Posts Tagged ‘web analytics’

ROI Measurement for Online Marketers

January 10th, 2011

Throughout 2010, I had the pleasure of speaking to audiences in Washington DC, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose (California and Costa Rica!) and Houston on one of my favorite topics: measuring results from online marketing.  While I’ve been speaking about measuring impact and quantifying ROI for years, it was clear that marketers are increasingly shifting their focus to measurement and accountability.

When I asked attendees what they were hoping to gain from the session, one DC marketer said only half-jokingly “to justify my existence”.  I remembered it because it was funny, but also because it’s true.  Marketing budgets are still very tight, and every dollar that is spent has to be justified.  Consequently, there is an increasing focus on measuring results and demonstrating an acceptable ROI.  This not only requires  knowledge and tools, but also the ability to translate online metrics into business results that are understood by the c-level.

My presentation Closing the Gap on ROI Measurement addresses these issues in today’s context, where results matter.  The contents include:

  • How “above the line” and “below the line” are merging – digital goes through the line
  • Challenges faced by marketers today
  • How to translate online metrics into business results
  • Roadmap for Measurement Success
  • Online Surveys
  • Attribution Analysis
  • ROI Methodology
  • Case Studies to demonstrate each concept

As always, comments are welcome.  And feel free to share!

Steve Latham


Spur Interactive TwitterContact-us3c


Making Sense of Online Campaign Results – Part 2

October 3rd, 2008

Earlier this week I posted the first of two articles on the challenges of making sense of online campaign results.  The first posting addressed the shortcomings of relying on cookie-based tracking to quantify results.  This posting addresses the supporting role of display and email ads, and explains why Google gets more credit than it should for your online marketing success.  I use an analogy we can all relate to… the proverbial Wingman.

The Wingman Effect
Another impediment to measurement is that most analytics platforms (including Google Analytics) were designed to attribute credit for an action to the last medium clicked. As noted above, user engagement typically entails multiple touch-points, both online and offline. Especially true with considered purchases, customers often make multiple visits, by way of multiple paths (e.g. display ad, search, direct nav), before taking action. Even if all of the visits are done on the same computer (and you COULD track using cookies), assigning credit for the lead or sale to the last click provides only part of the picture, and it generally rewards Search at the expense of Display, Email, Social and other media.

Using a crude analogy, consider the proverbial Wingman.  Picture two guys out at dinner and they see an attractive woman. You know the routine – one guy is the leader; the other is his Wingman.  The job of the Wingman is to support his pal.  He is often the one who initiates conversation and breaks the ice so his friend can move in for the kill. If the lead guy gets a phone number or email address, he knows he has the Wingman to thank for the assist.

In online marketing, Display is often the Wingman, the one who starts the conversation, while Search is the guy who gets most of the dates. But unlike the example above, Search gets all the credit and the Wingman’s contribution goes unnoticed. Moreover, because his contribution is not noticed, he may not be invited the next time they go out. Media planners often cut ad buys because they can’t see the supporting role they play in the engagement cycle. If they don’t drive directly actions, based on last-click analysis, conventional wisdom dictates you stop buying them. This ultimately works against you and will result in fewer conversations that lead to your desired results.

The takeaway for marketers is that you need to track interaction through the engagement cycle. Recently coined “Engagement Mapping” by Atlas (now part of Microsoft), savvy marketers are now tracking the first, middle and last clicks to determine how each media unit impacts results.

As we’ve seen firsthand on numerous campaigns, for every lead or sale you can directly attribute to an ad unit, there are 0.5 to 2.0 actions that are not traceable due to the reasons cited above.

While these are formidable challenges, do not despair – there are affordable, proven methods for overcoming both of them. Since this is how we make a living, I can’t share all the secrets with you. But I can provide some general recommendations.

First, you need to take a strategic approach to engagement mapping that will shed light on the various contributions (lead, supporting, etc.) your various online media units play in the engagement cycle. Once you understand which units create awareness, and which ones close the deal, you can produce smarter media plans.

Second, you should treat every campaign as a learning experience and make systematic media testing an ongoing program. By varying flight dates of various media, you can will gain better insights into the performance and contribution of your online media mix.

Lastly, you have to look at the overall lift in site traffic and activity, not just the visits that are directly attributable to specific ads. Don’t underestimate the tendency for people to take action on their 2nd, 3rd or 4th visits. Take a holistic view and you’ll see a much clearer picture.

As always, your comments are welcome, so make your voice heard.  And if you think this is great – please share with your colleagues!