Retail Media Advertising Explained: Connected Commerce

What Is Retail Media Advertising?

Retailers are becoming ad publishers. They’re transforming their data and online platforms to sell valuable audience data along with advertising spots. Retail media advertising buys can be executed on retailer sites or programmatically on social and display channels. This data enables consumer brands to reach online shoppers. It can be activated by targeting ads based upon keyword searches, purchase history and other data collected via SKUs, purchase scans, and loyalty programs. 

The recent growth of retail media advertising has been astronomical. Amazon Ads alone is expected to reach $32 billion in revenue by 2023. Although many players are entering the market (Best Buy, Target, Kroger, Walmart etc.), Amazon still dominates with an estimated 76.2% of US ecommerce channel ad spending in 2021. Brands are leaning into this trend with 76% of marketers planning to frequently utilize point of sale data in 2022. With the CPG clients I’ve worked with at Coegi, we recognized the emerging trend of digital retail media and made sure we were incorporating this must-have tactic into our connected commerce strategies.

Reach Your Customers Wherever They Are With Retail Media

Retail media ads empower brands to be exactly where your customers are and deliver personalized advertising experiences on and offline. 

  • How can you reach customers in-store? 
  • Where can you reach them when shopping online? 
  • How can you reach audiences when they’re scrolling through socials? 

Retail media lets advertisers be more data-driven and provides a reliable targeting solution. Targeting these shopper audiences creates the opportunity to deliver an efficient, personalized experience. The icing on the cake (or should I say cookie?) is that most retail data is cookieless. So, we are able to utilize it not only now, but into the future. 

With the landscape becoming increasingly cluttered, most CPG brands won’t have the budget to be present on every retail media platform, nor is that in their best interest. To make the most impact, brands need to research and test where their audiences are spending time. After making your selections, it’s also important to have unique strategies for each retailer. Your messaging and execution should look different on a Best Buy audience dataset versus a WalMart Connect audience. 

Connected Commerce Strategy

Connected commerce strategy is a concept developed by Skai. It means thinking about how you can connect all points of the customer commerce journey together. As retail media networks become more sophisticated, we are seeing more full-funnel implications. The Trade Desk reported that 39% of marketers surveyed use retail media advertising to drive brand equity scores and 44% use it to track sales growth. Take advantage of ecommerce site and programmatic placements to find prospecting audiences and track them through the funnel. 

For example, you could target an upper funnel retail media audience on social and display and then serve them a retargeted ad when they are actively shopping. Or, you could use Facebook conversion ads to drive to your Amazon product page and then develop a retargeting audience. For best results, I recommend strategically flighting media together and not having a standalone retail media strategy. Having supportive media across channels improves results for our clients at Coegi compared to solely running onsite retail media buys. 

Additionally, we recommend utilizing Amazon advertising as a point of brand discovery along with Google Paid Search. When people start researching products, almost 75% start with Amazon. They are exploring, reading reviews, and connecting information to make a purchase decision. It’s important to look at the whole ecosystem of retail marketing and make sure all those puzzle pieces are connected. Understand what channels can help each other to incorporate a true connected commerce strategy. 

“Retail media presents retailers with an opportunity to better personalize their e-commerce sites, improve discoverability of products, and better monetize their first-party data. Likewise, it offers brands an opportunity to better reach their end customer and access more granular insights into marketing performance and effectiveness..”

Forrester Now Tech: Retail Media Solutions Q2 2021, Colin Colburn

How To Measure Retail Media Advertising Success

The primary drawback to retail media, currently, is the segmentation between retail media networks. Wal-Mart data lives in one silo, Target data lives in another, and so on. Marketers have to be very mindful of where to invest for maximum impact. Using a trial and error method to test and learn is necessary. This allows you to see where your customers are responding because we do not see integration across retailer channels. 

Look to outside partners who can aggregate data sets from multiple publishers and digital channels and measure the big picture impact. Coegi works with partners so we can directly tag our in-market media and measure the direct results of ad spend on sales. These partners feed back real-time information so we can make digital advertising optimizations and improve business outcomes. 

