Cross-Channel Reporting is Essential for Performance Marketers

Cross-Channel Reporting

James Bance, Head of Growth and Expert in Marketing Strategy

Published 03/01/2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learned at Measured over the last four years, it’s the massive value that a trusted, reliable cross-channel reporting dashboard delivers to performance marketers. We set out as a company to provide best-in-class test and control experimentation but found that our clients are perhaps reaping the most tangible benefits from our framework for cross-channel investment decisions.

Today, most marketing reporting is fragmented and, quite simply, a mess. If you are a marketer that has gone down the road of a formal multi-touch attribution (MTA) engagement, you already know that this is a herculean task that often spirals into a perpetual state of on-boarding that never lands. The holy grail promises are never delivered, and source-of-truth cross channel reporting built from user-level paths up never results in reliable cross channel reporting for high-value budget allocation decisions.

Why does Multi-Touch Attribution fail to deliver the desired reporting results?

  1. The vendors/publishers are all claiming 100% of conversions they touched (last-touch) which leads to severe duplication issues and acquisition costs that are vastly understated.
  2. MTA has not lived up to the promise of a full cross-channel view because it lacks impression/view through data and is fraught with breakage and data reconciliation issues.
  3. Vendor or agency lift studies are helpful indicators but cannot be compared in an apples-to-apples way and used to drive cross-channel investment decisions.
  4. Privacy laws like GDPR/CCPA and the crackdown on third-party cookies make it harder for user-level multi-touch tracking and thus attribution.

The goal for every marketer today should be to align their KPIs to guiding business metrics and speak a language finance understands - marginal incremental contribution. By deploying best-in-class test and control experimentation (aka incrementality testing) in an ongoing capacity, marketers can gain clarity on the true contribution of each media channel and tactic across the portfolio. What CFO wouldn’t want that!?

So why hasn’t it been done already?

Well, the short answer is - it’s difficult. The difficulty is not in building the connections to the platforms for data collection, it’s actually in understanding and designing best-in-class experiments (holdouts) within the limitations and idiosyncrasies of each marketing channel and platform.

Three items needed by marketers for cross-channel reporting, according to Measured CTO Madan Bharadwaj:

  1. Universal cross-channel performance reporting.
  2. De-duplicated and quality-assured data, reconciled on a daily basis.
  3. A unified view across the portfolio including TV, Paid Social, Podcast, OTT, Affiliate, Social Influencer, Search...all channels.

Why is this so important?

Once all marketing performance data is in a quality assured single source of truth environment, marketing leaders then have the tools to:

  • Hold their teams accountable.
  • Make high-value media investment decisions with confidence.
  • Plan for different scenarios and understand how different marketing investment strategies will grow revenue.

When incrementality coefficients are applied to business metrics (such as CPA, LTV, Sales, NetProfit/$) in a normalized way, with a full view across all media, marketers can quickly understand which channels are really driving revenue, then cut the waste and use those dollars to scale into more profitable tactics.

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