Why brands should focus on their desired outcomes instead of generic performance metrics

Nicolas Bidon, Global CEO

At Xaxis, we talk a lot about outcomes. Outcomes are what we aim to offer to our clients, holding ourselves accountable to marketers who buy digital advertising.

That kind of thinking can be an adjustment for an industry used to spending millions of media dollars based on measures like CPM or CTR that are more than 24 years old and take us back to the days of the first AT&T display ad on Wired.com back in 1994.

Those metrics carry a presumption that, if you pay the right price for fraud-free, viewed impressions to the right audience in the right environment, you’ll create enough “lift” or clickthroughs to generate more revenue for your brand.

Each of those measures, though, is really a proxy for what is almost always the real goal: increased sales.

Why Performance Marketing Isn’t Enough

Sometimes the term “outcomes” is conflated with “performance.” Online performance marketing tracks clickthroughs that lead to conversions. A well-optimized performance campaign will ensure that ad placements lead to cost-efficient and profitable clickthroughs. That can be a valid way of running a campaign.

Today though, aiming for a better kind of accountability is vital for marketers using digital advertising, especially programmatic advertising involving billions of data points and decisions executed in fractions of a second.

Sophisticated attribution modeling, econometrics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning along with the right supporting technology and expertise all help manage media toward serving strategic business goals, rather than just marketing precepts.

Take, for example, a high-ticket durable item such as a set of living room furniture. Clickthroughs on ads may indicate interest, but almost no person will buy the furniture they’re going to live with for years by simply clicking on an ad.

It’s inevitably better to optimize to a more sophisticated marketing mix proven to prompt more sales in the short and long term. Does the messaging, for example, need to focus on attracting showroom visits, newsletter subscriptions, or virtualized customizations on the store website?

Each of these metrics can be individually weighted for importance based upon the retailer’s data-informed knowledge of which actions most assuredly trigger sales, and in what sequences. Doing this will ensure that subsequent online campaigns can be optimized towards driving the specific outcome of the retailer and maximize return on ad spend over the short and long term.

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Demand for a New Expertise

It’s incumbent on marketers and their media-buying partners to clearly articulate and discuss specific business goals, how these outcomes will be measured and what marketing mix will help achieve them throughout continuous cycles of optimization.

A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit that we commissioned noted that brand managers are now demanding well executed, data-driven programmatic advertising that makes a measurable contribution to their company’s bottom line.

By focusing on strategic business goals and using sophisticated econometrics, attribution modeling, and a wealth of experience and expertise, we can finally deliver on the long-held promise of making marketing budgets truly accountable.

We can create proven value for the companies that invest in digital media while making advertising more relevant and welcome for consumers.

Those are outcomes any advertiser should be glad to see.

Stay tuned for more on how Xaxis is changing the programmatic landscape through outcome-based media plans.

Nicolas Bidon

Nicolas Bidon, Global CEO

Nicolas Bidon is the global CEO of Xaxis, responsible for the overall company strategy and P&L across 47 markets in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.
Nicolas has been working at the intersection of data, media and technology for more than 20 years with tenures in San Francisco, London and Switzerland and is passionate about helping global brands leverage cutting-edge technology to achieve the desired outcomes from their digital media investments.