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People stand as the unifier between devices and metrics, says Facebook director of marketing science

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

Digital metrics have blossomed with the proliferation of devices, with each device having a metric of their own, yet such siloed measurements are not telling the full story, says Georges Mao, director of marketing science, Facebook APAC.

Speaking at Agoda Outside’s - an undertaking from that focuses on exchanging ideas, research and information - first event on big data, Mao notes that every medium has a proxy for evaluating the success and development of their metrics.

“If you think about three centuries ago, the development of print was through subscribers, and people were staring to count the readers as a proxy for that, but soon realised that subscribers is the right proxy,” said Mao.

Even with radio then television, measuring the success of each medium has become a big industry, with ratings based on a 1,000 to 2,000 people sample size notes Mao.

“The consistency of quality of the ratings have been driving the quality of the development of the medium,” said Mao.

As for digital metrics development, it has been centred around data-based and sensor-based metrics. “We started with the desktop, with click-through and cookies as a optimising the measures, the takeaway is that every single medium has a specific proxy and a specific metrics, but it complicate things for marketers.

“If you think about it the proliferation of devices and the possibilities of connecting with the people makes it a nightmare for marketers to deliver the right message at the right moment. At the end of the day what is the unifier between the device and the metrics are the people,” he added.

Marketers than have to think about the consumer journey across multiple devices, or risk missing out on opportunities that they are looking for, noted Mao.

“Someone may start considering to purchase a set of headphones on a mobile [device], then going to look for the headphones on their laptop, and finally finding the headphones on a tablet before finalising the purchase in the store.

“That’s not uncommon, we’re see a lot of paths to purchase using at least three different devices before completing the purchase in store or a computer or a mobile device,” he added.

If you were just focused on measurements from cookies, you would be missing all of that. “You’ll be missing all of the interactions that are going to be in-app,” he said.

“The purpose of digital cross-devices than is to connect the dots between the people and a reliable measurement that accounts for that, to the appropriate destinations."

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

Underscoring the point about the effect of bad metrics on the marketplace, Mao notes that cookies are a misleading metric.

“When comparing between the reach and frequency, how many people we are reaching and how many times we are reaching them, if you are looking at the metrics via cookies, which is an evaluation of a machine interaction with people and not people themselves, we are overstating the reach by almost 58% and overstating the frequency by 135%.

“The people using cookies to evaluate their campaigns are fundamentally wrong."

Cookies alone distort accuracy in targeting by 64%, making it misleading for marketers to rely solely on that, Mao noted.

“Even more worryingly, we find that there is no correlation between the click rates and the willingness to buy the product, there is a lot of consequences for people trading and buying the media."

This means spending on marketing to clickers might just result in spending up to five times more according to Mao, while 90% of people who click on a campaign do not end up buying a product.

Thus the attribution models are now top on most marketers’ minds, and while there are 10-15 attribution models, Mao notes that while there is no one set model, there are specific tools that can monitor the paths to purchase and how people use their devices.

“When we are trying to evaluate what is missing in the mobile particularly, introducing the people graph, and incorporating a whole set of touch points including mobile can show incremental revenue due to the use of mobile devices.

“By incorporating a broader view and incorporating people-based measurement, we can populate a view that is reattributing the different market expense to the right touch points."

Failing to connect the dots is something that advertisers still struggle with, even as marketers are turning away from last-click attribution.

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