Examining Analytics Across Multiple Online Platforms

In traditional advertising, there’s proof that employing multiple platforms to reach consumers boosts a campaign’s overall effectiveness. I recently read that a TV campaign used in conjunction with just one additional forum increases conversion rates by as much as 245 percent. This bodes well for online marketers because the Internet offers the ability to reach users at a multitude of touch points and target messages to maximize each communication effort.

As online video campaigns incorporate additional forums like widgets, mobile marketing, and social networking, it’s getting difficult to compare apples to apples to assess a promotion’s success and cross-channel impact. The same metrics that measure a viral campaign are inherently different than what merits an effective mobile effort. So how should digital advertisers compile data to get a holistic view of an entire campaign across multiple platforms?

Where We Are Now

Effective tracking allows marketers to work smarter — not harder. Armed with accurate data about how well consumers are responding to advertisements, marketers can make informed decisions about how they are serving ads to users and enhancing their return on investment. I believe research is starting to show that reaching users across an array of digital forums can reinforce branding messages and affect both online and offline sales. However, to monetize these kinds of campaigns, there’s still work to be done on the analytics side to provide marketers with actionable information about advertisements on developing technologies.

Because various platforms allow users to interact with them in such different ways, advertisers must take this into account and gauge each forum independently before looking at the complete picture. To do so, marketers must get a little creative to make the most of current analytics models.

The first step, while it may be obvious, is to establish ways to differentiate traffic and conversions generated by each forum. This can be accomplished though any number of methods like ID tags or unique landing pages. Not only does this provide a way to track one channel over another, it also lets marketers monitor the behaviors and affinities of users across different forums. By establishing which medium best suites a particular campaign, advertisers also have the chance to focus resources on the most profitable platform.

Beyond this, marketers should try to isolate the implementations of different campaign stages across platforms. Running distinct campaigns across various channels will keep the data separate, and from here, advertisers can then correlate the success of their efforts on a more holistic level. This will illuminate two things: a spike in overall performance could be attributed to a particular forum and it would combine proven tracking capabilities of established outlets with the still evolving analytics of emerging platforms. While an imperfect science, it would provide some data from which advertisers can improve future efforts.

Case Study: Beijing Olympics

As with any multi-platform campaign, the idea is to provide content to users when and where they want it. With the Beijing Olympics coming up, I want to use NBC’s planned coverage as a short case study of what a multi-platform can look like. Online users will have access to 2,200 hours of live coverage and the ability to download clips; mobile subscribers can also view live events on their phone. Additionally, NBC plans to use interactive TV, fantasy, and on-demand formats. Compared to the Super Bowl and March Madness, NBC is offering a more complete package of video formats, interactive forums, and on-demand programming — all the while keeping content timely by not streaming all online videos live. This provides content to viewers, multiple outlets for advertisers and will still keep viewers in front of their television sets for primetime coverage. This is about as close to a win-win situation as I have seen yet.

I predict the success of this campaign will be used as a benchmark against which other campaigns can be measured against. As advertisers continue to create metrics and frameworks around how to gauge multiplatform marketing, we can turn to post-Olympic data to shed some light on what we can do. Let’s sit back and watch.

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