“For marketers wanting to take full advantage of retail media’s potential for reshaping attribution, and their overarching strategies for guiding consumers through the purchase funnel — or true “closed-loop marketing” — managing across retail data environments will be key”  – The Trade Desk

A more sophisticated approach is needed to ensure every dollar is spent wisely and effectively. This advanced insight from provides the competitive edge needed to maintain efficiency in this competitive market with rising costs and influx of demand. 

Key Takeaways

Retail media allows brands to: 

  • Utilize first party shopper marketing data to reach customers wherever they are
  • Consider and understand the full shopper experience from discovery to purchase
  • Be data-driven and track closed-loop measurement, prioritizing solutions without third party cookies whenever available
  • Clearly understand the impact of retail advertising on consumer behavior and sales 

At the end of the day, retail media is a must-have tactic for CPG brands, especially for challenger brands looking to break through. Explore the retail media ad space for your brand to maximize the impact of your media spend and efficiently drive customers through the purchase funnel. 

Access our Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy Guide here for more insights.

AI Optimization – The Paperclip Theory

Paperclip Maximizing: Machine Learning And The Problem Of Instrumental Convergence

What do paperclips have to do with digital marketing and machine learning? Admittedly, pretty much nothing. The ‘paperclip maximizer’ thought experiment comes from Nick Bostrom at Oxford University. In essence, it looks at the idea that if you tell a machine to optimize to a specific goal it will do so at all costs. If you told a machine to maximize the number of paperclips it produces the machine would eventually start destroying things like computers, refrigerators, or really anything made of metal to make more paper clips once other sources of metal run out. This concept has been coined as instrumental convergence. 

Paperclip vs Pay-Per-Click

If you transform the idea of paperclips into the idea of paying per click this becomes very relevant to digital marketing. Nowadays, almost every platform touts some version of AI or machine learning to revolutionize campaign performance, which is a boon to everyone. By releasing control to machines, media buyers can focus on more strategic tasks such as identifying deeper insights for reports and understanding clients’ goals while campaigns continuously improve themselves. They do this by finding and optimizing for what works while avoiding the things that are not driving performance for the brand. 

Defining Performance

What exactly is ‘performance?’ The easy answer is whatever your KPI may be. It could be clicks, it could be video views, it could be any trackable metric. However, this is already a simplified goal. If you are running a traffic campaign, the marketing goal should not just be to “get more clicks”.

The goal should be something designed to move the needle for the business – brand affinity growth, sales lift, etc.  For instance, driving qualified users from a target audience to an advertiser’s website and increasing brand favorability is a strong goal. This is something bigger than a single metric. A KPI can be a stepping stone and an important indicator of success, but it is not the final objective. A truly successful campaign will not simply be the campaign that drove the most clicks at the cheapest price point. Success lies in the campaigns that drive true performance towards core business objectives.

What Machines Lack

Context. Context is something that a robot has not yet mastered. As a marketer, I know that increasing clicks, directionally, should push me closer to my goal. The machine knows this too, but this is all the machine knows. It will endlessly optimize to a single goal. Maximizing the number of clicks given a fixed amount of budget. This can lead to unintended consequences – think back to the paperclip example.

A machine might say only run display banners and forget about high impact formats such as video and connected TV. The machine might push 100% of impressions into in-app environments. It would say never buy another out of home ad again. The machine would never know to build brand awareness because there is no optimization point that it can use. 

Machines Need Guidance

We understand the role of the media buyer is not going away, but it is morphing. There is a new symbiotic relationship between buyer and machine which empowers them to maximize your brand as a whole. Successful media buyers do not need to spend 80 hours per week finding every winning media combination. Most of these tasks can be done through harnessing technology and freeing up time to look at the media plan from a higher level.  These benefits of using AI go directly to our clients in the form of more time dedicated to listening to client needs, smarter digital media plans, and ultimately higher performing campaigns. 

How To Incorporate Smart AI In Your Media Buying

  • Release media optimization controls to AI machines and spend time on strategic campaign elements. 
  • Define performance success beyond the metrics by establishing meaningful campaign goals 
  • Use context to avoid instrumental convergence and potentially harmful optimizations from unattended machines. 

Recommended Reading:

Increase B2B Conversions Using Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing (ABM) is a focused strategy that blends sales and marketing efforts to reach high potential B2B customers. However, many brands struggle with achieving the level of personalization and automation needed for effective ABM at scale. Thankfully, there is a solution: programmatic ABM. Using automated buying tactics, brands can serve targeted ads to thousands of highly segmented B2B consumers within target organizations using technology and data for personalization. 

