Day 3 of #SMX East wraps up with insights on attribution, video ads and more discussion of analytics.
>> Quick Links to Day 3 Session Recaps
- Attribution: "How to Develop Multichannel Attribution Models That Move the Needle" by Janet Driscoll Miller
- Attribution: "Data Driven Attribution: The Future of Intelligent Measurement" by Simon Poulton
- Attribution: "An Attribution Journey" by Adam Proehl
- Video Ads: "Unleashing the Power of Online Video Ads" by Allen Martinez
- Video Ads: "Unleashing the Power of Online Video Ads " by Corey Henke
- Video Ads: "Cracking the Video Code on Facebook Ads" by Susan Wenograd
- Analytics & Insights: "User Scoring and Behavior Driven Personas" by Sayf Sharif
- Analytics & Insights: "SEM Analytics: Giving Your Educated Guesses an Advanced Degree" by Sajjan Kanukolanu
- Analytics & Insights: "A Crash Course in Dashboardology" by Bosley Jarrett
How to Develop Multichannel Attribution Models That Move the Needle
- One of the most common challenges in marketing today remains the ability, or lack of it, to measure the success of programs. This is especially true in B2B.
- To go about the task of measuring success, it's important to figure out what to track, specifically:
- Source/medium - Which channels are being tracked
- Content type - Specific offers such as webinars, guides or checklists
- Content focus - Such as paid versus organic/earned channels
- Other than Google's data-driven attribution (DDA), there are a few standard classes of attribution commonly used in B2B:
- Single-source (which attributes all credit for conversions to a single click)
- First touch/First click - Attributes all credit for a conversion to the first click in the funnel
- Last touch/Last click - Attributes all credit to the last click immediately preceding conversion
- Factorial (which measures multiple factors)
- Linear - Attributes conversion credit equally to all clicks in a specific journey
- Time decay - Attributes partial credit to clicks in a specific journey, emphasizing the latest clicks the most
- Choosing which attribution model will work best for you will often come down to testing.
- For B2B, Miller recommends using a combination of Google Analytics to track top-funnel interactions; marketing automation solutions like Marketo to track mid-funnel interactions for marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-accepted leads (SALs); and customer relationship management solutions like Salesforce to manage deep-funnel interactions such as sales-qualified leads (SQLs) and closed-won deals.
- Single-source (which attributes all credit for conversions to a single click)
Data Driven Attribution: The Future of Intelligent Measurement
- A common challenge in marketing attribution is figuring out whether to invest in programs that are proven winners versus programs that have not yet driven significant revenue. There is no clear-cut answer to this question - instead, attribution should be a study of where to deploy future resources for potential future performance.
- Google has already unveiled a number of standardized attribution models including last click, first click, linear, position-based and time-decay. However, Poulton argues that Google's machine learning-based DDA is the future.
- DDA volume requirements - It should be noted that in order to use DDA, advertisers must have recorded a minimum of 15,000 clicks and 600 conversions within the past 30 days.
- Poulton compares the concept of DDA to Lloyd Shapely's cooperative game theory, which attempts to assign "credit" for different players on a team for contributing to a game outcome. Specifically, Shapely's theory attempted to determine attribution should a specific player be removed from the team - and how much of the burden would respectively be shouldered by the remaining players.
- Therefore, DDA assembles sales and performance metrics from various channels such as Google Shopping, brand and non-brand terms, computing normalizing factors for outsize contributions of one channel or another. These aggregate calculations also take into consideration counterfactual gains (the most obvious example being individual channels whose isolated revenue doesn't add up to the total for the campaign).
- Limitations of DDA - While DDA seems like an exciting new field to explore, it's still a work in progress and its algorithm remains a black box that advertisers ultimately have to trust on faith. More importantly, DDA is available only for Google and doesn't talk to other important channels such as Facebook.
- Attribution is hard to get right - like a swap meet, you'll find good stuff and junk side-by-side.
- Challenges include the "canned formulas" of the standard models, which fail to cover view-through conversions and top-funnel interactions, as well as the drastically reduced relevance of cookies thanks to Apple's changes to its Safari browser. In addition, activities across multiple devices, as well as offline, remain difficult to track.
- Regardless, attribution should be considered a strategic concern - rather than focus on who gets "credit" for a conversion, it's usually a better idea to use it as a guide for where to best spend time, money and resources, particularly when considering the realities of campaign management: limited budgets, limited time and resources and potential organizational issues, such as data not always being available across different parts of your company
- A few use cases show that attribution can provide useful performance lift when applied directly to specific business needs. An art gallery that sold expensive artwork ran numerous paid campaigns, and without any direct sales of any art pieces through SEM campaigns, it instead drove signup for thousands of email addresses to drive in-store visits that eventually drove sales.
