</em> data when optimizing</h3> <p>Another dilemma marketers often face is how to optimize their website and ad buying based on outside trends.</p> <p>Recently, there have been many charts showing that mobile traffic is outpacing web traffic. Does this mean that marketers should go 'mobile first'?</p> <p>Not at all said the delegates. While it is useful to be aware of the trends in mobile, video, and messaging, <strong>marketers should prioritise their own customers' behaviours to help form strategies.</strong></p> <p>As an example, at one table on the day, there were some marketers who said that mobile usage was plateauing while others said that tablet traffic is becoming increasingly important to them.</p> <p>So, the recommendation is that marketers should first keep a close eye on the trends in their own data before making any drastic changes as a result of industry reports.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9627/data-driven2__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>4. Use data for more than just conversions</h3> <p>Marketers these days are typically required to produce data to justify their budget.  </p> <p>Metrics such as cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS) are commonly used by the business to gauge performance.</p> <p>Because of the need to demonstrate that marketing spend matters to the business, <strong>attendees agreed that most of the effort spent on marketing attribution and data-driven marketing is used to lower customer acquisition costs</strong>. </p> <p>However, delegates also agreed that we now have the data to do much more. <strong>Data should also be used, they argued, to improve customer retention and loyalty.</strong></p> <p>Doing so will, in turn, increase the lifetime value of customers and improve the bottom line, albeit in a less direct way.</p> <p>Marketers should, therefore, look for opportunities to use data for customer experience and resist the tendency to look for the immediate gratification of a lower CPA.</p> <h3>5. The best third-party data is from sites where users log in</h3> <p>While marketers tend to have a good handle on the data from their own sites (first-party data), many are still wondering about the value of data from other sites (third-party data).</p> <p>This concern was made apparent because, when asked, only around 10-15% of marketers at the tables admitted using a data management platform (DMP) as a 'single source of truth' about their customers.</p> <p>The reasons for hesitating are well-founded. Many third-party data services guess at aspects of users' identities from the sites they visit or activities they have done in the distant past.</p> <p>Attendees asserted, however, that <strong>sites which require users to log in can provide much higher-quality third-party data.</strong></p> <p>Specifically, Google and Facebook can both link extensive browsing and posting behaviour to a particular person.  </p> <p>For this reason, delegates said that such sites do offer third-party data worth using for advertising and analytics.</p> <p>Interestingly, one participant noted, both Google and Facebook are also starting to offer data which allows brands to track consumers offline.</p> <p>That is, they will know whether someone has entered a particular location (e.g. a store) after viewing an ad on their platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9628/data-driven3__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>6. Aim to make small changes with insights from data</h3> <p>While most of the day's discussions were positive, one negative aspect of data-driven marketing emerged. </p> <p>Even with insights from data,<strong> delegates admitted that it was rare that recommendations based on data were actually implemented</strong>.</p> <p>Data was more likely, they said, to be used for retrospective reporting and business-oriented statistics.</p> <p>One way around this, one participant suggested, is to adopt a more 'agile' way of working.</p> <p>What this means is that marketing teams should avoid gathering vast amounts of data in an attempt to influence strategic decisions.  </p> <p>Instead, <strong>marketers should use insights to drive incremental changes on a frequent, tactical basis.</strong></p> <p>In this way, the 'agile' approach will change an organisation's approach to marketing iteratively over time and have a much higher likelihood of succeeding.</p> <h3>7. The biggest hurdle? Finding the right people.</h3> <p>In previous years, marketers have lamented about quality of marketing technology and the difficulty of obtaining data to drive marketing strategy.</p> <p>While these are still concerns, <strong>delegates this year said that their biggest challenge was finding the right people to drive data-driven marketing initiatives.</strong></p> <p>Attendees agreed that that finding people who could interpret data both technically and commercially was really hard. Additionally, these people are critical for getting insights out of data.</p> <p>Newly-hired data scientists are often too technical and abstracted from the operational business to help. Experienced marketers, though familiar with the business, often lack the statistical modeling skills to extract new insights from data.</p> <p>One suggested approach is for marketing teams to recruit analysts with business acumen and data crunching skills.  </p> <p>But in lieu of staffing up with the right people,<strong> participants felt that marketers could also take a more active role in interrogating the data themselves for insight. </strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9630/data-driven4__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></strong></p> <h3>A word of thanks...