James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer, Rooster Strategic Solutions

Sonny and Cher, peanut butter and jelly, and digital and analytics are all elements that go together in ways that make the other better. No one eats just a jelly sandwich. Sonny’s solo work barely found the charts. And in a very Jerry Maguire sense, analytics complete digital.

One of the best parts about digital media is that it is measurable. Executors of digital campaigns can know instantly whether the time, effort, and money they put into it created the desired result.

The challenge of digital is that the pace of advancing technology and operational struggles over the years have combined to dull advertisers’ expectations for timely metrics. It’s a hit and miss venture. Maybe the banner results are knowable but the site-served portion has to wait. Or maybe the marketing automation is knowable but the eblast numbers could take weeks.

There are real issues delaying some tactics. Cobbling together a group of vendors to deliver a special program can create challenges. Or, using a group of digital executions to generate an off-line KPI neuters the reported numbers until the real results are known.

Analytics tools are improving the situation. Google Data Studio, Ninja Cat, Alight Analytics (and others) are all taking major swipes at the varied vendor world of digital, typically by tying together APIs (Application Programming Interface). Unless the digital vendor landscape consolidates, it’s the best route to a global answer.

On a localized level, working with a single digital aggregator and deploying all of your tactics through one tool (like Google Tag Manager or a third-party partnership) can get most of the way.

The key item holding this up is on the vendor/provider side. Operational inefficiencies and a lack of coordinated feedback calling for improvements here have left advertisers without the numbers needed or without it on a timely basis.

Advertisers can be difficult and ask for more than is feasible, but that is not the case here. There should be a shared expectation that the following is provided either 24/7 through dashboards or at least twice monthly.

  • Audio/video – goal impressions, delivered impressions, clicks, ctr, viewability percentage, completion percentage, 50% completion percentage
  • Banners/native – goal impressions, delivered impressions, clicks, CTR, viewability percentage
  • Eblasts – goal deliveries, actual deliveries, unique open rate, clicks for each link
  • eNewsletters – delivered impressions, clicks, CTR
  • Mobile messaging – goal deliveries, actual deliveries, clicks
  • Social – reach, impressions, clicks, CTR … and any deeper engagement metrics unique to the specific platform

Email and mobile messaging, specifically, have a cadence that differs from the rest. A quick report should be expected noting that the email was successfully delivered to the intended audience. Then, a few weeks later, after 80%-90% of the activity is completed, another report should be provided.

It’s going to take some time for digital and analytics to sync up again, but the benefits will be realized by all. Advertisers will know what works and optimize each campaign smartly. Premium vendors will earn more business because they will prove their premium with each report … and be able to increase rates. And the experts in the middle will help read the reports and provide key insights.