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By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

July 25, 2023 | 9 min read

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Leaders from DoubleVerify, Snowflake, Samba TV, UM Worldwide, Open AP, NRF and Affinity Solutions explore why outcomes-driven marketing is the future of measurement, helping advertisers connect the dots between campaigns and conversions.

Why outcomes-driven marketing is the future of measurement

Why outcomes-driven marketing is the future of measurement

When the CMO is at the mercy of the CFO and CEO, with increased pressure to prove the value of marketing to the business, measurement must shift from proxy metrics to get closer to outcomes (purchase) to prove the ROI of media spend. Connecting those dots hasn’t always been easy but with emerging (and arguably better) datasets, true outcomes-based measurement is becoming a reality.

“Generally, the measurement of outcomes is always slightly behind the growth and adaptation of technology,” says Chris Wilhelmi, chief data and analytics officer at UM Worldwide. “So as new formats or different types of media come, it takes a while for the maturity of the measurement and really understanding the efficacy to be able to grow and keep pace with that.”

Transaction is king

The key is to be able to connect the dots across all stages of a campaign so that advertisers can make better decisions. There are so many measurement options out there but knowing that something is reaching a certain audience doesn’t really tell a marketer how much they’re going to sell to them.

“There’s not enough data out there to really provide clarity on the outcomes that advertisers and agencies really want and what networks and publishers want for their clients, which is purchase,” says Jonathan Silver, chief executive officer at Affinity Solutions. “There’s a lot of proxies, like location data, but that doesn’t address the real goal: did someone actually purchase from the ad that was promoted to them?”

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“The issue is that many of things that people measure aren’t really the things that matter,” adds Mark Mathews, executive director of research at the National Retail Federation (NRF). “Getting that consumer to transact is the critical piece that we need to do. There are so many decisions being made and so much data coming in, and sometimes we have paralysis by analysis, and we don’t necessarily know what resonates. If it’s not actually creating that cash register ringing, then it doesn’t necessarily matter. If you’re able to connect the information that you’re gathering on the consumer and see that it’s getting them to purchase, that is the starting point of what retailers really want – transaction is king.”

Connecting campaigns to commerce

There is a general need for data that is not only more directly tied to the actual outcome (the purchase) but it needs to be consented to ensure that “we have the most accurate path to outcomes but that the source of that data is fully permissioned, consented and privacy-centric,” says Silver.

“If you think about the data landscape, the water is receding back to the shore,” adds Damian Garbaccio, chief business and marketing officer, Affinity Solutions. “And what’s left standing are accurate, verified, fully consented privacy-centric datasets that are valuable to the market. When the music stops, some of the datasets are going to go away and we’ll be left with truly valuable, accurate datasets.”

Outcomes driven measurement is “the future of digital advertising”, says Mark Zagorski, chief executive officer, DoubleVerify, because ultimately, “it’s a universe in which that data exists”.

“Whether or not it’s being used the right way, currently is still a question mark,” he adds. “Whether it’s being used at scale, certainly is not the case, but there’s a great opportunity for more measurement to connect the dots between the purchase of media and the actual execution or KPI on the other end.”

Layering purchase data into the equation

But this outcome driven media economy is still in its early stages and that means we “have to get measurement in a place that we have faith it, that we believe is truthful, that can establish a relationship between media exposure and an outcome at a causal level,” says Ashwin Navin, chief exec of Samba TV. “It’s an exciting moment to see these methodologies trying to create that relationship at pretty much every vertical, that’s the tip of the spear, and when you have that you can bring along addressability, targeting and optimization as an important layer on top.”

This shift to new metrics gives marketers the confidence they need to lean into their CFOs and be able to prove that media works – but they shouldn’t be considered in isolation.

“It’s important that we think about metrics, not in isolation, but how they work together, and start to understand how some of those boxes can be seen as leading indicators to get to that ultimate metric of purchase,” says Stephanie Geno, senior vice-president, marketing and strategy at Affinity Solutions. “Purchase data is something that is accessible, and that can be layered into that equation.”

Don’t get left behind

“Retailers want to make sure that they are serving up the most personalized recommendation and advertisement to the customer, but also want to tie that into business objectives to ensure that the conversion you’re serving up to your customers and those outcome-based metrics like conversion and add to cart actually line up with inventory positions and other merchandising goals,” says Rosemary De’Aragon, global head of retail and consumer goods at Snowflake.

Key to this will be having a data cleanroom, she says: “That’s going to be super important to be able to collaborate on those metrics between different third-party players from the identity resolution of a household or a customer down to the activation and measurement (the feedback loop). Doing that with first-party data in your own native environment is going to be the focus of the future.”

The time for experimentation is now to ensure that marketers can stay ahead of the competition.

“We have the technology and the infrastructure at our fingertips to start transacting, to start reaching and targeting consumers in a more sophisticated and granular way,” says Brittany Slattery, chief marketing officer at OpenAP. “The future is here, the innovation is at our fingertips, and if you don’t start acting now, you’re going to get left behind.”

“A lot of the promise of marketing and advertising outcome success has been just that, promise, and not fulfilled at this point,” adds Garbaccio. “However, because of new technologies, because of access to media data, because of access to credit and debit card, purchase data, you now are able to do that. The game is still at the early stages but you have an opportunity to be extremely successful. Now we have technology and data that can significantly improve ROI and outcomes.”

Summing up the discussion, here are four top tips to turn insights into influence at the register:

1. Get into your comfort zone: think beyond proxies and start looking at metrics that drive a closer connection to an outcome and can be pushed across multiple platforms; it’s important to ensure you have a single, consistent metric across all of them.

2. Reset expectations: don’t expect to have all the data and get comfortable with what’s available and what you can do with it and test to fill in the gaps over time.

3. Learn, reapply, rinse & repeat: create a strong foundation built on experimentation and learning to get the best understanding you can have. Look for systems and tools and learn from the data. Make it part of a framework so you’re constantly trying new things.

4. Jump in: insist that your agency, marketing and measurement partners are looking at outcomes and connecting the dots between media impressions and outcomes. Bring everyone into the insights to influence story as a standard across all media and advertising.

For more key insights on turning insights into influence, watch highlights from the interviews with the experts quoted in this article over on The Drum TV.

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