</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day and especially our Data Driven Marketing &amp; Marketing Attribution Management table moderators,<strong> Beaudon McLaren, APJ Ecommerce Manager at Symantec</strong> and <strong>Ashley Friedlein, President of Centaur Marketing &amp; Founder of Econsultancy.</strong></p> <p>We hope to see you all at future Sydney Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9632/moderators__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"> </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68313 2016-09-26T11:20:00+01:00 2016-09-26T11:20:00+01:00 Marketing attribution: How many are actually doing it? Ben Davis <h3>66% of companies undertake some form of attribution and analyse their results</h3> <p>The headline statistic is a heartening one. 66% of company respondents said they carry out attribution on all or some campaigns and analyse the results.</p> <p>Though the agency sample size is a third of that for company respondents, a disparity is notable in the results, with agencies less confident of their clients' competence.</p> <p>Nearly a fifth of agency respondents (18%) say their clients are carrying out attribution but are not sure how to effectively analyse results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9534/Screen_Shot_2016-09-26_at_08.34.58.png" alt="marketing attribution" width="615" height="492"></p> <h3>UK companies not particularly confident of agency impartiality in attribution</h3> <p>24% of company respondents said they use their media agency to carry out marketing attribution.</p> <p>Respondents could select multiple options here, with vendor technology the most popular (51%), followed by custom-built tech (44%) and spreadsheets/manual (42%).</p> <p>Of those respondents that said they used their media agency for attribution, UK companies were particularly sceptical when it comes to impartiality.</p> <p>32% of UK respondents said they were 'not very confident' of their agency's impartiality when it comes to marketing attribution, and a further 44% were only 'quite confident'.</p> <p>This is quite startling, and speaks to the pressing need for transparency and accountability in media agency land (amid <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68319-all-the-digital-news-stories-you-missed-this-week-6/">reports of overcharging</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68315-where-has-programmatic-gone-wrong-and-how-can-agencies-fix-it/">lack of strategy/skills</a>).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9536/Screen_Shot_2016-09-26_at_08.48.48.png" alt="trust in agencies" width="615" height="512"></p> <h3>Display feels the wrath of attribution</h3> <p>When respondents were asked what channels they include in their marketing attribution, email (71%) and display (64%) were clear favourites.</p> <p>These were followed by content (58%), paid search (55%), social (54%), affiliate (52%), paid social (42%), SEO (41%), mobile apps (25%) and video (24%).</p> <p>And the result of this marketing attribution analysis?</p> <p>28% reported they were increasing spend across all or some channels, 46% reported decreasing spend across all or some channels.</p> <p>What is particularly striking though is that of those decreasing budgets based on attribution analysis, over half (54%) report doing so for display advertising (see chart below).</p> <p>Again, this stat shows that companies are intent on gaining more oversight of channels such as display, which may have previously seemed like a black box to some clients or a line added to a media plan.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9535/Screen_Shot_2016-09-26_at_08.56.18.png" alt="decrease budget attribution" width="615" height="500"></p> <p>This is just a taster from this new report, but there's plenty more revealing data to dig into and many tangential conclusions to be made about the state of measurement and media in digital marketing.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-marketing-attribution/">Subscribers can download the report now</a>.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4219 2016-09-21T10:00:00+01:00 2016-09-21T10:00:00+01:00 The State of Marketing Attribution <h2>Overview</h2> <p>As customer journeys become increasingly complex and fast-paced, it’s imperative for marketers to understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and how each channel contributes to the end conversion. </p> <p>This <strong>State of Marketing Attribution</strong> report, produced by Econsultancy in association with <a href="https://www.adroll.com/en-GB/">AdRoll</a>, explores current adoption levels and types of strategies organisations are using. The study evaluates tools and processes employed as well as the potential barriers to effective use of the capability.</p> <p>The report, which is based on a survey of almost 600 in-house and supply-side respondents, discusses how well companies are leveraging their data to attract, convert and grow their customer base.</p> <p>Respondents were based in the UK, France and Germany, and the report compares and contrasts the three countries.</p> <h2>Key topics covered</h2> <ul> <li>The multichannel challenge - despite the increasingly crucial role that attribution plays, organisations carrying out attribution across the majority of their campaigns are still in the minority. Find out the reasons why and tips on how to remedy this.</li> <li>What others are doing with attribution - benchmark your organisations against your peers by finding out which methods and technologies they are using.