Why Account Based Marketing?

B2B marketing has historically emphasized quantity of leads generated first (Marketing Qualified Leads), with quality to follow (Sales Qualified Leads). Unfortunately, this method has led to 79% of leads never becoming customers, not to mention wasted media dollars. The account-based approach instead focuses on decision makers in target companies rather than mass outreach. By doing this prequalification, the sales funnel becomes shorter and every customer touchpoint is more intentional and personalized. This is why 77% of marketers believe ABM is their top driver of sales and marketing success. 

Zeroing In On the Target

Emarketer data shows that one key barrier to successful ABM is the inability to efficiently and effectively personalize marketing at scale.  We know this is a critical issue to solve as, 40% of company executives in e-commerce report that personalization directly affects their sales and company revenues.” Once you have your ideal customer profile nailed down, how can you make sure you are reaching these individuals?  Can you reach them at scale, with personalization and within your given budget? Here’s where programmatic activation comes in.

Programmatic Account Based Marketing: Powered By Technology

Programmatic advertising automates the ad buying process. Just because you are targeting individual business accounts, you don’t have to have massive teams calling or emailing accounts one by one to succeed. With proper campaign segmentation, you can tailor ads to feel highly specific and relevant to individuals within these companies. AI-powered creative learning takes this one step further by determining which combination of imagery and copy will be most effective for different audience segments and adjusting in real time. Programmatic and AI also allow agility and flexibility across channels. You can take a social ad and run it on digital or test a top performing display video on CTV – all while being confident your media spend is serving ads to real, qualified decision makers. 

Activation: First-Party First

When available, campaigns should start with leveraging your existing CRM data. Activate against this high value pool of leads who have already shared their information with you via content downloads, newsletter sign-ups, or other acquisition activities. Carefully segment these individuals so you can serve highly relevant and personalized ads to them based on their industry, level of seniority, interests, geography, etc. Work with a programmatic agency to activate these segments across various digital channels and media publishers. Track user behavior and data trends, then use AI tools to create lookalike audiences to expand the targeting pool.

To expand further, strategically incorporate third party data. Various data partners can be tapped to reach decision makers across digital channels. Keep in mind that with third party data in particular, it is important to have a smart targeting strategy. 

Start by refining your audience. Yes, you want to achieve scale and pack the lead funnel for your sales force, but the way to do that effectively and efficiently is by ensuring you understand what the ideal customer looks like. Your cost per lead may be higher when you narrow the targeting parameters, but you can expect a greater return by reaching audiences with the highest potential lifetime value and reducing wasted hours sifting through unqualified leads. Layer your targeting with firmographic, job title, and seniority parameters that indicate a high potential account. Look at your best customers  – what do they have in common? Segment your target personas into specific buckets so you can tailor your creative and messaging accordingly – adding the personalization now expected by B2B buyers.

Some targeting tactics for B2B accounts to consider are: 

  • Intent targeting to identify individuals and organizations who are actively searching for a particular topic or solution
  • NAICS job title targeting to reach specific job titles or organizations 
  • IP/Geo-Targeting to target specific business locations or industry events
  • Social targeting by skill/title/industry/location across platforms

Using programmatic activation with a digital partner allows brands to reach these highly sought after audiences with efficiency of both budget and time. 

B2B Channel Strategy: Time To Diversify?

Companies are placing the highest investment for their ABM strategies into digital, with the majority of spend occurring on social media, paid search and e-newsletters. These are all key ways to reach buyers, however, other channels such as programmatic display, CTV and audio are gaining more share of wallet year over year. Consider some of these more untapped spaces to allow your brand voice to be heard without competing with the noise. 

When choosing your channel strategy, don’t put all your efforts into one high-performing channel, such as LinkedIn. Instead, activate ads across a variety of channels based on the media consumption habits of your target audience and other behavioral insights. Use data-informed programmatic placements to meet the audience wherever they are active online.

To determine the best channel mix, it’s critical to build a cycle of testing and learning into your measurement strategy. This enables ongoing learning and optimization to improve the lead nurturing process by identifying what is working and what isn’t. Ask questions and test various tactics to find answers so your brand avoids stagnancy and reduced efficiency in the sales cycle.