- Another use case with a conservative, technologically unsophisticated high-end furniture retailer involved some butting of heads to win approval for daring new campaign ideas, such as running uncapped digital budgets for a company whose brick-and-mortar managers despised e-commerce (viewing it as a competitive threat), but once the company's data was centralized and tests began in earnest, higher paid budgets led to demonstrably higher revenue.
- According to Andrew Robertson of BBDO Worldwide, "The 'right message' [creative] accounts for 80% of the return path." In other words, when producing a promotional video, the right creative message is more important than delivering it at the right time, or in the right place.
- While creative messaging in a video ad is arguably the "largest lever," it also tends to be the hardest to nail down. Some of the most effective messaging follows a story arc on Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions, such as going from self-loathing to self-acceptance, which was the story behind Dove soap's viral "Skin Deep" campaign in which women described themselves to prison artists, which yielded underwhelming pictures...but were then described as beautiful in face-to-face accounts.
- Martinez suggests that filmmakers aren’t that different than marketers, and they just speak a different language. Both are creators of content that hope audiences will get to the end of the video, whether that be a 2-hour movie or a 30-second video ad. To ensure success with video ads, it's recommended that advertisers "get clear about" what they want to accomplish at every stage of the funnel.
- Near-future opportunities include immersive and experiential videos, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360 video. Martinez pointed out a virtual experience from IKEA which, with recent advances in technology such as Google ARCore, Apple ARKit and virtual reality "plane detection," creating virtual experiences has become drastically less expensive, turning 6-figure projects into 5-figure projects.
- Martinez also recommends that advertisers explore multiple video channels, including YouTube, Facebook video, hashtag-targeted Twitter videos and SnapChat, as well as potential future opportunities for outdoor as video wall advertising sees more adoption.
- Henke asserts that “The power of video is attention,” drawing the contrast between the full attention paid to a Muhammed Ali fight in the 1970s and today’s sports spectators, who all look at their phones instead of the game.
- YouTube advertising - Henke points out that one of the more powerful nuances of YouTube "TrueView" video ads is the distinction that the publisher makes between videos that are viewed for less than 30 seconds and more than 30 seconds. Videos viewed less than 30 seconds are considered an " impression," and most importantly, YouTube serves them for free, at no charge.
- Differences and similarities between YouTube and Facebook - Both platforms are a bit like a content slot machine. Your Facebook feed might be full of birthdays, marriage announcements or ads. Similarly, YouTube is also something of a melting pot.
- Driving clicks with YouTube preview cards and end screens - To drive traffic to a destination, such as subsequent videos that are longer-form, preview cards (which act as a call-to-action in the last 20 seconds of a video) are a useful tool, as are end screens that are properly loaded with "Watch next video" links or external links.
- 6-Second bumper ads - Bumper ads cost 1/4 the price of long-form TrueView ads, are purchased on a CPM basis and, of course, can't be skipped. Effective bumpers grab viewers' attention with a "hook," share a message or value proposition with a "line," and end with a "sinker" call to action. Bumpers are often used to tease or amplify a longer version of a video.
- Scheduling multi-month YouTube campaigns - One strategy that advertisers might consider:
- Month 1: Focus on full-length TrueView videos to "get the story out there"
- Month 2: Remarket to create additional frequency
- Month 3: Multiple bumpers to share a variety of value propositions
- The Future of YouTube - YouTube is the #1 video site in the world, but it's also the world's #2 search engine. Henke asserts that in 5 years, YouTube may end up being the #1 search engine as well, surpassing Google itself.
- Comparisons to traditional search metrics:
- Search Terms - The same Google Analytics functionality found in the "Search Terms" tab can be found in YouTube's "Where ads were shown" tab.
- Phrase/broad match - YouTube's in-market and custom affinity metrics effectively cover the same as search's phrase match & broad match.
Cracking the Video Code on Facebook Ads
- Wenograd suggests that these days, some advertisers focus more on posting as many Facebook videos as often as possible, without a strong strategy.
- First steps - One of the best first steps for Facebook video ads is to create cold audiences from warm ones, based on web traffic, page fans and email lists. These lists can then be used to generate lookalike audiences.
- Additional filters - On top of lookalike audiences, Facebook offers additional filter options, such as:
- Website names
- Audience insights & custom audiences - The Facebook Audience Insights page can supply additional targeting ideas. It should be noted that custom audiences will often wind up being remarketing audiences. This is because Facebook is looking to drive engagement and ensure its users don't leave Facebook.
