Marketing measurement continues to be a pain point for marketers. In a recent survey, when U.S. Digital Media Professionals were asked about their leading challenges, two of the top four were measurement related.
This survey reads very similarly to other industry surveys on measurement challenges throughout the last two decades of digital marketing: it’s hard and we still haven’t yet found a solution.
Marketing measurement is just hard
Why has proper marketing measurement alluded practitioners? Multi-touch attribution (MTA) was supposed to be the holy grail. A decade ago, the promise was that MTA systems would be able to track every ad interaction and then algorithmically weight every ad exposure so marketers could know the real value of their campaigns.
With this approach, the full purchase path is needed to understand the media mix at play which converted a customer. After all, there is certainly a difference when a marketer believes there were just three paid search clicks in a consumer journey versus when there were also dozens of other brand/user preceding interactions from TV commercials, magazine and radio ads, billboards, social media, online video, etc.
So, tracking a full consumer path is critical for valid measurement, but a few major hurdles stand in the way.
- Offline/online touchpoints are hard to join up to individual consumer paths
- User journeys are becoming increasingly complex across channels so there are more touchpoints to track and potentially leaving out ad exposures has become more likely
- Ad exposures are happening across more and more devices which have made it very harder to connect fragmented journeys together
Those are just three of the challenges that modern measurement faces and they aren’t insignificant. In fact, it’s pretty safe to assume that these issues will persist.
But, the biggest problem facing the state of today’s marketing measurement is the new limitations of the third-party cookie.
And now measurement gets harder without the cookie…
Third-party cookies have been the backbone infrastructure to modern digital marketing measurement but have been criticized by privacy advocates as not protecting consumer data. Earlier this year, Google announced that it will be severely limiting third-party cookie tracking (in its Chrome browser) and that announcement—although they backed off of it a bit in light of the COVID-19 crisis—was the “final nail in the coffin” after other sweeping consumer data policy changes from browsers and governmental regulations.
What should marketers do?
As great the potential of multi-touch attribution was, it came out at a time when 99% of online consumer activity was easily tracked via a single desktop/laptop computer. Even though there were certainly gaps in tracking all touchpoints, it was treated as a livable discrepancy.
However, in the light of the various challenges stated above PLUS the fact that third-party cookies are going to be severely limited, there’s only one option for the future of marketing measurement…
….a cookieless measurement solution is needed.
It is simply now a prerequisite for marketing measurement moving forward.
Incrementality testing is the cookieless measurement solution
Incrementality testing compares the marketing results between a test group and a control group. Using this method, marketers can easily isolate the affected variables, clearly assess immediate business impact, and formulate data-driven actions to take. With incrementality testing, advertisers can better understand if the KPIs are a direct result of their own campaigns or extraneous effects.
Incrementality testing has been around for a long time, but it has historically been slow, expensive, and complex. MTA was seen as a fast, inexpensive, and easy way to do marketing measurement so it became the defacto standard for the advertising industry.
However, new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are solving the initial challenges of incrementality testing. Now it can be run by standard marketing teams, won’t break the bank, and can deliver insights with the speed it needs.
Skai’s Impact Navigator is an example of an incrementality solution that can drive powerful insights for marketers to drive data-driven decision making. As a foundation to test-and-learn marketing organizations, Impact Navigator can get the answers to some of the most important questions such as how to measure cross-channel ad performance and even how the offline/online media mix works together to drive conversion activity.
Most importantly, it doesn’t use third-party cookies to come up with sound conclusions—it actually does not use any tracking at all. This cookieless measurement approach is critical in the future of marketing.
Get up to speed on incrementality before the cookie crumbles
Changing the way your marketing organization measures its performance to a cookieless measurement solution is not as simple as getting an incrementality tool. You will need time to figure out best practices and set benchmarks in order to best guide your team on how to leverage this approach.
Contact us today to see a brief demo of Impact Navigator so that you can evaluate how it could be used at your company.
Now is the time for you and your team to be trying out incrementally, testing new ideas, and building a test-and-learn approach to figure out when and how to use it—before third-party cookies go away as part of the measurement infrastructure.