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Advertisers are increasingly leaning in on a variety of measurement solutions to enable metrics-driven media investments across channels. However, making sense of it all is often easier said than done. Amazon Advertising’s head of measurement success Maggie Zhang breaks down the solution into three steps.

With a growing number of touchpoints throughout a complex customer journey, conducting measurements to understand marketing success and proving return on investment has become table stakes. According to a survey of data professionals conducted by the Winterberry Group and IAB in 2020, half of the respondents believed measurement and attribution would be a top priority in 2021. However, managing a growing portfolio of measurement solutions with different objectives, use cases and methodologies can be overwhelming and confusing.

In fact, the 2021 Nielsen Annual Marketing Report revealed that brands of all sizes across industries have very little confidence in their existing measurement capabilities. Three tangible and foundational steps can help marketers get the most out of their existing measurement solutions to assess ROI and advertising effectiveness. These steps require an organized and unified approach, and enable measurement-based norms, benchmarks and actionable insights to ensure advertising success.

1. Organize your existing measurement portfolio to extract the most value out of measurement insights

If you have recently moved like me, you may realize and appreciate the benefits of cleaning, cleansing and organizing. When you gain full visibility of an organized space, you can easily determine and utilize the right tool for a specific job. This is similar to all the measurement tools and capabilities marketers accumulate over time and across various functional teams and business segments. As measurement solutions have flourished to meet the diverse needs of marketers, an overwhelming amount of niche solutions, methodologies and use cases have been created.

To effectively utilize these measurement tools, either homegrown or third-party, marketers should conduct a holistic audit and organize these tools through a consistent framework. For example, revisit your measurement toolbox and organize them by the importance of measured KPIs or funnel stages. Another approach could be to arrange measurement solutions by internal ownership and use cases from cross-channel planning to in-channel conversion.

2. Take a critical view of current first- and third-party measurement solutions in the changing technology and analytics space to stay relevant and effective

Let’s continue our moving and cleaning analogy here. With the ongoing evolution of the technology and analytics space, some of the existing measurement solutions may no longer be feasible or sufficient in the short or long term. As marketers are taking an audit of their current measurement capabilities, they should also view it through the lens of the ‘shelf life’ to continuously evaluate what will and will not work. There will be pivoting or deprecating involved based on the viability and reliability of specific measurement methodologies. In addition, marketers will also need to explore alternative measurement solutions and replenish the measurement toolbox with better-suited solutions to ensure measurement coverage and fidelity.

3. Leverage first-party assets and measurement capabilities from media publisher partners for unique insights

The evolving measurement environment has inevitably heightened the importance of first-party insights. eMarketer’s key digital trends for 2021 identified that marketers will test new measurement techniques and increasingly lean on first-party insights to fill the gap of the third-party metrics. As marketers are looking to extract value out of their first-party insights, they should also consider the unique first-party analytical assets media partners can offer to enhance measurement capabilities.

For example, Amazon Advertising offers a suite of unique first-party metrics and measurement solutions to prove and optimize marketing performance using interactions on Amazon such as branded search, detail page views and new-to-brand purchases. These first-party signals help advertisers understand consumers’ brand/product discovery and journey, and their purchase propensity and loyalty. In addition, many of these first-party signals can be combined with third-party KPIs to create a more holistic omnichannel outcome and unify online and offline measurement.

Unified measurement is a dynamic and evolving process

The ever-evolving measurement landscape is acting as a forcing function for marketers and the entire industry to change and adapt. The three steps discussed above are foundational by nature and serve as the starting point. It is important to note that these steps are not one and done. Rather they should be followed on an ongoing basis – lather, rinse and repeat.

Looking ahead, the measurement landscape will continue to be challenging and exciting. An organized and unified measurement approach is meant to organize your measurement capabilities across the full funnel stages; to connect the dots and fill the gap between first- and third-party insights and measurement solutions; and to continue innovating and collaborating with unique first-party sources. By doing so, marketers will gain more confidence and derive more value out of their marketing ROI measurement portfolio.

Maggie Zhang is head of measurement success at Amazon Advertising.

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