</li> <li>The skills and training needed for successful attribution.</li> <li>The regional variations between the UK, France and Germany in terms of the state of attribution.</li> </ul> <h2>Key findings</h2> <ul> <li>While four in five organisations carry out marketing attribution, less than a third (31%) do so on the majority of or all their campaigns and analyse results.</li> <li>The issues which restrict marketers’ ability to carry out attribution or implement it properly are mainly around a lack of knowledge (58%), lack of time (44%) and technology limitations (41%).</li> <li>Organisations are lagging behind when it comes to more complex attribution models, with nearly half still using last-click models. More worryingly, a similar proportion use first-click, a less intuitive form of attribution.</li> <li>While algorithmic and custom attribution feature among the most effective models (96% and 89% respectively claim they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ effective), less than a quarter (23%) of responding organisations use these methods.</li> <li>Around half of marketers choose off-the-shelf vendor technology for marketing attribution, while 44% opt for custom-built technology. Over two-fifths (42%) are still resorting to manual attribution with the use of spreadsheet data.</li> <li>When asked about areas with the biggest issues and gaps, creating a culture of measurement and accuracy (59%), campaign tracking/tagging (56%) and data validation/normalisation (56%) were cited as top-three challenges.</li> <li>Nearly 60% of responding organisations don’t action the insights they get from attribution.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67914 2016-06-09T13:14:00+01:00 2016-06-09T13:14:00+01:00 Could 'incrementality' be key to freeing up digital ad budgets? Rachael Morris <p>However, new developments in programmatic have made it possible to directly credit sales to specific campaigns, leading to truly incremental advertising.</p> <p>So, how does an incrementality model work, and how can advertisers make the switch?</p><p>My <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/rachael-morris/" target="_blank">previous posts</a> have talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the different ways we measure campaigns.</p> <p>So, I wanted to take a step back and talk about the point of all these forms of measurement - what are we actually trying to achieve?</p><p>The quote that gets pulled out most often on this is John Wanamaker's (“Half my advertising is wasted...”) and with good reason.</p> <p>It accurately describes the point of campaign measurement.</p> <p>We’re essentially trying to work out which parts of any campaign are having the most cost effective impact on an audience, so the overall campaign efficiency can be increased. </p> <h3><strong>Improving display measurement</strong></h3> <p>When agencies and advertisers look at measurement models and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66440-three-key-trends-from-our-marketing-attribution-briefing-digital-cream-2015/">attribution models</a>, they are (or should be) trying to find the fairest and most accurate way of sharing credit for the audience response, to allow them to improve the campaign plan over time. </p> <p>I previously highlighted some of the ways we can work to make traditional methods of measurement more accurate reflections of what is actually driving efficiency, but these are all just steps on the way to a better model.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5878/funnel.jpg" alt="" width="548" height="374"></p> <p>For instance, whilst post-visible conversions do discount those conversions that came from unseen ads, they don’t take into account the 'natural' baseline of people who would have bought the product anyway.</p><p>The next question then is <strong>what can be done about this? </strong></p> <p>How do we filter out those conversions that would have happened anyway, to make sure we aren’t optimising towards the cheap and easy conversions over and above genuine influence the campaigns are having on user behaviour?</p><p>This is a hot topic, often labelled 'incrementality'.</p> <p>There are already some attribution companies offering solutions and most clients we talk to are aiming to resolve it.</p> <p>So, why does incrementality still seem to be a problem? There are a few reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Not many companies offer it as a form of measurement, making it difficult for advertisers to find someone who can calculate this for them.</li> <li>It can be challenging to explain incrementality internally, particularly in large businesses that have traditionally favoured a more click-based approach.</li> <li>The most popular methods for measuring genuine campaign uplift are very inflexible, generally assessed quarterly, and are often not granular enough to make any real difference to your campaign.</li> </ul> <h3>How to measure incrementality </h3> <p>We started doing this a couple of years ago when a client asked us to help them prove the true value of display activity; they knew click-based attribution was undervaluing it, but felt that view-based attribution was overvaluing it.</p><p>Initially, we approached the challenge in a traditional way, comparing the performance of a charity ad to the performance of the branded display ad.</p> <p>This was when we first came across two problems with this way of measuring uplift.</p> <p>Firstly, it was very expensive - the client in question spent half their budget for the month on a banner promoting another company.