Key Takeaways

  • Account based marketing doesn’t have to be tedious. Taking a programmatic approach enables efficiency and scale for brands with large target account pools.
  • Refine targeting criteria and segment key audience groups to personalize creative accordingly. 
  • Capitalize on your first party data, then expand reach with high quality third party data to reach verified decision makers.
  • B2B brands can benefit from an omni-channel media approach and considering non-traditional B2B media placements

Start reaching hundreds to thousands of B2B leads today by working with Coegi to build a programmatic ABM strategy. Download our guide to B2B Marketing to learn more. 

Digital Guide to Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing

Healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing is a complex landscape. A long-standing emphasis on in-person rep sales and difficult to navigate privacy laws have made the industry slower to adopt new marketing technologies and trends relative to other industries.

Coegi created this guide to help healthcare and pharma marketers feel empowered to break the mold of antiquated marketing practices.

Creating A Clear Digital Roadmap For Your Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategy

This playbook aims to debunk the uncertainty surrounding health and pharma marketing. We outline best practices and provide a clear roadmap for your healthcare brand to create best-in-class marketing strategies. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • How to leverage key trends affecting the industry
  • Targeting methods for reaching patients and HCPs
  • Most effective channels and strategic tactics for health advertising
  • How to set KPIs, measure campaign results, and impact your bottom line 
  • What steps to take to ensure compliant advertising
  • Best practices to improve healthcare marketing strategies

Why Digital Marketing Is Critical For Healthcare Advertisers

The healthcare industry as a whole is pivoting towards data-driven strategies. Events, provider education, and patient treatment itself have now shifted from in-person to blended online channels. Omni-channel advertising strategies work in tandem with consumer preferences moving towards digital treatment options such as tele-health to supplement more traditional healthcare. 

Ready To Level Up Your Healthcare And Pharmaceutical Marketing?

Download the Digital Guide to Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing now. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a discovery call.

A Disrupted Ecosystem Leads to New Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Opportunities

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a large shift toward digital technologies in the healthcare landscape. For example, the acceptance of telehealth practice rose to 71% post-pandemic, despite very low adoption prior. As AI tools and telemedicine create efficiencies and digitize patient and healthcare provider communications, marketing efforts need to follow a similar trajectory. 

Similarly, visitation restrictions forced greater reliance on marketing channels rather than one-to-one sales meetings. This provides a massive opportunity for healthcare and pharma marketers to adapt and create a competitive advantage.  

How to Build Successful Patient Relationships

Patient-centric healthcare and pharmaceutical brands must gain loyalty through consumer relationships. Loyalty is at a historic low while openness to change and preference for convenience are soaring. 62% of consumers expected their preferred brand for healthcare to change post-pandemic. Additionally, 80% of patients said they’d switch providers solely for “convenience factors”. 

Marketing strategies must be customer-centric to capture loyalty. In today’s healthcare ecosystem, that requires leaning into omnichannel, digital strategies and leading with empathy. 

Patient Targeting Strategies for Health & Pharma Brands 

Despite the challenge of compliance and data privacy laws, brands still have a variety of ways to target patients by using first and third-party data as well as machine learning to identify and segment consumers who are receptive to healthcare advertising or are actively researching treatment options.

Local & Geo-Targeting

Hospital systems and healthcare practices should lean heavily into local targeting to reach their core audiences. These campaigns can drive location visits, but should also increase awareness and education. 1 in 4 people surveyed said they do not know enough about local health systems to make an informed choice. 

With data partners, pharmaceutical brands can target programmatic buys to specific zip codes that over-index for a particular condition. Using anonymous provider prescription data, data can be matched to zip codes with the highest lift in specific prescriptions. You can even map it to these households via IP addresses. This enables omnichannel online targeting to reach healthcare consumers through display, video, native, and social media channels.

Condition-Based Targeting

Use third-party data providers to access unique healthcare segments. This anonymous data is not subject to some of the strict HIPAA guidelines, as it cannot be tied to PII. This allows you to reach your relevant audience at scale without media waste. 

Interest Group Targeting

Interest targeting is a great way to reach patients as well as families and caregivers who are also interested in a specific condition or topic. This expands reach to the key decision-makers in the healthcare process. Data providers often define “interest” by what content consumers are reading online. 

