Measurement matters: Laying a foundation for better measurement, today and tomorrow

Babak Pahlavan Mar 2018 Research & Data

When we talk to marketers about their challenges and needs in digital, measurement always finds its way to the center of the conversation. We've heard from advertisers large and small that measurement on digital can be difficult and often complex. But it’s also critical to address, because effective measurement is foundational to growth.

That might sound a bit lofty, but it’s true. Better measurement helps businesses uncover the best ways to invest their limited marketing resources. Which leads to better marketing, which leads to new customers and continued growth.  

But how do you define better measurement? We’ve invested a lot of time listening to our advertisers and industry partners, and we’ve consistently heard that, to be effective, measurement solutions must be:

  • Trustworthy: They must be transparent and easily verified by advertisers, publishers, and third parties, including technology providers and industry standards groups.
  • Intelligent: They must uncover the insights that really matter to a business—which often means using the latest advancements in areas like machine learning and going way beyond simple reporting.
  • Actionable: They must be easy to act on, so advertisers can quickly fine-tune or change their strategy, turning metrics and insights into real business impact.
1220 Inline 01 Updated

Forward-looking marketers recognize the importance of delivering on these requirements. “As a strategic partner in this ecosystem, it’s our job to help our brand partners navigate complex measurement processes, and ensure that data is reliable and transparent,” said George Popstefanov, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency PMG. “They should never have to compromise in this area. The digital marketing landscape will constantly evolve, but the foundational pillars of measurement will continue to rest on transparency, business-impacting insights, and applicability.”

As digital marketing has evolved and grown, we've worked with a variety of partners to deliver measurement solutions that meet these expectations. Today's challenges make it even more important that we find solutions together.

Working together with partners

Partnerships play a critical role in our measurement strategy, as evidenced by the more than 100 integrations we support with measurement partners across our products. Our partnerships with third parties allow us to:

  • Expand coverage: Google has a view across a large portion of a consumer’s interactions with a brand, but there are parts of the journey that we don’t see. Partners help us fill in the gaps so our advertisers get a complete picture.
  • Enable choice: We strive to build great measurement solutions ourselves, but ultimately we believe it’s up to each advertiser to pick what’s right for them. By working closely with verified partners, we can make sure that advertisers get accurate, timely data, regardless of the solution they choose.
  • Advance the industry: Actively partnering with industry groups, such as the IAB, IAB Tech Lab, MRC, JICWEBS, TAG, and the Better Ads Coalition, allows us to contribute to the development of industry standards and fresh approaches to measurement that we hope advance the industry overall.
1220 Inline 02 Updated

Trust as the foundation

While it’s critical for measurement solutions to be intelligent and actionable, trust is the foundation. If you are relying on measurement tools to make important business decisions, you have to trust what they are telling you.

“Marketers need to be able to trust that the metrics they're seeing are real,” says Priceline VP of Marketing Analytics Toby Korner. “If there are inconsistencies with our data and how it is analyzed, our decisions will be inefficient at best, and certainly will fall short of unleashing the full potential of our business."

Viewability is a great example of why trust in measurement is so critical. Today, advertisers often struggle with media placements that don’t even have a chance to be viewed by people. Worse yet, many vendors promote misleading or, in some cases, downright deceptive measures of viewability.

We know from research that, for an ad to have impact, the opportunity to be seen isn’t just important, it’s fundamental. The Media Rating Council (MRC) has defined a clear standard for what it means to be viewable (at least 50% of an ad must be in view for a minimum of one second for display ads and two seconds for video ads).

We fully subscribe to the MRC viewability standard, and our viewable impression measurement technology is provided across our advertising platforms at no charge. By standing behind MRC viewability as the minimum standard, we stand on the side of advertisers everywhere who deserve transparency and fairness in their media buys.

Looking toward the future

We think the future of measurement will be defined by three key trends:

  • Measuring cross-everything: Marketers must be able to measure cross-channel, cross-platform, cross-device, and eventually cross-media. This will give marketers an even more complete and accurate picture of how people really shop and buy.
  • Proving business impact: Marketers will increasingly focus on metrics that show a direct impact on business outcomes. As technology continues to advance, marketers will gain access to new measurement solutions that help them see the impact of their marketing on outcomes like revenue and profit.
  • Relying on machine learning: Finally, marketers will rely more and more on machine learning and automation to help them manage the explosion of data signals available to measure. Machine learning will be required to help rationalize all of the data available and identify the specific, actionable insights they can apply to their marketing to drive growth.
1220 Inline 03 Updated

"Data is the most crucial enabler for making business growth decisions,” says Tamir Jerby, VP of growth at Lemonade, a start-up working to disrupt the homeowner’s and renter’s insurance market with a digital-first approach to marketing. “By leveraging AI and machine learning, we must strive for a trusted and accurate decision, that provides us with insights we never thought of before. Then, it should be very easy to act upon and modify as we move forward."

Measurement may be one of the most important and complex challenges advertisers face—but it’s also a big opportunity. With trust and transparency as the foundation, we are ready to partner across the industry to help advertisers continue to advance their measurement strategies and grow their business.

Is your 2018 marketing strategy leading or lagging?