Measuring digital engagement in modern multi-channel marketing

Measuring digital engagement across a modern multi-channel customer journey is no easy feat for marketers and advertisers. Attributing an investment in marketing resources to an actual outcome has become very difficult as channels of customer engagement become more tightly integrated. Measuring cross-channel attribution is the number one greatest challenge in digital marketing today.

There are no industry standards that help marketers measure the connection between digital touch points. Crossing from mobile to social to desktop, and into the physical store and back through the call center spans across numerous disparate data sets and siloed organizational structures.  Today, we rely on measurement models that are successful for one channel; however, when applied across a multi-channel marketing strategy, they leave much of the digital spectrum unmonitored.

As you consider how to measure the effects of your various digital marketing endeavors, it’s important you focus first on your business fundamentals, then push your imagination to expand how you capture insights on prospective and existing customer behaviors.

Start with the basics

A complete, and competent digital marketing measurement model will focus on three key areas:

  1. ACQUISITION:  Use your foundation media components – Earned, Owned and Paid – to shape your strategy on acquiring net-new revenue.  Note: this step can easily be exchanged for RETENTION or CROSS-SELL.
  2. BEHAVIOR:  Define the prescribed path – and what those milestones are in terms of human behavior – that you want your target audience to travel.
  3. OUTCOMES:   Identify with absolute certainty what signifies value delivered to the business bottom-line.

Avinash Kaushik, the highly skilled digital marketing evangelist for Google, offers a simple, structured process needed to define each of the above three areas.

  • Identify your business objectives upfront and set the broadest parameters for the endeavor.
  • Define measurable goals for each business objective.
  • Establish upfront parameters for success by identifying targets for each key performance indicators (KPI).
  • Empirically define your target audience profile using actual transaction data or look-alike profile predictions so you can measure behavioral response.

Remember, in modern multi-channel marketing, look to both economic and non-economic goals to track desired outcomes and determine the success or failure based on the performance of the campaign.

Modern marketing has revenue goals

Digital marketers should see their efforts as part of the larger journey through the sales process.  Align individual sales and marketing efforts using a traditional opportunity funnel to connect digital demand generation, vetting marketing qualified leads, and converting sales qualified leads into one streamlined work flow.

  • Drive awareness and interest at the top of the funnel (broad message and experiences to connect emotionally with LOTS of people – cultural relevance at scale)
  • Drive consideration in the middle of the funnel (more focused and benefit-driven experiences targeted to a smaller number of people who have shown that they might be prospects)
  • Drive purchase/lead-generation at the bottom of the funnel (call-to-action oriented message targeted to people who are in-market for the product and ready to buy

Attribution and ROI

Attribution and ROI metrics need to piece together the increasingly fragmented path to conversion, connecting online to offline and across all your channels. You are looking for deeper, more accurate engagement metrics to measure cross-device consumer journeys.

Don’t get caught up measuring only one aspect of an integrated marketing effort.  As multi-channel marketing becomes the norm, traditional digital metrics (CTR, CPA, etc) can end up causing misplaced advertising budgets. Consider the historically popular measurement, “reach.” This is simply a vanity metric that is easily misrepresented (can you say Clickbait?). According to Neilsen, 46% of ads are not even reaching the right audience, so make sure you look at a realistic customer journey to define the attributes that best reflect your success.

Monitor the ‘fringe’ of marketing analytics

Be ever watchful of new and innovative ways to connect the increasingly integrated customer journey.  The sophistication of digital measurement will evolve rapidly and you have to make a concerted effort to stay ahead (or simply stay abreast) of new developments.

Consider the qualitative assessment of emotion as measured through social channels using AI machine learning. Or measure how far down a page a visitor scrolls to assess the value of your message.  By analyzing the frequency of audience comments across participants on your paid media assets, you can start to paint a brand loyalty picture.

For the real innovators, look at the the “Shapley Value” which calculates the value of a video game player for their multi-player contribution to winning the game. This can be a useful theory for attribution by helping answer the question of which touch points are helping to further the campaign.