Retargeting

By placing small pieces of code on a website, known as pixels, brands can retarget website visitors with programmatic ads. You can also build lookalike audiences to expand the retargeting pool. In instances where the topic or condition is considered sensitive, lean on the other tactics above to reach your key audiences.

Key Channels for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketers to Reach Patient Audiences

Local and Paid Search

Search engine is often the first touchpoint in the patient journey as they begin researching a symptom or diagnosis. Establish your brand as a resource with relevant, helpful content through both paid and organic search. 

Local search is impactful when patients are looking for a nearby healthcare location. Providers should have mobile-optimized websites, complete Google business profiles, customer reviews, and relevant content for local optimization. 

Social Media

Use the power of social media to build brand trust and authenticity. These platforms are a great way to reach patients in a more personal environment where they are active daily. 

Most social platforms offer demographic, interest and behavioral targeting parameters. There is also an emerging trend of HCPs becoming popular creators on channels like YouTube, Twitter and TikTok. This organic influencer content can be highly effective, especially if you amplify it through paid social. 

Programmatic Display 

Today, patients of all ages are consuming media digitally and using mobile devices to find healthcare information. In 2020, display was the fastest-growing format for healthcare and pharma ad spend. Mobile optimization is a key adaptation for advertisers moving forward. Over 80% of smartphone-using patients use them to identify or interact with physicians

Contextual display targeting places ads next to relevant, trustworthy content when consumers are in the appropriate mindset. This can be done with keyword matching for specific web content or by running PMPs on specific healthcare publications.

Native Ads

Native ads match readers’ interests with relevant content and generate higher brand engagement. You can repurpose high-performing social ad content and target these ads to the audience segments of the campaign. Match these ads with contextually relevant articles to align with health content that would demonstrate how your brand or facility could best serve that individual. 

Programmatic Video

Video Ads capture user attention on sites or social media channels with engaging motion and sound based messaging. Use quality video to: 

  • Show brand personality and bring messaging to life
  • Show your product/service in action
  • Optimize for mobile placements

Connected TV

Television streaming times are soaring. This is especially true for the 55+ age range, a core healthcare demographic, who also make up the highest proportion of CTV viewers. 

The high-impact video content and addressability of CTV ensure ads reach relevant audiences. Using specific healthcare patient and provider audiences on CTV buys reaches high-value, addressable segments. Cross-channel integration platforms can ensure you reach the right audience with the appropriate frequency, thus optimizing omnichannel strategies.

 “CTV is an untapped space eliminating barriers from a cost-to-market perspective. TV is now an accessible market for pharmaceutical players.”

Colin Duft, Coegi Account Strategy Director

Measuring Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Campaign Results

Using Full-Funnel Media Metrics

To measure campaign performance, it’s critical to understand how all your KPIs work together. We start by building a custom measurement framework factoring in multiple KPIs correlated to core business goals. Think outside the box of typical stats such as CTR, CPM and CPC to find more meaningful ways to track and attribute success. 

When media metrics do not answer your business questions, consider adding advanced measurement tactics. These data points will provide a more robust view of overall performance and marketing’s impact on your true business goals. 

Advanced Measurement Tactics for Healthcare Brands 

Healthcare brands with physical locations may find it difficult to measure the effects of digital marketing on in-person traffic. Medical device and pharmaceutical brands can likewise struggle to measure the results of in-person sales teams plus both on and offline marketing. In these instances, advanced measurement studies can help provide answers and display incremental lift in brand awareness, sales, or traffic. 

  • Foot traffic lift studies can be highly informative for hospitals or retail health brands. They provide online to offline attribution for campaigns aiming to drive consumers into physical locations. They use mobile location data to quantify the impact of media campaigns on incremental increase in visitation.
  • Brand lift studies can be effective for pharmaceutical brands to measure KPIs such as brand favorability, brand affinity, or ad recall. These can gauge success for omnichannel campaigns on branding goals.

Starting a Conversation with HCPs: Strategic Targeting, Channels & Measurement

Ad Targeting for Healthcare Providers 

Healthcare providers are relatively easier to target than patient segments. There is publicly available information and fewer privacy restrictions. However, there are occasionally some challenges with achieving scale as well as higher costs. Regardless, brands can reach HCPs across the wide range of content they consume to increase opportunities for engagement.

