Is Marketing Measurement Useless under COVID-19?
As a provider of marketing measurement software, we consolidate large amounts of historical and near real-time data for our clients. We then run attribution and optimization models, producing valuable insights into past performance, as well as advice for future campaigns. But many of our clients have closed their physical stores, cut marketing budgets and cancelled upcoming campaigns. Consumer behavior is changing drastically. As a result, historical data is losing its value, as we can hardly compare this unprecedented situation to ‘normal’ periods in recent history. Is it time to pause all marketing communications and is marketing measurement now useless? We discuss these question with our CCO, Sven Meijer.
“The answer to the first question is yes and no,” says Sven. “Some industries have seen their revenue plummet as foot traffic disappeared and are now in crisis mode. It’s wise for them to reduce spend. But not all marketing channels should be turned on and off on demand; staying connected to your customer as a brand, for example, is important. This brings us to the second question: marketing measurement can still help us determine where to cut and where to spend. As lockdown measures are likely to last a while longer, we have to adapt to the new digital economy”
The advantage of having implemented a unified marketing measurement solution, such as Objective Platform, is the continuous availability of up-to-date data across all media channels. “Although predictions for strategic purposes are less accurate because we can’t refer to any similar historical time period, we can still look at what’s happening now. We observed several trends among our clients.”
“For many of our clients, website traffic is increasing. Closed stores and social distancing leads to more people online. Online sales aren’t fully compensating retail sales, but a solid digital marketing strategy could lead more consumers (back) to your website in the new digital economy. We also see that many clients have cut back on digital spend and are only leaving paid search on. This might save costs initially, but we see more opportunities.”
- Use your Objective Platform to check your organic search (SEO) performance and invest some time in your SEO strategy. In some cases, you already appear at the top of the search results organically for a branded search. You risk cannibalizing the value of organic search with branded paid search. Run an experiment and turn branded paid search off to see how much of the impact can be captured by organic instead.
- Social media use is high, so setting up a paid social campaign could be beneficial. Our clients have daily attribution insights into the value of all touchpoints a consumer interacts with. You’re watching your spend, so you want every euro or dollar invested to be effective, but the current situation is unique. We are working with our clients to run AB tests and incorporate those results in our attribution models. This makes them more accurate under the current circumstances.
- The same goes for YouTube advertising – your target group is likely to be spending more time there.
- Deepdive into the performance of all channels. Where can you optimize? Are you spending your TV budget wisely, for example? Which timeslots, ad formats and broadcast channels are most effective?
Stay Connected to the Consumer
- Cultivate the meaningful connection between your brand and the consumer. Research shows consumers enjoy being reassured by brands and don’t mind them reaching out. We see clients switching their focus from performance to branding, with creatives aimed at helping people stay positive in this difficult situation.
- You can also take your branding online. Paid social and display are good channels for branding. Track impressions and reach in Objective Platform to see whether changed propositions are working out or whether you are reaching your target audience.
If you don’t have a unified marketing measurement solution, you can start with the following points to help your team make fast, data-driven decisions:
- Centralize all data
- Make sure the data is cleansed and ready for analyses
- Provide easy, real-time access for the entire marketing team
- Organize data into actionable insights
“Of course, the most important thing for companies to do right now is to take care of their people,” adds Sven. “At the same time, we’ll likely live with social distancing measures for quite some time to come, and even after that consumer behavior might have changed forever. We want to help companies adapt to this new reality.”