Editor's Note: It's time once again to gather some of our advertising agency friends around the virtual water cooler to hear their responses to one burning question. In this installment we asked: "What's the latest thinking on digital marketing metrics that you, your agency and your clients are discussing?"
Ed Gorman, Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Carat USA
Historically, most measurement in media was based on traditional currencies of the media world. Clients were interested in share-of-voice, cost-per-thousand, reach and opportunity-to-see. The industry evolved to also include sales metrics, specifically the media's impact and the return-on-investment by channel.
These are all still vital signs, but we have further evolved to also include the impact of media on other marketing elements and the multiplier effect. The phase of paid/owned/earned media is now commonplace, but we believe the measurement of the interactions and result on sales is the new opportunity to focus upon. We are now working with our clients to measure, regulate, and amplify the entire media ecosystem for increased business results in the market.
Marsha Lindsay, Founder & CEO at Lindsay Stone and Briggs (LSB)
Increasingly, we find ourselves helping clients frame and get agreement from all players in their organization on what a plan or strategy should be designed to accomplish. And that's not easy. It requires that people at many different levels all understand the same right things about what marketing can and cannot---and how fast. Without alignment on specific and realistic metrics, measurement is meaningless; it's optimization without a mission.
If you can't agree on what you want a multi-channel or social media strategy to specifically achieve before it is designed and executed, it's not possible to know if it delivered any ROI. Sounds like a no-brainer. But many clients are only now facing the fact that responsible measurement begins with identification, articulation, and alignment of the goal.
John Kottmann, Chief Strategy Officer, DDB Chicago
We're seeing a heightened sensitivity to metrics and measurement overall today. There are probably three essential drivers to this:
1. Technology: Metrics fall in several key areas: marketing program brand relationship; and business performance. With digital marketing, there has been an explosion in the number and types of marketing program metrics available today. Because more things can be created, engaged, distributed, and redistributed in a multi-screen world, more things from views to likes to check-ins need to be measured and analyzed.
2. Efficiency: The increased pressure on top line revenue growth of organizations in a down economy is causing an increased pressure on marketing dollars to be more efficiently spent. If the top line ain't growing, you better manage the middle lines better!
3. A "Big Data" Culture: Companies are chasing more robust metrics with the hopes of creating more robust and predictive marketing and sales models.
Richard Lent, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, TEN
As our clients begin to invest significant R&D capital into proprietary, technology-driven IP, we urge a relentless focus on linking measurement back to the core strategic business goals and objectives. KPIs such as user adoption, 30-day actives, time spent with platform, engagement levels of community, brand lift (awareness, attitude, favorability, purchase intent, preference) and, dare I say, monetization can all be used to measure the effectiveness of driving incremental and transformative value via brand innovation.
Darren Herman, Chief Digital Media Officer, The Media Kitchen
Clients have realized the power of marketing, as has Wall Street. This has put increased pressure on our clients to deliver ROI-positive marketing campaigns to ensure that their business is consistently delivering positive results. Agencies that understand how to create strategies and execute plans that don't just deliver a big idea but also big measurable results are the ones who will benefit in this new marketing landscape.
James Green, CEO, Magnetic
It seems as though the earth under an agency's feet is always changing, and as a result, agencies are constantly evolving and re-inventing themselves. Margins are eroding and agencies are being asked to deliver more and more for less and less. Clients ask themselves: What can I do myself and what should I outsource to the agency?
As a result, clients are asking agencies to do new things, assess campaigns differently and deliver stronger metrics. This is manifesting itself most explicitly in search, site retargeting and data-driven media campaigns. Clients are now asking to purchase the natural offspring of search and site retargeting: search retargeting. Which brings us to what clients are challenging agencies with more and more: attribution. How can you justify the media that you're buying? What metrics are you using to measure campaigns? How do these metrics compare to the tools that we're using internally?
There's pressure to measure the fractional attribution that each ad creates so that clients can decide which parts of the media mix are working and which aren't. Today, agencies are asked to create measurements across campaigns and media mixes---as well as across political divides within their client teams---to come up with a clear answer about what's most effective.