2017: the year that measurement grows up


As digital marketers we ply our trade off the back of numbers and measurement. Whether the end goal is clicks, impressions, links, traffic, leads sales or revenue, measurement is the cornerstone of what we do.

Robert Weatherhead Robert Weatherhead Group Operations Director, Amplifi Manchester measurement Programmatic trends

Businesses have been born, built and sold out of digital marketing’s ability to measure, and be measured, giving our clients confidence that they were the best return for their marketing investment.

But whatever we think we know about analytics, attribution, and return on investment; things are about to get a lot more serious. 2017 will see our numbers get scrutinised in far more detail than ever before, and we better hope we have the answers. A perfect storm of technological advancements, client pressures, and increased awareness will mean that we can expect to be under the microscope and questioned at every turn. What’s making up this storm? Let’s take a look.

The search for the single customer view
Brands have been on an elusive quest for their ‘single view’ of marketing performance across all of their advertising as channels and measurement have fragmented. Well the good news for them is that the technology has advanced enough to provide them this; at least for the advertising which can provide the data. Cookies, calls, EPOS data and everything in between can be combined to give them this view they wanted. Now they must decide what to do with it.

Attribution matures
Attribution is nothing new in the world of digital marketing, but it feels as if it is coming of age. More and more advertisers are developing models for attributing sales based on their unique customer journeys.

And as more advertising channels become predominantly digital they will become wrapped up in this attribution mix and advertisers will be looking for even more answers about what influenced their conversions to sale. As a result more agencies are bulking up on their data capabilities, looking to market this as a service and providing their clients with the aforementioned ‘single customer view’ of their advertising effectiveness.

Performance beyond the click
The world of display advertising is going through its own revolution as advertisers and publishers get to grips with viewability and what it means to both the effectiveness and trading of their campaigns.

Is too much being made of viewability as a performance metric? Should we be trading on a viewable CPM? Should viewability come into our return on investment calculations? Does guaranteed viewability guarantee better performance? Agencies and media owners should expect questions to be asked, and challenges posed around this issue in 2017

Social media measurement comes under scrutiny
As social media has risen to prominence and demanded more of the marketing budget pie trading on softer metrics and ‘engagement’ it has never been far from scrutiny.

What value should we place on a like? Or a share? And which ones are real? Not new questions for anybody operating in the social media space, but the scrutiny they encounter in 2017 will be greater than ever before.

At the moment it would seem that those ‘winning’ in the field of social engagement are those that know how to game the system. After all, is somebody really ‘engaging’ with your company if they are liking or commenting in order to enter a competition? And how true is your audience if you are a UK brand and 50% of them are outside of the country?

Social media measurement will do some growing up in 2017 and scrutiny over the number presented will never be far away.
Few would doubt its effectiveness as part of the marketing mix, but it’s time for it to get serious about numbers.

Question marks raised over measurement validity
Facebook have done us nobody any favours. Their video measurement scandal may not have cost advertisers any money, but it will now make them question the validity of any numbers we put in front of them, regardless of source.

And this scrutiny will not be limited to social platforms. People wanted to lambast Facebook for being judge and jury over its advertiser statistics, and marketers for trusting them. But what about their duopolistic partner in crime Google? How many brands spend millions on PPC, trade display through DBM, host videos on Youtube, and track it all through Google Analytics?

It’s no wonder Google stayed quiet when the opportunity was there to stick the boot in.

Independent adjudicators in the measurement space will be stepping up their game in 2017 to capitalise on this mistrust, and we as digital marketers need to be in a position to adapt and advise based on our client’s needs.

Let’s get serious
These factors present both a threat and an opportunity for us as digital marketers. It’s time for us to step up our game as the Math Men of the advertising world. Those that do so will reap the rewards; but fail to keep up with the pace and be prepared to be left behind.

Robert Weatherhead Robert Weatherhead Group Operations Director, Amplifi Manchester measurement Programmatic trends
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