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5879/budget.jpg" alt="" width="501" height="333"></p><p>The second problem came when looking at the data. It was clear that the biggest influence on the advert’s effect was whether it was viewed, and in any campaign there is a certain amount of non-viewable ads.</p> <p>Essentially, the unseen branded ads saw the same performance as the charity ads, while the branded ads that were visible had a much stronger response from customers.</p> <p>That led us to a new way of analysing results from that test, but also how we measured uplift from future tests.</p><p>So the method for measuring incrementality is basically the same as an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64417-horror-stories-how-to-avoid-an-a-b-testing-nightmare/">A:B test</a>, but easier and less expensive to carry out.</p> <p>By knowing unseen ads don’t affect user behaviour this gives us a control group who we've targeted but haven't seen the message.</p> <p>We compare the conversion rates of this group with the one that did see the ads. Any conversions over the ‘baseline’ of the control group are incremental, so must have been generated by the campaign.</p> <h3>Moving to an incremental model</h3> <p>We've been doing this for a few years, but it's yet to be widely adopted. So, as an advertiser interested in moving to measuring the incremental uplift of your campaign, what can you do?</p><p>The first step is to speak to your agency or partner to ask if they are tracking the viewability of your campaigns.</p> <p>Can they get data at a user level? If they can, they should be able to calculate incrementality for you.</p> <p>If they can’t get hold of the data required, it might be worth reviewing what you track currently and whether you can make changes to allow them to pick up the necessary data.</p><p>Changing the way display is measured and reported can be an upheaval. But, confidently attributing a portion of sales to display spend allows budget conversations to run more smoothly.</p> <p>Over the last year many of the advertisers we work with have found moving to incremental measurement crucial in getting internal buy-in for the value of advertising.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67892 2016-06-07T10:08:00+01:00 2016-06-07T10:08:00+01:00 Are marketers overspending on TV, display and even SEO? Ben Davis <h3>Planned spend in 2016 - mobile, web and paid social on top </h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-paid-advertising/">Paid social</a> is definitely on the agenda in 2016, with nearly half of respondents set to increase spend.</p> <p>This is unsurprising, given these ad products use native units, trusted inventory and can target known users across devices.</p> <p>The reach of social networks and brands' long-standing publication of content here have made them attractive paid options both in terms of ease of adoption and effectiveness.</p> <p>Looking at this trend by country, UK respondents plan to increase spend on paid social more than any other nation (66%).</p> <p>At the other end of the scale, paid social has the least support in APAC (41% plan to increase spend).</p> <p>Social media is no doubt blurring the boundaries between paid, owned and earned media. Platforms are still changing rapidly and brands are continually adjusting strategies.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5450/Screen_Shot_2016-05-30_at_18.07.21.png" alt="media budgets index" width="615"></p> <h3>TV, display and even SEO see overspend</h3> <p>The table below shows channels that see underspend and overspend when taking into account customer dwell time.</p> <p>The figures compared are the percentage of respondents that ranked a particular channel in their top three for customer dwell time, versus the percentage of respondents who ranked the same channel in their top three budget priorities.</p> <ul> <li>Websites see underspend, prioritised by 56% of respondents despite 66% placing it in the top three channels for time spend.</li> <li>Surprisingly, printed media (25% vs. 31%) sees underspend, as does mobile (27% vs. 21%).</li> <li>Overspending is evident in TV (25% vs. 33%), display (14% vs. 20%) and very slighlty in SEO (13% vs 14%).</li> </ul> <p>Of course, time spent by users isn't the only variable that accounts for the effectiveness of a channel.</p> <p>However, 31% said time spent was the key variable that influences budget allocation and a further 36% said time spent is 'one of the variables' that influenced their media budget.</p> <p>Additionally, planned spending increases for many in 2016 for websites and mobile in particular, may tackle some of the perceived imbalance. However, the report in general does paint a picture of budgeting being out of kilter with engagement metrics.</p> <p>The majority of those allocating digital media spend are basing their decisions on incremental change from the previous budget depending on performance.</p> <p>While this is certainly a way of improving performance, it does build on assumptions that may be questioned by more solid insights such as more accurate <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-attribution-trends-briefing-digital-cream-london-2015/">attribution measurement.</a></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5451/Screen_Shot_2016-05-30_at_19.40.46.png" alt="overspend and underspend" width="615"></p> <h3>Display is bottom of the pile when it comes to digital effectiveness </h3> <p>The chart below shows perceived effectiveness of media spend by channel. There aren't too many surprises, though it's interesting to see TV and POS out in front.