Anthony Ferrara

Get Closed-Loop, Incremental Measurement Right

February 27, 2018

Measurement is top of mind for marketers, but it’s not one of their top capabilities. Research shows that the vast majority of marketers (91 percent) say measurement is a top priority, but just 13 percent rank their measurement abilities as “excellent.” Generating a holistic understanding of the consumer is becoming more difficult as brands navigate an increasingly complex world of channel and data fragmentation, yet the pressure to justify the return on ad spend is only increasing.

To help marketers and advertisers overcome their chief challenge, Acxiom recently published a new eBook, “A Guide to Omnichannel Campaign Measurement.” One key topic covered in the paper is closed-loop measurement, which should answer the question, “Did my advertising efforts move the needle on business outcomes?”

Every successful omnichannel marketing strategy requires the capability to measure digital media’s impact in driving offline conversions, but holistic and accurate measurement can only be achieved by leveraging both digital and offline data.

Let’s examine a few best practices for closed-loop measurement.

1. Identify how an omnichannel campaign will deliver business impact

At its core, measurement enables advertisers to answer crucial questions, such as: How did the campaign perform? How many consumers or households did it reach? What was the incremental lift of the campaign? Did the creative resonate with the target audience? Was the call to action effective? What was the return on ad spend (ROAS)?

As dollars flow into digital, advertisers and marketers are under increasing scrutiny to show the effectiveness of their campaigns. Being able to answer these questions and share a measure of success (e.g., a 2x ROAS) not only secures their employment but also increases their likelihood of obtaining more budget.

2. Align campaign goals with measurement efforts

None of these questions can be answered, however, if campaign goals aren’t aligned to what is being measured. Before launching any campaign, advertisers must first define their goals and key performance indicators and share them with their measurement partner. For instance, an appliance retailer should specify it wants to increase in-store sales of washing machines from new homeowners by using search, display and social media ads.

This ensures alignment with the measurement team, who – knowing these are the questions they need to be able to answer – can then set up statistically significant test-and-control audience segments, onboard data and orchestrate data sources

correctly. Measurement experts should have the ability to marry first-party data with publisher data and transaction data in a privacy-conscious environment. In addition, using identity resolution technology, they can resolve identity to a single consumer exposed to the advertising campaign. Once the campaign ends, the measurement partner can conduct analysis and provide insights and recommendations centered on the advertiser’s goals.

3. Keep measurement metrics consistent to enable long-term analysis

While the explosion of data makes it tempting to measure every aspect of a campaign, it’s best to keep measurement as simple as possible. At Acxiom, we recommend brands always consider three metrics to understand the incremental impact of marketing and advertising:

  • Response rate. Individuals who transacted during the campaign (e.g., how many people purchased a washing machine)
  • Sales per audience. Revenue for the target audience (e.g., washing machine sales from new homeowners)
  • Sales per buyer. Revenue per individual who had at least one transaction (e.g., how much did an individual homeowner spend; it’s helpful to see if the target audience opted for premium products)

This provides a consistent and repeatable process to enable a single unit of measure between disparate sets of data. Standardizing metrics enables advertisers to take a longer-term view (i.e. six months, one year) on campaign performance and better understand their audiences. For instance, the appliance retailer can see that a specific campaign resulted in 305 incremental buyers and $91,500 in sales and then compare this performance to past campaigns.

Real Business Outcomes

Our clients that have applied best practices for closed-loop measurement have achieved significant results. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve measured for several clients:

  • 12 percent lift in new accounts opened
  • 583 incremental buyers and $230,000 in sales
  • 24 percent increase in logins
  • 4.6x ROAS

Measurement is the foundation for making data-driven decisions, but it can be an afterthought for brands that tend to place greater emphasis on the creative output or targeting strategy. To close the loop on measurement efforts, it is critical to do the upfront work.

Knowing which questions to answer, unifying campaign goals with measurement efforts and standardizing measurement metrics are a great place to start. Download our new eBook to learn more actionable steps to improve omnichannel measurement.

Anthony Ferrara

Anthony Ferrara

Anthony Ferrara is an analytics and measurement expert with more than 20 years of experience in data and development. Throughout his career, Anthony has played a key role in understanding and directing efforts at the intersection of business and technology. As the director of analytics at Acxiom, a technology and services company that provides the data foundation for the world’s best marketers, Anthony leads a talented team of measurement experts who drive insights for leading brands. He began his career as a consultant at Accenture – then Andersen Consulting – and served as a vice president at Hubbard One, a provider of marketing and business development solutions. Outside of the office, Anthony can be found playing ping pong at a semi-pro level, cooking restaurant quality eggs to order and rooting for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, where he has season tickets. Anthony earned a BS and MS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in historic Troy, New York, the nation's oldest technological university.

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