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The evolution of measurement, part II: The value of online and offline

Digital media is an online conversation. Yet too many marketers focus only on the online outcomes. And as marketers, we face multiple challenges including adhering to our budgets, meeting and exceeding our sales targets and ensuring we’re not wasting funds.

As my colleague shared in his recent blog, marketers waste an average of 26% of their budgets on ineffective strategies. Why? Because measurement is perceived as being difficult to obtain. But does it have to be? Not if you have the right marketing solution in place, comprised of both product and strategy. Here we’ll explore how to ‘connect the dots’ between online and offline transactions  and how to obtain the full view of your performance.

If you’re struggling to connect your online and offline performance, you’re not alone. Oftentimes marketers focus on measuring only their online performance (like clicks and impressions) because they don’t have solutions in place that tie their digital advertising back to actual sales. And, they don’t know if their digital efforts are driving offline purchases.

As Ric Elert (President of Conversant Media) recently shared in an interview with Marketing Insight, “90% of the CMOs we work with have a goal of growing revenues. A lot of them struggle with this because it’s both online and offline channels that really show the picture of all their interactions with their customer base. Finding a way to look at all of those channels and events under one central identity is one of the biggest challenges.” 

We’ve learned that the reason why many marketers are unable to develop and track one single identity is because they are working with multiple data partners. Many companies, like the walled gardens, have a limited view into the connection between online and offline and many are outsourcing their offline measurement to a third party. The more hands are on your data, the more data loss you experience, resulting in an inaccurate view of measurement. 

3 tips for achieving an integrated digital media strategy

  • Know what items are within the offline order: Measuring both online and offline performance is a critical component to a successful measurement strategy. In a world of expanding media choices and consumer touchpoints, it’s even more important that you can connect your online and offline channels. And despite the rise of mobile, brick-and-mortar remains a thriving channel. Research found that 80% of consumers in every generation have recently shopped in store, and there is a preference for visiting stores for almost every generation. You must be able to identify that when your customer purchases items for her young children online is the exact same person when she does fall and spring in-store shopping for herself. Many budgets are focused on driving specific SKUs or promoting products in a specific category. It’s important for marketers to know each category sale.
  • Measuring offline sales more frequently is the best approach: Some marketers measure offline results episodically such as once a month or once after a 60-day campaign. This results in wasted spend because campaigns can’t optimize to ‘in-campaign’ results. As marketers, we need to think about how optimization can change during seasonal peaks such as back-to-school or other holiday related events. Consumers no longer take a linear path to make a purchase and one channel influences the other. Think about yourself as a consumer on your path to purchase. A digital ad appears on your phone for the new sneakers you’ve been longing for. You think to yourself, “Should I make the purchase now, or do I go in-store to try them on so I can experience first-hand if they are as comfortable as the ad states?” What’s the end result? Was the purchase made right then and there, did browsing occur on the retailer’s website via a laptop and then was the purchase made a few days later in-store? Can you make the connection? As a marketer, how do you know if your investment is driving these types of purchases when maybe most of your transactions are happening offline? You need an integrated and holistic experience to get a more accurate representation of your digital media performance and its impact on revenue.
  • Fixing identity is the first step to fixing measurement: While cookies provide insights into consumers’ behaviors and help fuel campaigns with offer ideas, they’re not effective for identifying the activity of one Brands could view a consumer via 27 different cookies (on multiple devices). These multiple online activities need to connect back to the individual to truly measure business outcomes. To achieve performance-based measurement and connect it back to revenue, marketers need to follow their customers from online all the way to the check-out line and then match those transactions back to an individual or persistent profile. Without individual-level measurement, brands cannot accurately measure ROI.

So once you understand ‘the how-to’ component of creating an integrated digital media strategy, applying a measurement technique to connect the dots between online and offline transactions is essential. Conversant’s closed-loop measurement approach helps these dots to be connected. Conversant’s media measures both online and offline conversion events which provides marketers with the ability to connect every interaction with a customer to online and offline sales which helps brands understand how their programs are performing.

Now is a great time to evaluate your digital media marketing program to ensure you’re delivering results. When assessing or selecting a digital media vendor, ask questions to ensure you’re on the right path for putting an effective measurement strategy:

  • Are you able to tie consumer online behavior back to offline purchases?
  • What’s the impact of revenue when ‘these dots’ are connected?

Remember, at the end of the day your number one goal is business performance. And being able to have a holistic view of measurement across both online and offline will help you evolve from being a cost center to a growth driver while reaching your marketing goals.

To learn more about Conversant's closed-loop measurement approach click here