</p> <p>Display advertising certainly seems to be the least effective digital channel. Though more termed it 'very effective' than did paid social, the total that viewed it as 'very effective' or 'quite effective' was 60% compared to 63% for paid social.</p> <p>Again, these results are caveated with the inability of many companies to attribute marketing success.</p> <p>When asked whether their organisation used attribution to measure marketing effectiveness, 34% of respondents said no and 22% said they didn't know or it wasn't relevant.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5453/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_08.26.52.png" alt="effectiveness of channels" width="615" height="608"></p> <p>For many more findings, combined with desk research and insight from industry figures, subscribers can access the report below.</p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/media-budgets-index/">Media Budgets Index</a>, in association with Datalicious, comparing media budget allocation with media consumption.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67760 2016-04-20T11:32:57+01:00 2016-04-20T11:32:57+01:00 Search ads found to lift in-store sales: report Patricio Robles <p>As <a href="http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/chobani-yahoo-search-ads-lift-sales/303569/">reported by</a> AdAge, consumers who saw ads for Greek yogurt brand Chobani when searching for yogurt-related terms spent 9% more on Chobani than consumers who didn't see the company's ads.</p> <p>AdAge's Jessica Wohl explained that the test, which occurred in 2015:</p> <blockquote> <p>...could essentially match households from their use of the Yahoo search engine through to actual grocery store checkouts, going well beyond just tracking if someone clicked on an ad.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to Yahoo and NCS, the test methodology allowed for the search ad sales lift to be accurately tracked without interference from other factors, such as external marketing campaigns Chobani was running at the time.</p> <p>Perhaps most interestingly, Chobani found that purchases increased the more consumers were exposed to its search ads, and "once the campaign ended there was a dropoff."</p> <p>This suggests that, not surprisingly, a sustained search marketing campaign might be necessary to realize continued sales lift.</p> <h3>Advances in attribution</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65459-what-is-marketing-attribution-and-why-do-you-need-it">Attribution</a> has been a hot topic for several years. For many brands, establishing a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10288-companies-struggling-to-perform-attribution-and-online-offline-measurement">connection between online ads and offline activity</a> is a real challenge.</p> <p>There are a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67038-11-ways-to-track-online-to-offline-conversions-and-vice-versa">number of techniques</a> that are commonly used, but many companies aren't <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66354-customer-journey-tracking-joining-up-digital-and-offline-touchpoints">joining up digital and offline touchpoints</a>.  </p> <p>For CPG brands like Chobani, attribution is especially difficult, but the testing conducted by Yahoo and NCS demonstrates that it can be done.</p> <p>The pair say that they have performed eight to 10 similar tests and while they aren't able to reveal the details of those tests at the current time, the results are similarly impressive.</p> <p>According to Francine Faiella, the senior director of client consulting for NCS:</p> <blockquote> <p>Now that we've got a handful of measurements under our belt, we're starting to see some trends, and it's becoming clear that search advertising can be very effective.</p> </blockquote> <h3>The connection to viewability</h3> <p>Of course, the idea that exposure to search ads could benefit brands even when consumers don't click on them probably won't surprise marketers, many of whom for some time have recognized the importance of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67334-disproving-the-myth-about-display-clicks-conversions/">view-through conversions</a> in the display ad market.</p> <p>But as these effects are better quantified, it could influence how and where marketers spend money.</p> <p>While there is debate around <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67632-why-chasing-after-100-viewability-makes-no-sense-for-advertisers">the importance of viewability</a> as a KPI, it's clear that ads will have limited impact if they can't be properly seen.</p> <p>And if search ads, which are less susceptible to viewability concerns than their display cousins, become established as potent drivers of view-through conversions, it could make search marketing strategy even more important to brands.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67726 2016-04-12T14:43:45+01:00 2016-04-12T14:43:45+01:00 SEO is more than just organic traffic: Are you taking all the credit you deserve? Ian Harris <p>Many in the industry still cling to the growth of organic as the metric to measure success but, while it’s still very important, we’re not measuring like for like when comparing with years gone by.</p> <p>So how are SEOs missing out on credit, and what else should they be looking at?</p> <h3><strong>Organic search has changed</strong></h3> <p>Traditionally, the way we judge the success of an SEO campaign is by the growth of the organic channel. In essence, the more visits and sessions that come through this channel, the better.