ID-Based Targeting

National Provider IDs are personal identifiers for specific healthcare providers including their practice location and specialty. Utilizing this data set via demand-side platforms allows for compliant, 1:1 HCP targeting across multiple channels and devices. 

Geo-Targeting

Brands can also use NPI numbers to target relevant practice locations for particular physicians or specialties. By targeting a geo-radius around POC locations with high volumes of particular diagnoses or treatment types, you can remain compliant while also reaching your target audience.

Retargeting

Re-engage previous HCP website visitors with highly relevant creative. This tactic helps build consideration, with the ultimate intent to continue engaging based on prior actions. 

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting tools can look at categories, keywords, and tags on web pages to deliver highly relevant programmatic content. At Coegi, we map these to the National Library of Medicine MeSH Taxonomy to ensure the most relevant terminology is applied to our digital media. 

Rx and Dx Targeting

Through data partnerships, brands can target NPI numbers of providers who prescribe certain prescription codes. Likewise, brands can target by diagnosis using ICD-10 codes to find their core provider audience. 

Key Digital Marketing Channels to Reach Healthcare Providers 

Endemic Display 

Reach healthcare providers on the key sites they visit for the latest trends and best practices in their field. These endemic sites are a more premium placement due to higher prices and lower supply. 

HCP Network: Doximity

Doximity is the leading social networking site specifically for healthcare providers. There are various ad placement options including sponsored content or in-feed ads. This can be a particularly helpful channel for new or emerging brands. It’s a great tool to educate and inform physicians about a new product offering. 

Paid Social 

Social media advertising helps reach HCPs outside of their professional environment. Use data providers to access ailment clusters and physician databases available for targeting on social and search. 

Programmatic Display

Display is the fastest-growing ad format in healthcare and pharma. Programmatic ads allow healthcare marketers to promote relevant information to HCPs outside the limitations of endemic websites. Also, banner display ads provide an easy format to drive traffic to specific website landing pages.

Paid Search

Similar to patients, practitioners also rely heavily on online resources to find new techniques, products, and information relevant to their practice. Outside of medical journal websites, providers prefer to receive communication from companies via search engines

Measuring HCP Marketing Campaign Results

At Coegi, we firmly believe all campaign spend can be accurately measured. When advertising to HCPs, the one-to-one addressability of some tactics allows for clearly traceable marketing ROI. However, other tactics can have less direct attribution toward objectives.  

In these instances, advanced measurement studies can help provide answers, explore correlations, and display incremental lift in metrics such as brand awareness, brand affinity and sales lift. 

Advanced Measurement Tactics

Brand lift studies can gauge success for omnichannel campaigns on brand-based goals. Awareness surveys with key practitioner groups can inform how a brand is perceived and the level of recognition or ad recall achieved within a target audience. 

Ready to level up your healthcare advertising? Schedule a discovery call with our business strategy team to get started today.

5 Steps to Successful Marketing Measurement

Marketing measurement is one of the greatest challenges for modern advertisers. In particular, brands have an uphill battle to face when proving full-funnel marketing ROI across a variety of digital and physical channels. We’re here to change that. 

Coegi takes a unique approach to marketing measurement and campaign learnings centered around reaching core business objectives. This is the focus of every digital media strategy and campaign we execute.

Download the guide

In This Playbook, You’ll Learn How To Succeed In Marketing Measurement With Five Simple Steps: 

  1. Identify desired business outcomes
  2. Determining the key performance indicators to signal success
  3. Evaluating incrementality
  4. Creating a cycle of testing and learning
  5. Using data storytelling for better insights.  

Using these steps, you can ensure clear strategy and efficiencies in any marketing campaign. This is your guide to calculate and prove marketing ROI.  Apply these core principles and watch your business transform. Using this approach will allow you to track and communicate meaningful data, no matter how complex your channel strategy may be. 

How Can You Prove Marketing ROI? 

To prove marketing ROI, you need to focus on aligning quantifiable data points with your overarching business objective. This will look different for every brand, which is why we incorporate custom scorecard models for our clients at Coegi. 

