Intelligent marketing: How to address the increasing pressures of tracking online ad spend
The pressure to track online ad spend, prevent losses and make intelligent decisions on advertising activity has certainly increased during 2014.
Not only are CMOs feeling the heat, but higher up the line ears are twitching and questions are being asked about the use of marketing budgets.
The demand to track and prove online ad spend has rapidly intensified - so much so, that frivolous, unjustified marketing decisions can simply not be afforded. By becoming more tech savvy and delving into varying SaaS options, advertisers can unlock a whole new chasm of facts and figures to improve campaign visibility, sharpen tactics and of course, improve ROI.
I have put together some essential ‘need-to-know’ points when it comes to wrapping your head around marketing intelligence, associated pressures with this, challenges ahead and of course, the future.
Making sense of it all
Marketing intelligence and all its guises is no easy feat, and with the increasing pressures to track online ad spend it’s no wonder the landscape can look pretty daunting out there.
Advertisers should be able to at every step, drill down to the nth degree on all activity - and then be able to optimise on all levels. It’s not just about looking at the money being spent or which one channel is driving conversions, but advertisers need to look at how this attributes to the effectiveness of other channels too, and what impact channels have on each other – up and down the funnel.
Pressure to defend
Day-to-day insights aren’t being utilised by most advertisers and they are nowhere near as hands-on as they should be. In my opinion, advertisers need to be taking more control of their advertising spend by monitoring and tracking all online marketing activity.
They should be looking at having their own internal SaaS technologies or technologies that can overlay other products. This means at any point, at any second of the day, they can assess the effectiveness of their campaigns and make real-time changes, if necessary.
When budget holders see a large amount of ad spend produce relatively few conversions, they ask lots of questions around the value of the ad spend. It’s all too easy to say ‘this isn’t as effective as another channel’, but the real pressures that brand CMOs encounter, are the times when they need to defend the spend within that channel.
It is also important to remember that it’s not about dictating how to monitor and pay out on campaigns, it’s about using a platform to provide insight into different marketing stages and to track value back to the sources. This allows the advertiser to decide how they wish to manage their campaigns.
Pitfalls and remedies
As with any new approach there can be pitfalls when dealing with mass amounts of data. Be it charging in full throttle or treading lightly, the whole marketing intelligence and SaaS ecosystem can be overwhelming for advertisers. Two common pitfalls I frequently see are:
- Becoming overwhelmed by visibility – From an advertisers perspective it can be scary when you see how much access and visibility are at your fingertips. There are also concerns that having such an abundance of data can be daunting and confusing. So start slow, it’s important to remember that having the visibility into your data is the first step, and then you can later introduce capabilities to make changes and optimise.
- Underestimating the importance of scalability - Another pitfall I frequently see is when a company shapes business practices around a tracking technology or SaaS platform that serves purpose for them today. Of course when they look to upgrade or develop, they realise they then need to reverse engineer these practices in order to evolve. A business should not have to mould around a platform. The platform needs to mould around the business.
Looking at the state of the current online ad industry in terms of advertisers tracking and proving ad spend, it is clear there is a thirst for greater marketing intelligence.
Understanding and experimenting with attribution strategies, viewing and optimising the varying paths to conversion by using SaaS platforms, and coming to grips with the real-time nature of programmatic, are all key topical areas that can only be explored further with deeper marketing intelligence.
Yes, there are some early adopters which are helping drive increased functionality in attribution platforms, but we still need some of the big players that are on the fence, to stop observing and to start taking action - to help lead the way.
Paul Wright, Managing Director Europe, CAKE
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