Dear Agencies: Stop Reporting Your Own Success Metrics - Part 2

  |  October 24, 2012   |  Comments   |  

Consider this approach to how creative agencies should use analytics to measure campaign success.

Last column, I covered the lack of reporting effectiveness for media agencies and how we can improve. To summarize, most of the media agency reporting focuses too much on the front-end media impressions/clicks and not enough on conversion effectiveness. The reason for this is that most of the conversion data lies with creative agencies, and it's hard to integrate the two distinct data sets for a cradle to the grave analysis. However, even with conversion data, most creative agencies still do not do a good job on reporting what's important.

The Purpose of Analytics

Before I dive any deeper, let me ask a fundamental question again: "What's the point of reporting and analytics within creative campaigns?" Well, most strategists/planners will say to measure the effectiveness of the particular campaign in driving strategic business objectives. And the creative/art directors will say to measure the effectiveness of tactical creative manifestations. With these two goals in mind, let's look at some examples of creative agency reporting.

Mini/Brand Site Measurement Reports

One of the most common landing points for a digital campaign is the mini-site or brand site. Hence it's only natural that we conduct in-depth reporting on this piece of digital assets. However, most reports produced by creative agencies serve none of the aforementioned purposes. For instance, here's an example of a typical report for a retail client:

Maybe the report above is enough for the judges at Cannes... but did it really give me any insights into why we've created this report in the first place? Keeping the two goals of analytics in mind, firstly knowing the bounce rate and UV/PV does nothing to help me understand if my digital asset is effectively serving my business objectives. Secondly, after looking at the numbers, I still have no clue how to optimize my creative to increase engagement.

Hence these reports are merely data puke, because we took the data from Google Analytics/Webtrends/Omniture and dumped it into a "Weekly Report" just for the hell of it. We don't know why we're doing it, we can't get any business-related insights from it, and most importantly, I don't know what actions to take afterwards.

To better serve the purpose of analytics, let me suggest the following reports to measure digital campaign effectiveness:

From this report, I can gain insights on both aforementioned goals. The table on the left allows me to focus on metrics that tie directly with business objectives. As we look at the bigger picture metrics, we'll begin to dig deeper and ask more tactical questions like, "Why are my new registrations so low? Is it because of my content, and how could I optimize my creative to increase my objectives?"

Those answers are delivered by the report on the right. The funnel analysis is one of the most effective ways to analyze creative flow and user experience. From this report, we can see that in the three-step process, 76 percent of users are not even making it past the first step. This helps us narrow down user design issues as well as making more engaging content that drives the call-to-action.

Great! How Do I Get There?

As you probably gathered, the report above is not a one-size-fits-all - as business objectives on digital vary greatly within industries and companies. So how do creative agencies work this out with their clients? Allow me to propose the following model for implementation.

Digital Marketing and Measurement Model

This model is a structured approach for agencies to better tie digital assets with business objectives. It originated from the analytics expert Avinash Kaushik. A detailed step-by-step instruction can be found on his blog. Let me summarize the steps below:

  1. Identify the business objectives for the digital channel.
  2. Set concrete goals to how the objectives manifest themselves on the website.
  3. Select a few key metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs) as an indication for reaching each goal.
  4. Set a target for each KPI metric based on industry benchmarks as well as previous campaigns.
  5. Identify the segments of people/behavior/outcomes to gauge effectiveness.

An example of a completed model is shown below for a sample insurance client:


Using the above model, creative agencies can tie analytics to business objectives rather than report on shallow metrics to win creative awards. As I conclude this series, I'd like to emphasize the exact same point that I put forth in the previous column:

As an industry, we need to understand that analytics is a tool to measure the delivery of digital marketing business objectives, rather than the verification of our own agency's success metrics.

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Charlie Wang

Currently digital director for Mindshare Beijing, Charlie has over five years of experience covering both IT consulting and ad agency industries. He was previously technical director at Tribal DDB Hong Kong, where he led the implementation of analytics and technical innovation across digital campaigns. His previous experiences include data analytics director at Bizcom Consulting in Beijing, and business intelligence analyst at Deloitte Consulting in the U.S. Charlie's project portfolio includes digital analytics, digital campaign production, marketing data integration, as well as large scale data warehouse implementations. He has worked on numerous digital accounts including: McDonald's, Manulife, Wrigley's, Smart Communications, Financial Times, and Friso.

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