By following the five steps outlined in this guide, you can produce clear, measurable results – in other words, return on investment. These steps are crucial to accurately and effectively measure success and progress within online marketing strategies for any brand. Our specialists at Coegi utilize these tactics daily, and optimize results for clients with consistency by consistently implementing this process. 

Download the Five Step Guide to Successful Marketing Measurement now to get started on your path towards clearly defined success. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a discovery call with our team. 

5 Steps to Successful Marketing Measurement 

Step 1: Identify Desired Business Outcomes

The basis for creating strong digital campaigns lies in setting objectives and key results (OKRs). OKRs are a framework used to define measurable goals and track their outcomes. They are a cornerstone for strategic planning in nearly all companies.

You can use this planning process to translate business goals into actionable digital strategies. Without clear OKRs, you run the risk of prioritizing metrics, tactics, and strategies that do not translate to meaningful growth for your company. If that happens, you end up wasting both time and marketing dollars.

To implement this practice, establish and understand the core business goals defined by key stakeholders. This is the centerpiece of your marketing plan. It creates a roadmap for the whole team to clearly understand the brand’s expectations. From there, teams can build a strategic marketing plan to move the needle for the brand.

Step 2: Determine the KPIs to Signal Success

Next, you’ll need to define and implement systems that capture the results of your efforts. Campaigns must start with meaningful measurement across all stages of the customer journey and all channels. Meaningful measurement is tracking the metrics which drive toward core business objectives. These will be your key performance indicators or KPIs. 

When determining your KPIs, be cautious of media efficiency metrics. They can be effective for evaluating campaign performance on an operational level. But, they often do not ladder up to holistic business objectives. Direct your focus away from the lowest CPM or CPC, because not all clicks or impressions are created equal.

What can marketers do instead? Focus on what actually indicates success. For instance, how does the metric you are tracking impact your percentage YoY growth or lift in brand awareness? Layering advanced measurement tactics on top of traditional media efficiency metrics can often provide deeper insights. 

Step 3: Evaluate Incrementality

Knowing which tactics and channels are helping you reach your KPIs isn’t always easy to determine. Just because your reports show better metrics on Facebook does not mean it is the leading driver of results. A purchase today could have been impacted by an ad served on CTV last week that was reinforced by an influencer on Instagram yesterday. 

So how do you attribute marketing tactics to conversions? Focus on testing incrementality:

  • Establish a performance baseline
  • Adjust one variable at a time 
  • Track the overall impact 

Unlike touch attribution models, this method allows you to see the influence an individual tactic had on the final conversion, no matter where it took place.

Step 4: Create a Test and Learn Cycle 

When creating a marketing strategy, it’s critical to start with a learning agenda. Our unique framework helps identify the key questions we can answer to improve upon results. 

A learning agenda helps determine which components of a marketing campaign are driving the best outcomes. This could mean a better understanding of your target consumer. Or, it could mean determining which tactics are most effective. 

Here are a couple of examples of possible learning agenda hypotheses: 

  • Moms 25-40 are an audience with untapped potential.
  • Our target consumer is more likely to convert on Facebook than on Instagram.

Even if your hypothesis is incorrect, you are better off than you were before. Now you can make adjustments based on your learnings. 

Step 5: Use Data Storytelling for Better Insights

The measurement framework and test and learn cycle equips brands with the information needed for data storytelling. The value in data lies in the stories it tells about your audiences, your performance, and your interplay with the external environment. 

Look at the underlying narrative running through your data to build a meaningful story arc. Visualize the data so you can easily identify trends and understand performance relative to goals. Consider layering campaign data with macro-level data to see a holistic picture and identify outliers or interesting correlations. Looking at the data from a macro lens helps weave the micro data points into a cohesive story that makes sense to marketers, but also external teams. 

Your data story provides an opportunity to connect the dots between how various media channels work together. If done right, it will also show areas that didn’t succeed. Those failures can guide new creative or adjustment of certain tactics and spend reallocation.  

Communicating Marketing Measurement Results 

We often talk about blending art and science in our marketing strategies – that same concept applies to data analytics. When communicating results to high-level internal stakeholders, qualitative information with direction from quantitative data often speaks volumes, but only if you tell the right story. You want to layer in context, feeling, and understanding – the human emotion and behavior will amplify the data you’ve collected. Knowing the audience and tailoring your story to their unique point of view will ensure the information resonates. 

