Very few, if any consumers, ever click on the first ad they see and buy. Conversely, the last ad they click on and buy from is rarely the only ad that influenced a purchase decision. So how can these pitfalls be avoided? A fundamental starting point is good data.
A great campaign should leverage data and insights to expand the momentum a brand or product already has. It should be structured to create a user funnel where awareness is at the top of the funnel, and re-engagement and additional touchpoints help support them taking action through consideration and conversion. A sound campaign should match target consumer’s digital habits to tap into these behaviors to create exposure that has a tangible impact.
The Consumer Journey isn’t linear
Consumers’ digital behaviors are not isolated to seeing a single ad, clicking on it, and taking an action. The way consumers really experience their digital lives is not a linear experience. They are exposed to messaging across multiple platforms, that tells a compounding story that reinforces value propositions, over a period of time. This market exposure has crossover between channels and therefore must account for the value of a view through, a click-through, first touch, last touch, and other attributions.
A campaign focused on last-touch attribution will assign too much credit to the final platform the consumer engaged with. A campaign focused on click-through will miss the impact of ad views and everything in between. Consumers generally need to see multiple ads in multiple environments and different formats, before they either click on an ad, conduct a search, or go to the site directly. Each of the touchpoints that exist prior to this action all hold value in the overall campaign, but if a single KPI or attribution method is assigned then many touchpoints will be overlooked.
It’s impossible to know if a video view prior to a search query made the difference between action or inaction. However, with the right data you can see trends and correlations that help inform better investments. The only way to properly structure and optimize a campaign to account for complexities of the digital ecosystem, is to create data streams and feedback loops capable of showing consumer behaviors that happen AFTER they are exposed to an ad campaign.
Data streams can show the path to purchase
What behaviors are valuable to measure should be considered uniquely for each brand, client, and campaign. Once key behaviors are identified, it is crucial to determine how they can best be measured; and then ensure that the measurement process is properly implemented for accuracy. With appropriate measurement in place and accuracy validated, it then allows for a strategy of data utilization to be applied to media spends.
This approach requires much deeper engagement which requires time and investment, inserts more accountability, and is likely to identify hard truths. But it’s a worthwhile endeavor in order to get better returns on media investments and set a stage for positive growth and improvement over time. Would you rather spend $100 on a truly new customer with a long LTV or $50 on a current customer who was already planning to buy? Would you rather spend $100 generating exposure to many new customers who have never seen your brand and will buy in the next 30-60 days or $100 generating exposure by retargeting users, showing them the same ad over and over only to have them buy within 1 day when they were most likely already going to buy? Cheap results rarely deliver high value. Data helps you discover where the real value is.
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The key takeaway:
Avoid a myopic view of how individual channels or ads are given credit for contributing to consumer action. Instead, develop a full-funnel feedback loop that addresses the entire consumer experience and journey, and yields insights into what messaging and channels work together to influence behavior.
Three questions to ask yourself:
- Are you focused only on last-click attribution?
- Do you have visibility into the complete funnel and how all digital media channels are contributing?
- Do you have a system in place that feeds a full 360 data feedback loop from media to sales results?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to number 1, or no to numbers 2 or 3; we should talk. We believe in taking the time to analyze the data and full opportunity before investing a dollar of your media. Get in touch and we’ll give you a thorough assessment of what’s possible and how best to maximize your media dollars.
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