One of the great benefits of online advertising is that the digital medium allows marketers to see with great clarity exactly how their campaigns are performing. While you might never learn much about the effectiveness of an ad placed in the middle of a magazine or during the 11 o'clock news, a digital campaign can tell you how many people saw your ad, how they interacted with it and whether they've recently encountered other ads from the same brand.
Of course, the only way this can happen and be effective is if you have the right reporting and analytics processes in place. Indeed, even in the era of “big data," many marketers are struggling to assemble the technologies and workflows they need to accurately measure their performance. The velocity of media optimization and planning is greater than ever. Real-time marketing is essential, especially when it comes to pulling reports and generating current, time-relevant analytics.
With this in mind, here are three tips to get the most out of your reporting and analytics efforts:
1. Set your key performance indicators (KPIs) before you start measuring.
Choosing the right metrics is the first step to reporting success. After all, you can't measure effectively if you don't know what you're measuring for.
Before the campaign starts, marketers should set KPIs that tie back to the brand's overall business objectives. These KPIs require calculation, and should be carefully considered and set ahead of time. For example, if your goal is to get people to download a mobile app, it might not matter much how many impressions you served to members of your target audience. Instead, it might be better to measure campaign effectiveness based on something like app downloads or cost-per-install.
In using reporting to optimize campaigns, we recommend that marketers focus on analyzing and improving one KPI. Frequently, a single-KPI model is both more effective and easier to manage than a multi-KPI model.
2. Validate reporting solutions through data diagnostics.
One of the biggest challenges marketers face in reporting today is that the modern campaign runs across multiple platforms with input from a number of technology vendors.
In order to measure efficiently, it's crucial to have a reporting and analytics platform that allows you to funnel information from a variety of data sources into a single user interface. Otherwise, you'll be stuck hopping back and forth between different platforms while attempting to measure a single campaign.
As marketers continue working to improve viewability and eliminate ad fraud, it will only become more important for them to have a reporting platform that can ingest information not only from ad-servers and first-party data sources, but from third-party verification vendors, as well.
3. Use people that create action from insight.
Now that you have all these analytics inside a single platform, you'll need to figure out how you're going to use them to optimize future campaigns. Crucial to this effort is a strong line of communication between marketers and data scientists, which will give your organization the power to not only parse the data, but to tie these data insights back to your business objectives.
To keep everyone in the loop, your reporting platform should have data visualization tools that allow you to monitor performance in real time and to tell the story of your campaign to people who aren't necessarily data experts. It should also be capable of easily reporting hard data via email or FTP, giving your data scientists the ability to really dig into the numbers in search of insights that can help you make better business decisions.
Hopefully, these tips have provided a useful overview of how to make reporting and analytics work for you. If you're interested in learning more about these processes or about the powerful Xaxis Spotlight reporting platform, our customer service team would love to hear from you.