</p> <p>While search has become more expansive, encompassing everything from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-and-online-pr/">online PR to social</a>, this metric of success has remained constant. </p> <p>Put simply, though, this isn’t as simple a metric as it once was to judge success.</p> <p>By making technical changes to improve a website and producing engaging content, you can make sure your web presence gives off all the best signals to Google and hope that has a positive effect on organic traffic.</p> <p>However, as Google’s algorithm becomes more precise and complex upon how it analyses sites, it’s not a sure thing.</p> <p>Organic search is primarily about SERP rankings but, with new additions to results pages such as the carousel and answer box, good rankings aren’t the sole route to success.</p> <p><em>Google carousel</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3878/Google_carousel.png" alt="" width="793" height="512"></p> <p>For example, there’s evidence that the answer box – which scrapes content from ranking results – quite often doesn’t choose the top ranking site.</p> <p>So, even if the authority of your site means you’re not ranking as well as you could, Google could still recognise quality information and place you in the answer box.</p> <p>Conversely, you may be ranking well but may not be receiving the clickthrough rate that you once did if a competitor gets their content in the answer box.</p> <p>The importance of quality on-site copy has, therefore, never been more pressing. </p> <h3><strong>The boundary between organic and direct has blurred</strong></h3> <p>As the industry has naturally evolved it’s become more difficult to definitively attribute traffic to one channel or another.</p> <p>A number of factors, including improvements in browser technology, have meant that traffic that would once have been attributed as organic traffic is now being attributed as direct.</p> <p>Although technology is advanced in these fields, SEOs are still selling themselves short by just looking at organic when, as part of optimising organic, we can drive more traffic than we are often credited for.</p> <p>Groupon ran an experiment in 2014 in which it deindexed itself for a full six hours (not something we’d recommend trying!) to try and understand how users were truly getting to their site.</p> <p>By deindexing its website, Groupon removed the possibility of users finding their site through search.</p> <p>Users could still get to the page by entering the website URL in the address bar, for example, or if they had it saved in their bookmarks, but it allowed Groupon to look at how both direct and organic search was affected by it.</p> <p>Measuring its longer URLs (e.g. www.groupon.com/local/san-francisco/restaurants), the company saw that as organic traffic dropped to near zero after the change, direct traffic also dropped by 60%.</p> <p>This big chunk of what Groupon thought was direct traffic dropped as soon as the site was de-indexed. </p> <p>Indexing is purely for search purposes so that Google can crawl your site and offer you up in its SERPs.</p> <p>If this traffic disappeared, it could indicate a couple of things. While the problem could be metric based, for example, an issue with the website’s Google Analytics tracking, it could also be as a result of misattribution.</p> <p>One study isn’t evidence of an industry-wide problem, but it does highlight the need for SEOs to better understand and measure the true source of their website’s traffic.</p> <h3><strong>Browsers have become more advanced</strong></h3> <p>The way we search has changed and that’s partly due to the advancement of browsers. Modern browsers have evolved to look and work differently to their ancestors.</p> <p>In the past, when we were searching for something online, we would enter the address of a search engine and then search for the query or just search directly from the address bar.</p> <p>The search engine then delivered SERPs based on our query and we would click through to the relevant website.</p> <p>While that is still a common method users use to search, today, browsers may even suggest a URL from your history when you start typing a query in its address bar.</p> <p>If you click on this suggested URL, that traffic bypasses a search engine and is attributed as direct. Browsers such as Chrome or Safari are clever enough to now know what brand you’re searching for even after an incomplete search is entered.</p> <p>In both instances, this means that some traffic you once took previously took credit for as organic could now be recorded as direct traffic and therefore not reported on. </p> <p><em>Fig 1. Safari suggests a website</em><em> </em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3869/google_serps_1.png" alt="" width="302" height="532"></p> <p><em>Fig 2. Desktop chrome suggests relevant URLs from a user’s history based on a generic query</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3870/google_serps_2.png" alt="" width="825" height="159"></p> <h3><strong>Impact of mobile</strong></h3> <p>Mobile browser usage varies quite a lot compared to desktop. While Chrome and Safari still take up most of the market, Android’s own internet browser is used by around 11% of mobile users, and Firefox barely features at all.</p> <p>This is important as, even since improvements in the referral data from mobile visits, there’s still a lack of consistency.</p> <p>Some mobile applications often do not send referral data, so traffic almost always comes through as direct.