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Closing the Loop: Gaining Value From Your Marketing Attribution Solution

Volume 6, Issue 3 - March, 2016

Svetlana Filipson, Analytics Manager, Visual IQ

You’ve done the research, consulted with stakeholders, and picked out the perfect attribution solution. You’ve signed the contracts, configured the solution, and now you’re ready to realize its value. But where do you start?

Attribution measurement isn’t something you can just set and forget. To truly realize its value, you must ask the right questions, gather actionable insights, and most importantly, act on those insights. Here’s a five-step process for achieving ongoing success from your attribution solution.

1) Set Marketing Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Gaining value from your attribution solution starts with defining what success looks like. For some companies, it may be increasing sales or improving media efficiency. For others, it may be increasing engagement among new or existing customers. At the same time, KPIs must be identified that map to these marketing goals, so you can measure and quantify your progress. For example, if your goal is to improve media efficiency by 25% in the next 12 months, you can establish a KPI that calculates return on advertising spend (ROAS) and monitor it over time. You may also want to establish macro and micro goals and KPIs, depending on the size of your budget and sophistication of your media. For example, a macro KPI may focus on the combined performance of your marketing overall, whereas a micro KPI may focus on the performance of a specific channel or tactic. Clearly defining your goals and corresponding KPIs is a vital first step, as all subsequent steps will aim to accomplish these objectives.

2) Review Performance
Once you’ve determined your goals and KPIs, it’s time to review your performance. Start at the highest level and work down to the most granular. This means first looking at KPIs that measure marketing effectiveness overall, and then breaking it down by channel, campaign, publisher, device type, keyword, placement, etc. (Note the level of granularity will vary according to your specific media plan).

When looking at channels and more granular media dimensions, start with those that have the most media spend, as changes to these channels/dimensions will often yield the best results and highest savings. Once you have an understanding of what’s working and what’s not, you can use that insight to inform optimizations.

3) Optimize Your Media
Once you’ve established how different dimensions of your marketing are performing, you can use those findings to optimize your media. Often, it’s best to start with the “low handing fruit,” such as:

  • Paid Search: Isolate keywords and/or ad groups with the highest spend and minimal conversions, and pause them
  • Display and Paid Social: (1) Determine the right impression frequency for desired reach and conversion volumes, and set frequency caps for each publisher; and (2) Isolate placements and/or publishers with the highest spend that are yielding minimal conversions, and reallocate budget to more efficient placements/publishers

When optimizing media, it’s important to remember that certain channels may be subject to operational and/or media constraints, so concentrate on the parts you can actually influence. For example, if you know that you have a one year contract with publisher A, then focus on publisher B, or look at specific optimizations you can make within publisher A that are within the confines of your contract. Whatever optimizations you decide to focus on, make sure they will help you achieve your marketing goals defined in step one.

4) Activate Your Optimization Plan
Activating your optimization strategy is the most important step. To meet your goals, you must act on your findings by implementing the optimizations that were identified. As you activate your plan, don’t forget to track the whole process. This means keeping a thorough record of the changes that were made by media channel, media dimension (as applicable), effective date, and team member. If there’s no record of these, then it will be very difficult to accurately evaluate performance after optimizations are put into market.

5) Repeat Steps One Through Four
Step five is to go back to step one and repeat the process. A media plan is a constant work in progress and must be treated as such. It’s best to execute these steps on a set schedule. Start by reviewing performance on a weekly basis, and then scale up to daily or down to bi-weekly or monthly depending on the results you’re seeing.

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