“Start with the questions you want to answer and work back from there.”
That has been the conventional wisdom when it comes to media measurement. To some extent that makes sense. But is that all there is to it? We can think of several examples where just asking the question without being mindful of the decision falls short. We suggest taking this further and focusing on the decision you will make when this question is answered. How will this decision change based on the range of possible outcomes?
With regard to cross-channel media measurement, we first need to understand what media investment decisions are being informed, the range of possible outcomes, and how decisions will change based on this range. With this information, you can then prioritize measurement resources and the requirement for precision.
Following are two examples of commonly asked questions that, while interesting, do not inform a practical media investment decision that will change based on the possible outcomes.
How can I understand the exact path my customers take to a conversion?
This sounds great but is essentially impossible. Set aside whether this is doable in the walled-garden privacy-sensitive environment in which we live today. If it were possible to have a clear understanding of the exact path sequence, what media-investment decisions would you make? Unless you spend 100 percent of your media investment with a single programmatic partner, you can’t force a human to consume media in the exact sequence and path you desire.
How can I understand the incrementality of my branded search?
Again, this sounds like a compelling question, but often the decision to own your brand keyword is strategic. Whether the incrementality is 5 or 95 percent, be mindful of the resources required to chase this down with precision as the investment decision is not likely to change.
Instead of those two, here are three better cross-channel measurement questions that align perfectly to the investment decision-making process and will change significantly based on the range of potential measurement outcomes.
- Which of my prospecting tactics and media vendors can I continue to spend into related to my guiding metric, and how much should I adjust my budget for each in a test-learn-grow framework?
- How much can I spend into a specific prospecting tactic and vendor before the amount reaches my guiding metric limitation?
- Which prospecting tactics are not performing and should be cut or have their budgets reduced (and by how much) in a test-learn-grow framework?
In the world of cross-channel media measurement, asking the right questions is important but being clear on the related decisions and range of possible outcomes is just as critical for the prioritization of resources, the success of your campaign, and driving growth for the business.