Applying the 5 Steps

This marketing measurement process fuels a data feedback loop, creating an infinite cycle of improvement. It’s never perfect, but by using performance marketing data to tell your brand story, you can ensure it is always evolving. This practice minimizes media waste and allows marketers to make more intentional decisions. 

With this guide, you can become a digital hero and produce clear results. Contact Coegi for additional information on how to accurately measure your business objectives. 

Understanding Implications of the Cookieless Future

Google’s announcement that Chrome will no longer support third-party cookies as of 2024 has many digital marketers concerned about their cookieless future. Marketers that have historically relied on cookies to reach their target audiences and measure success will be greatly affected by this change. Many are actively working on the next steps to avoid campaign performance declines. The actions taken by marketers in this pre-cookieless environment will help define the future of targeted advertising and performance metrics.

“Businesses and advertising professionals will need to better understand how customers make decisions, what actions are valuable for businesses and bring that all together when showing success.” – Maggie Gotszling

Why Are Cookies Important And How Do They Work?

Cookies are a backend line of code on a website. They help advertisers track a user’s behavior across the internet and include 3rd party tracking pixels from platforms such as Facebook. Tracking these activities makes it possible for advertisers to effectively deliver ads to their target audiences and directly measure and attribute conversions. With the deprecation of cookies, that tracking will no longer be viable, effectively blinding some targeting and measurement capabilities on which many marketers currently rely.  

What Does It Mean For Campaign Targeting Strategies?

The major impact will be on retargeting third-party cookie-based audiences. It is recommended that advertisers begin shifting overreliance on this tactic and begin testing alternative targeting options to fill the gaps. Gathering first, second, and zero-party data will be central to an effective digital market strategy in a post-cookie environment. Additionally, contextual targeting does not rely on cookies and provides brands with a strong opportunity to generate increased brand awareness when done strategically. As an additional benefit, the cost of contextual advertising is typically substantially lower than addressable impressions as data. However, costs depend on whether you are activating through a whitelist or a private marketplace deal.

Cookieless ID-Based Solutions For Targeting And Measurement

There are also multiple cookie alternatives in development that promise to bridge the addressability gap when cookies are deprecated. Here are a few of the options currently out there or in development.

Google’s Topics:

Google is developing a solution for targeting called Topics. Topics uses an individual’s browsing activity to tag them with broad interest categories. For instance, if a user visits Nike’s website, they may be tagged with an interest in fitness.  When ads are served to this user, their browser will randomly choose three of that user’s top five topics based on the previous three weeks’ browsing history. Those three topics are then shared with the advertiser to serve relevant ads to the user during their visit. This method allows the advertiser to target based on interest without using identifiers or other potentially invasive data points.

Standard Universal IDs: 

Originally used as a way to combat mismatched data when syncing cookie data across domains, companies like The Trade Desk, LiveRamp, and IAB have developed Universal IDs. This standardized identifier allows advertisers to buy into a community of shared data to track audience activity across the internet. The primary concern with Universal IDs, however, is that they still currently rely on third-party cookies, without which they are unable to set or recognize identifiers across domains. 

Encrypted Universal IDs:

Understanding the original design of Universal IDs would no longer be effective once cookies were deprecated, companies like The Trade Desk (Unified ID 2.0) started developing encrypted identifiers using email addresses instead of cookies to track user activity. The primary hurdle with email-based IDs is they require users to provide the same email across websites in order to build an accurate profile. If the user is unwilling to provide that data, or uses different emails for different sites, advertisers will be blind to their activity and be unable to target them accurately.

While all of these solutions have their pros and cons, they are worth monitoring as they continue to develop. They will be key in building targeting and measurement strategies in 2024 and beyond. 

Recommendations to Prepare for the Cookieless Future

  • Plan early & anticipate impacts to your measurement/attribution system. 
  • Benchmark your current performance. 
  • Apply business intelligence models to your analytics. 
  • Expand implementation timelines. 
  • Create new relationships with third-party, cookieless data providers. 

“Brands who have been targeting super-niche audiences will have to reestablish expectations for programmatic and be open to experiment with alternative targeting and measurement solutions.” – Colin Duft, Account Strategy Director 

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