There are three critical factors marketers should consider when evaluating technology partners to support an incrementality measurement framework – data management, experimentation, and reporting.
Marketing data warehouse
As data is ingested from channels, technology partners, agencies, ecommerce platforms, CRM systems, and countless other disparate sources, it must be normalized and organized so it can effectively be used to reveal intelligence that marketers can act upon. Marketers need a data warehouse.
The best data warehouses for incrementality measurement are purpose built for marketing analytics and allow marketers to stop wasting precious time organizing and operationalizing data and start using it to optimize media investments.
What to look for in an MDW
Connections to all required data sources
- Active connectivity to media partners and platforms is only the tip of the iceberg. Accurate, independent experiments require direct connections to system-of-record transaction data stores owned by the brand.
Automated data ingestion and harmonization
- Every platform and source of data, from Facebook, to Shopify, to Salesforce, uses unique data taxonomies, naming conventions, metric calculations, and delivery schedules. An MDW should automatically harmonize ingested data based on taxonomies chosen by the user, ensuring marketers receive clean data that is organized for their needs.
Data portability and ownership
- The data stored and managed within an MDW should be owned by the brand and exportable for use by other systems, like MMM modeling, sales reporting tools, CRM etc. There is potential for significant cost savings when normalized data from an MDW is made available for use across the business.
Compliance support and a data clean room
- Security cannot be an afterthought when consumer data is involved. A data warehouse provider should have SSAE-18 / SOC 2 certification and offer compliance support for the latest privacy regulations, like CCPA/CPRA and GDPR. User-level data should be anonymized in a compliant way in a neutral data-processing environment, like a data clean room.
Guaranteed data quality
- If the data isn’t valid, the results aren’t either. An MDW vendor should provide proactive monitoring to detect and rectify any failures, breakages, or data reconciliation issues at every stage, from ingestion to reporting.
There are many platforms and vendors claiming to measure incrementality, but not all experiments are created equal. The true incremental contribution of media to business outcomes can only be measured with genuine, test-and-control scientific experimentation. Brands should look for an independent partner that automates and manages the complexities of experiment design and execution, so marketers can focus on getting value out of the results.
What to look for in an experimentation provider
Experiments that can be run independent of platform reporting bias
- While in-platform conversion lift testing is still available on some channels, the disintegration of user-level tracking has made them unreliable. Measurement vendors that rely on them to model incrementality will suffer from the same inaccuracies.
Automated experiments and ongoing insights
- Some experiment providers expect the marketer to manually create and manage campaigns to be tested in the chosen platform. Not only is this process tedious and ripe for human error, it lacks the ability to execute these experiments at scale and over time. Once marketers have determined the questions that need answering, an ideal measurement solution will be highly automated and easily managed – from design of experiments to delivering results.
Offers experiments for all addressable and non-addressable media
- Proper test and control experiments can be run in any media environment. Marketers should find a partner that is capable of testing for incrementality on every channel in their portfolio (and any they may want to add in the future)
Reporting and decisioning tools
Properly designed and executed marketing experiments can calculate the incrementality of media, but the real value comes in effectively applying that insight across the media portfolio. This is the point where many marketing organizations become bogged down in data aggregation, spending too many hours per week compiling performance data into spreadsheets.
Reporting should be trusted to answer important questions and validate decisions. Marketers need a comprehensive dashboard and automated reports that are structured for the specific needs of their organization.
What to look for in an analytics and reporting tool
- An effective reporting tool should mean never having to manually compile results from disparate performance reports again. Every brand and marketing team has unique priorities when it comes to what they need to see and how they report results into the business. Marketers should list the results and views that are important and ensure the reporting tool they choose can deliver them without extensive adjustments.
Provides views and reports required by the brand
Popular dashboard views and reports
- Top channels by incremental ROAS
- Worst performing channels by incremental CPA
- Informing budget allocation
Channel specific views
- Most incremental campaigns and ad sets
- Saturation and scale reports
- On-site retargeting incrementality
DTC specific reports
- New vs existing customers
- Customer lifetime value
- Recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) segmentation
- Customer retention analysis
- The “how” shouldn’t be hidden. Many of the trust issues between brands, platforms and solution providers in the industry can be traced back to black box attribution providers of the past. Ultimately, marketers may not want or need to look behind the curtain to see how experiment results become actionable insights, but they should have the peace of mind that comes with the option to do so.
- The agility to keep up with the rapid pace of change in a DTC environment requires the most current information available. Reporting dashboards should be refreshed regularly, ideally daily, to reconcile media data with business data and ensure insights are reliable and relevant.
Incrementality measurement: The time is now
Using experiments to test the incremental contribution of media to your business is the best way to make informed marketing decisions that fuel growth.
Only Measured delivers ongoing, reliable insights based on scientifically sound experiment designs that incorporate our clients’ source of truth transaction data. Everything is automated – ingestion and management of data from hundreds of sources, experiment design and implementation, and continuous reporting for confident, agile decision-making.
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