Digital Measurement

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In AOL Chairman Tim Armstrong’s earnings call yesterday, he spoke of “One insertion order, all screens” which is an awfully bold idea.  Continuity focused media planners aside, creating an ad and promotion that is arrayed across a number of media screen and types (not all media is screen-based) offers a media lab that will be tres helpful to marketers.

When advertising doesn’t work, who do we blame?  “When the phone don’t ring,” the country song goes, “it’ll be me.”  But with a number of ads in different media situations performing and measured by big data analytics, marketers have something tangible to work with. They won’t just be looking at the voids.

Let me vamp here. Say you go to AOL and buy 2 million impressions – all at a blended CPM rate.  Some or on Huff Post, others on local editions of Patch, more on a video channel or mobile site.  Perhaps a TV component or podcast.  Measuring and managing that activity, by media, offer, and message will be cool dashboard stuff.  Then overlay some demographic data on the performance and you have veritable marketing fun house. Of course there will be some mess, but big gains usually start messy. Como se the Affordable Healthcare Act? Peace.

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Here’s a marketing dashboard for you: A daily view of money coming in and a daily view of money going out.  As they say on the Long Island Rail Road “Please watch the gap.”  Cursor over the money coming in and it should be able to show drop downs of the various expenses by category. Cursor over the money going out, the same.  If you can’t parse the ins and outs by day, look at the data by week or in three week rolling averages. That’s Da Monies.

Factors Influencing Revenue.

Money going in and out is a nice start but tying actual tactics and events to spikes and dips is what is exciting.  Pumping GRPs of TV into the market should create revenue lift.  Promotions the same.  A big bad news story in St. Louis might create a dip. As might a poor earnings reports.  Careful monitoring and modulation of marketing dollars, based on a game plan and strategy, introduces a higher level of accountability to marketing. But it’s not often happening.  In healthcare, there are chief quality officers, who own the data.  When physician mistakes are up or when hospital born infections trend high, the average patient discharge rate slows down. Where is this type oversight in marketing? With the CMO?

The Opportunity.

I’m sure P&G has some dashboard jockeys.  One of them will be a millionaire soon if s/he figures out a marketing dashboard application that ties Da Monies to the marketing.  With precision. Elegance. And with standardization.  Coming to an iPhone near you. Peace!

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I haven’t written about ROS (return on strategy) for a while but on the heels of my empanelment at OMMA Performance this week I’ve given it some more thought.  One of the good things heard discussed at OMMA was the metric “intent to purchase.”  As one person said, however, I may walk around the Jaguar dealership with an intent to purchase, but without consummation (check writing) it doesn’t makes the commerce world go round.

Another important metric discussed was the Net Promoter Score – scoring one consumer’s willingness to recommend a product.  These  two metrics are moving in the right direction and are good dashboard measures. Time on site, bounce rate, “like,” page views, are nice directional metrics but can’t always be attributed to a sale. The quants may disagree.


If you can’t create a value for an action, how are you going to create a value for a strategy?  The strategy for a billion dollar health system was built upon the following brand planks: leading edge treatments and technology, information and resource sharing, and community integration.  Combined, these 3 consumer care-abouts were projected as the business-winning marketing strategy. How do you measure the effectiveness of that strategy? Consumer attitude studies tying the brand plank metrics to KPIs such as beds filled, procedures completed, re-admits, profitability are certainly doable.  But how might one measure the strategy effectiveness using the web?  Thoughts?  Einsteins?

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Yesterday, I was on a panel at OMMA Performance in NYC called “The dream of the Digital Dashboard.”  (OMMA stands for Online Media Marketing and Advertising.) The program, curated by Cory Treffiletti — president of Catalyst S+F, a great digital strategy shop — was quite good. (One of the speakers was from, check it out.)

On my panel I mentioned that tactics-palooza has created the need for dashboards and one of my panel mates, Marc Kiven, repurposed the sound bite into datapalooza, which had some serious ballast with the audience.  Nice ear Marc. (Sorry, had to say that.)

Datapalooza reminded me of a meeting I attended a while ago in which someone from AT&T network management said “We need to collect all this performance data, then do something smart with it.”  It’s a word string, I never forgot. Today digital marketers are so covered in data it has become harder and harder to do something smart.  One reason is interoperability.  Most reports capture time on site, links clicked, referrals, browser type, geography, device, bounce, last page visited — times a hundred. And even though we’re in the age of open standards I sense many of these data points remain in unique software homes…not portable to other behavioral data sources and feeds.

This interoperability issue reminds me of voice mail.  Have you ever moved from one job to another and had to learn new voice mail prompts?  What a pain.  If we are to improve the performance of digital performance, the industry needs to think about some basic standards. Perhaps that will transform datapalooza into a more sonorous environment.  Peace!

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