- "How long should my video be?" - This is possibly the most common question Facebook advertisers have. Wenograd's answer: "I don't know. Test it." There doesn't seem to be a single, perfect Facebook video length.
- Metrics - Despite the fact that inexperienced advertisers often try to run conversion-focused campaigns, it's common for Facebook videos to show high engagement at a low cost, but poor conversion and purchase rates. Conversion campaigns tend to have the highest CPMs - this can lead to advertisers paying high prices for people who don’t convert.
- Video views vs. conversion campaigns - Facebook videos are, in comparison, significantly cheaper, since Facebook wants to drive engagement.
- Facebook's own video metrics are grouped into awareness, consideration and purchase stages, intended to mirror a traditional sales funnel. Still, at this point, with few exceptions, using awareness-focused Facebook videos are cheaper and more effective for driving cold traffic. Facebook lets advertisers create engagement audiences from these top-funnel viewers; for instance, advertisers can set those audiences that watched 25% of a video to see remarketing ads.
- To drive the most revenue with customer targeting, consider using a Moneyball-inspired strategy of finding your "most valuable players" - in this case, shoppers who are most likely to convert to paying customers.
- Wes Anderson movie fans are more valuable - In various tests, Sharif found, for instance, that people who like Wes Anderson movies have a higher value than standard shoppers.
- To customize content for specific audiences, consider using a tagging strategy, rather than marketing personas, to find the audiences and business cases you seek. By assigning different values to different topics - for instance, content focused around a top-funnel topic such as "patio installation ideas" might get scored 1 point, while content for a deeper-funnel topic that indicates strong purchase intent such as "price comparison for fire pits" might get score 5 points. Once audiences hit a certain point threshold, they can be engaged with deeper-funnel content to bring them closer to conversion. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager can be used here.
- "Personas fail because algorithms are better than humans" - Sharif backs up his bold claim with the infamous anecdote of Target sending pregnancy-related ads to a teenager, which enraged her father until he found out that she was, in fact, pregnant.
- “Be a digital archaeologist” – Sharif notes that he studies archaeology, and recommends using this approach to audience targeting. Rather than simply looking for an excuse to pelt audiences with whatever content or offers they have on hand, advertisers should instead try to figure out what customers are doing, what they're looking for, what needs their searches reveal, and then, finally, how advertisers can address those needs.
- Kanukolanu begins his presentation with the importance of gathering data to determine ideal landing pages for both mobile and desktop.
- Case study: Kanukolanu's team had a landing page that received the majority of its traffic from mobile, with a conversion rate (CVR) of 1-2%, while it received a minority of its traffic to its desktop landing page which had between 3-4% CVR.
- To increase the mobile CVR, his team sought conventional advice from the Worldwide Web, such as streamlining the landing page, placing the CTA prominently above the fold, avoiding long-form content, and minimizing visuals to limit distractions. However, this conventional wisdom was advertiser-centric, not audience centric.
- Kanukolanu's team implemented the following 4 step plan:
- Picking the right tools - To understand audience behavior (relatively low impact)
- Analysis – To understand audience’s pain points (medium impact)
- UI/UX decisions - To address the pain points (high impact)
- User testing – Incorporating audience feedback always in testing mode (highest impact)
- Using tools such as clickmaps and heatmaps, Kanukolanu's team found that its mobile page had:
- No activity in the top nav - which positioned it as irrelevant.
- Poor scroll-through rate below the form fill
- Some interaction with content - Perhaps because mobile users are used to scrolling on mobile as native behavior
- His team then built a new considerably more-successful new template with:
- Keyword-rich intro content at the top
- Image icons showing the benefits of his team's product to encourage users to scroll
- An anchored CTA button that remained floating at the bottom of the screen regardless of scroll
- Jarrett suggests that many digital marketers are "using dashboards wrong." These important metrics view should be used to "speed up analysis and make us more efficient.”
- The purpose of dashboards - Jarrett asserts that a good dashboard does all four of the following:
- Does it speed up analysis and anomaly detection?
- Does it answer an important business question?
- Does it provide context?
- Does it let your entire team get at the insights they need? (The most important consideration of all)
- Jarrett suggests that the best dashboards provide at-a-glance answers to immediate tactical questions with proper context, and do so for your entire marketing team. Being forced to generate multiple versions of the same dashboards for different team members pursuing different success metrics is a significant time waster.
About the Author
Andrew Park is a content marketing manager at QuanticMind. A UC Berkeley graduate and lifelong Bay Area resident, Andrew has done tours of duty in editorial, PR and marketing, and now works with the QuanticMind team to communicate the importance of data science and machine learning in digital advertising.More Content by Andrew Park