The race for better marketing measurement is on. Are you in it?

Karen Sauder
/ May 2019 / Research & Data

Marketers are in a race against time as they strive to get measurement priorities in order. Competition across all industries is heating up as people are inundated by more choice, more noise, and more channels. As a result, marketers are under increasing pressure to prove that their work makes an impact.

And I’m hearing about the pressure, day in and day out. In my role as VP of sales at Google, I talk to CMOs in industries ranging from travel to financial services to health care. And everyone is facing similar challenges when it comes to measurement priorities.

But here’s the silver lining: By updating your measurement strategy to better represent today’s challenges, you can turn every customer connection into an opportunity for growth.

In fact, marketers who are already investing in better measurement are seeing huge gains. In a recent study, we found that the top 100 most mature marketers are 4X as likely to exceed business goals, increase market share, and increase revenue as the 100 least mature marketers.1

If you want better marketing measurement but don’t know where to start, here are three simple ways to get going today.

Stop waiting for a perfect solution

You’ll only be able to drive long-term, sustainable growth if you’re measuring the things that matter to your business. That means tying marketing results to business goals.

The mistake too many marketers make is waiting for a “perfect” measurement solution that doesn’t exist.

In the past, marketers were focused on hitting targets or KPIs around engagement, clicks, or awareness, because that’s all we could measure. But thanks to new analytics technology, we can now align marketing metrics with primary business objectives. We can measure the impact of channels, devices, and touchpoints on overall business growth, such as revenue and profit.

But this isn’t an infallible process. Sometimes there are still gaps in the data where it’s just not possible to see the immediate impact of certain metrics on core objectives. But don’t let that hold you back. The mistake too many marketers make is waiting for a “perfect” measurement solution that doesn’t exist. Instead, get to better measurement using proxy metrics, or key directional indicators that are reflective of your business objectives, such as microconversions or store visits.

The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) is a great example. The company’s marketing team knew that measuring the success of its efforts solely on e-commerce sales didn’t paint the whole picture, because so much of its business still comes through in-store sales from retail partners — and that sales data isn’t available to the brand in real time. So ELC used Google’s store visits to uncover a proxy metric. This solution correlates people going into a store with their phones to an ad click and calculates the sales lift. As a result, ELC was able to see the total success of its campaigns and pivot or scale as needed in real time.

Evaluate the entire consumer journey

It can take many touchpoints to make a meaningful, profitable connection with a shopper. That’s why marketers need to look at insights across the entire consumer journey to get a picture of what’s working — and what’s not. It’s important to look across all channels, devices, and touchpoints, rather than viewing them in isolation.

Measurement and ad platforms must be connected, and teams must work together from data that’s unified around audiences, rather than channels.

Good marketing measurement is the key to making the most of these interconnected touchpoints. To that end, measurement and ad platforms must be connected, and teams must work together from data that’s unified around audiences, rather than channels.

For instance, credit card company Discover put in place a conversion application programming interface (API) to enable consistent data import into its attribution solution and ad platform. The API allowed Discover’s team to optimise media across channels through consistent, clean data. When they looked at the conversion API through the lens of cross-channel attribution, it became a critical component in driving business growth across search, video, and display — not just one channel.

Put insights into action

There are tons of data and metrics out there, so it can be tough to know where to focus. There are also complexities around consumer use and consent, so the signals available to marketers can vary significantly for every single impression.

Automation and machine learning can help marketers quickly identify insights critical to business objectives, so that measurement can work better and faster.

Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with this manually anymore. Automation and machine learning can help marketers quickly identify insights critical to business objectives, so measurement can work better and faster. These findings inform bidding, targeting, budget attribution, messaging, and creative. With automation, you can be sure that the right messages are reaching your most valuable customers in real time and at scale.

Airbnb uses machine learning to better understand how to act on measurement insights. It’s a strategy that helps the company create better customer experiences, resulting in better business outcomes.

The company’s teams prioritise experimentation, and those experiments are what lead to C-suite buy-in for large-scale marketing investments. The growth marketing team at Airbnb uses its proprietary experimentation frameworks along with Google's lift studies, driven by machine learning, to confidently attribute the correct value to their marketing and make smarter investment decisions.

Airbnb would be the first to admit its process is not perfect, but it gets the team as close to proving the true business impact of marketing, while investing responsibly and scaling aggressively.

Improve your measurement strategy today

We know better marketing measurement leads to better results. We also know there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all fix. That’s why we’ve partnered with Bain & Company to develop a benchmarking tool so you can see where you are in the race and start making better progress.

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