- The Convergence of Marketing and Communications
- More Influencer Marketing/Sponsored Content
Metrics—This Year, Accuracy in Measurement
- Right-Time (Rather Than Real-Time) Marketing
- Video (More and Better)
If there is one consistent question we are hearing from clients across the board, it is this: what are the metrics?
What does that mean?
Clients have always been interested in metrics that can give them some idea of how ads are performing, and what their ROI is from the ad spend.
And so, until recently, we showered them with numbers and figures until they became dizzy. Once properly confused, we hit them with some buzz words and comments about viral, and off we go.
Digital marketing folks are no different. They get enamored with various metrics—reach, clicks, engagement (Likes and comments), views, completion rates and on and on. It’s not that we are faking performance measurements, it’s largely that the industry has not been able to figure out exactly what the value of a “post like” is. Granted, the industry is still new compared to an ad in the NY Times, but it is mature enough that we should be providing clients with metrics that matter.
And what matters?
Clients want measurable results that help their bottom line —financially, for their reputation, or in affecting public policy. It’s as simple as that. And it is not an unreasonable request.
But how exactly to gather and deliver metrics to clients is the bigger question. Bombarding your clients with numbers and jargon is no help. And clients also are quite aware of news about questionable metrics from some large platforms (Facebook, to name one). So they are (rightfully) skeptical about some claims.
Even “industry standards” in the digital marketing world are met with raised eyebrows.
This year, I see clients demanding from and rewarding those firms who can demonstrate real world results. And it’s going to require marketers to invest dollars in real world measuring tools:
- If you’re selling widgets, you’d better have conversion tracking and a sales funnel dialed in. You should be able to tell your client a cost per lead and cost per sale.
- If you are building a brand or working in a crisis communications situation, you’d better set aside money for “brand lift” measurement tools to see if you have moved the needle on sentiment.
- I also see digital marketers pulling in older tools like consumer polling and other measurement tools to add to their analysis. This allows marketers to understand just how deep their digital campaign went into the public consciousness.
The day-to-day metrics we have been using will still be used internally to optimize ad performance and to adjust course as needed but, ultimately, clients are going to be demanding more real world proof that their dollars are being spent wisely. It’s the real world measurement tools that we need to start budgeting for in 2017 and beyond.
Finally, I see some uniformity arising on metrics for digital and traditional media. For example, online video views coming inline with gross rating points for television, and so forth. That should help the digital marketing world speak to their clients when developing ad strategies.
None of this should be frightening for a client or an agency. The better the metrics are that we can get—the faster, the more accurate, and the closer to real time—the better off all of us will be. The money will continue to come for digital marketing. We just have to prove we are being responsible with it.