</p> <p>For example, if a user clicks through to your site from a Google Maps app – an app which pulls data from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64985-why-google-local-is-vital-for-offline-businesses/">Google My Business listings</a> you’ve optimised as part of your SEO strategy – then you’re probably not getting the credit for it.</p> <p><em>Fig 3. The Apple Maps app uses Yelp &amp; Apple Maps Connect to send traffic to a website, however, this is attributed as ‘direct’. </em></p> <p><em>Google Earth and the Google Maps app will also attribute this to ‘direct’.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3871/google_serps_3.png" alt="" width="298" height="530">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3872/google_serps_4.png" alt="" width="298" height="532"></p> <h3><strong>Apps taking organic traffic</strong></h3> <p>Another reason why we may see less organic traffic hitting a website is if a user has an app for the relevant site that appears in the SERP.</p> <p>Clicking the SERP listing can now direct users straight to the content ‘in-app’, without hitting the website at all.</p> <p>If you are solely responsible for sending users to a website, this will reduce the amount of traffic you’re seeing.</p> <h3><strong>Local listings and Yelp</strong></h3> <p>Local listings are vital to businesses with physical premises, especially those who rely on local trade.</p> <p>The people nearest to you are most likely to use your services, so making sure you’re being exposed to this audience is vital.</p> <p>However, they can also be of great benefit to your SEO strategy.</p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66574-10-essentials-for-local-seo-success/">most important part of local listings</a> is that you have standardised, consistent details about your business across the web, particularly the name, address and phone number (NAP details) – specifically in your Google My Business account.</p> <p>The details you put in are dragged through to Google SERPs with local listings and Google Maps / Google Earth so they need to be correct.</p> <p>Your business listing will be more trusted, and rank better if Google can see that the NAP details are consistent across a number of aggregators.</p> <p>So, it’s for that reason that many SEOs undertake a task of adding consistent listings on platforms such as Yelp.</p> <p><em>Fig 4. Yelp, a local search engine or a social platform?</em> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3873/Yelp_screenshot.png" alt="" width="887" height="265"></p> <p>This issue here is that by creating and optimising this listing (initially to boost their organic local presence), many SEOs neglect to take credit for the relevant traffic that these places can drive.</p> <p>Yelp, for example, has around 150m unique users per month. While it is technically classed as a social platform by Google Analytics (by default, this can be reconfigured), it has many of the same features as a ‘local search engine'. </p> <p>We also have various changes that Google has made in recent years to the layout in mobile SERPs.</p> <p>Currently, the ‘local pack’ doesn’t have an immediate website click-through option unless the listing is expanded.</p> <p>The main action you’re encouraged to do <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64395-google-click-to-call-used-by-more-than-40-of-mobile-searchers/">is click-to-call</a>, an action that will bypass the website (and any <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67206-why-call-tracking-is-vital-for-accurate-attribution-modelling/">call tracking</a>), thus SEOs may neglect to take credit for that call.</p> <p><em>Fig 5. A mobile SERP for the term ‘sheds’, showing click to call option in the ‘local pack’</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3875/local_listings.png" alt="" width="367" height="653"></p> <p>There currently isn’t any robust way of understanding what traffic the My Business listing brings via analytics, but you can regularly share the reports dashboard provided in the platform to highlight your work.</p> <h3><strong>Google isn’t the only map</strong></h3> <p>Google Maps is a great tool, but it’s also not the only tool out there. Apple Maps, while still lagging behind Google Maps, has the advantage of being pre-loaded on millions of new iPhones.</p> <p>The rival to Google Maps uses a number of sites to pull through its data, but you can be sure it will pull your Yelp business listing so you need to make sure they are optimised.</p> <p>You can also add/manage your listing via ‘Maps Connect’. As with Google Maps, traffic from Apple Maps generally is attributed as direct.</p> <p>This means that even if you’ve optimised your listings you’re not getting the credit through those precious organic search listings.   </p> <h3><strong>In summary...</strong></h3> <p>We can compartmentalise different aspects of search into organic and paid channels but the end goal is the same: impressions, clicks and, ultimately, conversions.</p> <p>Instead of splitting our departmental efforts into individual channels, we need to realise that search has changed.</p> <p>The organic channel is still an important metric to measure success, but there is so much more to showing the true value that your endeavours as an SEO brings.</p> <p>Taking a narrow view of ‘solely measuring success via improvements to the organic channel’ is neglecting the wider value of your digital marketing endeavours.</p> <p>The key to all of this is data is simple: make sure you know where to get all the information that shows the value you’re providing and take credit for it.</p> <p>Send your client or managers reports from your My Business account, Apple Maps Connect and try to understand the organic influence on direct, Yelp and others.