Today, every customer is leaving behind vast amounts of data while shopping online, providing marketers with numerous indications of their personality, their preferences and their purchase intentions. Each point of contact with an individual customer can be tracked across channels and evaluated according to the role it played in the purchase decision process.
To be able to interpret this data correctly and use it appropriately for campaign control does not only require very powerful technology but new KPIs, too. In fact, there are many reasons why a new "basis of assessment" for campaigns is urgently needed to adapt to future developments:
- The customer journey takes place on a cross-channel basis: according to experts, a customer visits usually 10 to 20 touchpoints across all industries, using several devices before the transaction takes place. It is naïve to believe that only the last touchpoint affects the purchase decision. Buying decisions are simply much more complex, hence, it is wrong to attribute the transaction to the last point of contact.
- Of course, each channel optimization is according to the common KPIs, such as views, clicks or CPC, however, a 360-degree view of the campaign can’t be obtained that way: if, for instance, customer centricity is the stated goal, all channels must progressively grow together and then influence each other. In this case, user signals are becoming increasingly important and determine the overall orchestration of the touchpoints in online campaigns: social signals, for instance, can become relevant for the optimization of activities such as SEM. In other words, data driven marketing gives companies enormous potential for optimization: a complex, data-driven viewing perspective reveals new opportunities and uncovers past mistakes. It influences all elements of a campaign planning - from the strategic positioning in the channels, to the budget planning and allocation, to the campaign management, and performance measurement through KPIs. And because that is so, it is also clear that their non-observance inevitably leads to wrong decisions.
- Enormous computing power leads to dynamic attribution: 10 to 20 different touchpoints in different contexts and times produce a lot of data. Analyzing them and reacting to them in real-time on a real-time basis requires a lot of computing power, which can only be achieved using artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of AI, advertisers can better understand and forecast customer behavior and take appropriate action. In addition, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, target groups can be considered in a more and more granular manner, which makes an impact on the media booking. The advertising approach can be anywhere, because target groups can be defined in detail and addressed in real time. If ten years ago, brands were predominantly introducing touchpoints with the customer, today customers often decide how to get in contact with the brand - e.g. via social media, search, reviews, etc. This means that the customer must get pertinent offers at the right moment and both the creative idea and the format must fit the person, the device and the user situation.
- New KPIs needed for ‘new insights’: social media channels introduce new KPIs, such as the engagement rate (Shares, Likes, Comments etc.). The new technical possibilities now allow, for instance, to expand these existing KPIs with additional content, making them even more meaningful this way: engagement rates could, for example, also include metrics for retention time, providing cross-channel information about the success of a campaign or touchpoint. In the retail sector, all channels could be optimized to a ‘cost-sales ratio’ based on attributed values, including return rate and a customer lifetime value. This approach influences the optimization in the channels, but also the cross-channel budget allocation and objective. Today, some touchpoints take on a whole new significance in the marketing mix of a performance campaign and demand a radical rethinking from the advertiser: e.g. a video on Facebook is then no longer just a source of inspiration, but a point of contact that - thanks to the new knowledge – verifiably and significantly contributes to achieving the desired conversion rate.
But although you can measure everything by now, it doesn’t mean you know in the initial phase what are good and bad metrics. Benchmarks are often in short supply, making experiences immensely important. Hence, there is no other option than testing for all one is worth in order to then conversely have meaningful KPIs - especially since currently established standards do not (yet) exist.
A complex, data-driven viewing perspective reveals new opportunities and uncovers past mistakes. It influences all elements of a campaign planning - from the strategic positioning in the channels to the budget planning and allocation to the campaign management and performance measurement through KPIs. Don’t you think so?
By Daniela La Marca