</p> <p>Include referral traffic data from links and listings that you created and app analytics data with organic as the source.</p> <p>Look at all the work you do across your campaigns and provide examples and data to show the full effect your work is having.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67681 2016-03-30T14:56:00+01:00 2016-03-30T14:56:00+01:00 Can cross-channel marketing save the Next catalogue? Matthew Kelleher <h3>Catalogues on the wane?</h3> <p>It’s not the shift from offline to digital that is the stand out issue here, which remains a constant now as it has done for many years (although the shift in buying patterns detailed by Next in their annual review, from offline to online to mobile, is very significant).</p> <p>What is momentus is that the Next catalogue, one of the pillars of Next’s long term success along with Directory and its credit services, as well as being one of the icons of the catalogue market, is on the wane.</p> <p>Of course it is not just Next who are questioning the role of the catalogue in the digital era, many retailers I speak to are struggling to understand both the strategic role of a catalogue in the evolving marketing mix and its value in a multi-channel world.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3440/Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_14.45.07.png" alt="next catalogue" width="615"></p> <h3>Is the catalogue's value to other channels truly known?</h3> <p>Customer behaviour continues to change and, critically, traditional measurement of channel performance no longer provides accurate understanding of channel performance.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66440-three-key-trends-from-our-marketing-attribution-briefing-digital-cream-2015/">Attribution modelling</a>, if it is being applied, is stymied by the inability to accurately view customers across the great divide between off and online marketing.</p> <p>The convergence of traditional and digital marketing and the rise of cross-channel marketing have been well predicted, for instance <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65990-three-digital-marketing-mega-trends-for-2015/">by Ashley Friedlein</a> here on Econsultancy. The travails of the Next catalogue are a salient reminder of this trend.</p> <p>Retailers operating without cross-channel tracking and genuinely-<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66316-how-are-organisations-integrating-the-single-customer-view">single customer views </a>cannot see what role the catalogue plays in generating, for instances, footfall in store or browsing activity online.</p> <p>The catalogue is therefore operating marooned in its own silo, judged only by its direct response results which, we all know, are declining across the board.</p> <h3>Enhancing attribution models</h3> <p>The solution for retailers facing these issues is to move onto the next generation of cross-channel single customer view database that use cross-channel tracking and customer identification software.</p> <p>Retailers need to know when they send a catalogue who browses, who is driven in store and who is price checking on a mobile device.</p> <p>In this fashion attribution models are enhanced, customer journeys effectively tracked and channel value properly understood. There is also the added benefit, probably the most valuable, of integrating the catalogue into the digital channels.</p> <p>Retailers practising cross-channel marketing in this fashion can serve relevant content to individuals launched on their journey by the catalogue as they arrive at the next stage on their journey, for instance when they arrive at the website or when they interact with an email, delivering an ‘omnichannel’ message and guiding them along the path to conversion.</p> <p><em>A mid-'90s Next Directory (<a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Next-Directory-Catalogue-No-10-Autumn-Winter-1992-/281975932968">via eBay</a>)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3441/Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_14.53.28.png" alt="early next directory" width="615"></p> <h3>Confidence in catalogues can only come from a single customer view</h3> <p>I’m also intrigued by the phraseology used by The Telegraph – “for customers who don’t want them”. This refers to the Next press release's ‘Catalogues and Marketing’ review.</p> <p>Next has been a leader in using segmentation and analytics to drive their catalogue and direct mail for many years, but reading between the lines, as the Telegraph is doing, the Next hierarchy is losing confidence and switching spend.</p> <p>Any retailer facing a similar challenge needs a cross-channel single customer view to open the door to a wealth of online generated data that would bolster a shift to Predictive Analytical approaches. The days of offline marketers dismissing and ignoring multi-channel behavioural data as ‘clickstream’ have to be nearing an end.</p> <p>The development of cross-channel tracking software and single customer views will lead retailers not only to greater understanding of the role of the catalogue but will also create additional customer value.</p> <p>Not only will retailers be able to more accurately tie online customers together with offline, showing the true value of a single customer, but it will drive increased value through better decision making at a customer level.</p> <p>That means more accurate personalisation and a greater probability to retain a customer in a world where brand loyalty is an increasingly rare commodity.</p>