Data Drill: D2C Brands Struggle To Get Accurate First-Party Information

Email marketers can be forgiven for perhaps feeling smug:  The email address is the foundational piece of self-reported data.

That should be kept in mind as brands seek first-and zero-party data in response to changes like the pending loss of cookies. Accessing accurate data is their biggest hurdle, and some are still using spreadsheets, according to the State of DTC Marketing Measurement, a study by Measured and Sequent Partners.

Marketers are very concerned about these issues (in this order):

  • Data accuracy
  • Inaccurate reporting
  • Ad costs
  • Tracking limitations
  • Data compliance
  • Targeting restrictions

Brands also face challenges in getting useful insights from measurement:

  • Manual data & Reporting—49%
  • Data Fragmentation—45%
  • Data or Metrics Are Inconsistent Across Sources—41%
  • Outdated Data (Timeliness)—48%
  • Difficulty Connecting Speed To Outcomes—33%
  • Lack of Trust in Data—31%
  • Lack of Granularity—21%
  • Lack of in-house Resources—17%
  • Lack of Internal Alignment—12%

Overall, D2C brands now allocate 37.2% for prospecting, 32.8% for retention and 37.2% for retargeting.

The study found that more 80% of D2C marketers are still reliant on click-based reporting for measuring media performance. Their primary forms of media performance technology are:

Platform attribution (Attribution/Lift Study/Results From Ad Platform—37.1%
Platform Reporting—27%
Site-Side Analytics (Google Analytics)—16.6%
MMM (Marketing Mix Modeling)—11.9%
MTA (Multi-Touch Attribution—2.5%
Only 17.6% say they lack a single source of truth for measuring marketing performance. But they are now spending 9-24 hours per week on reporting.
That may explain why more than 50% are investing in reporting and visualization.

Which performance metrics are important? The respondents cite:

  • ROI—70%
  • Sales or Revenue—61%
  • ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)—41%
  • CPA—38%
  • CPO (Advertising cost per order)—38%
  • CPC (Cost per click)—30%
  • LTV (Customer Lifetime Value)—30%
  • Site Traffic—30%
  • Net Profit—29%

With first-party data top of mind, D2C marketers are using these technologies in their martech stacks:

  • CRM—47%
  • Marketing data warehouse—45%
  • Specialized cross-channel reporting dashboards—44%
  • BI (Business Intelligence) tool—43%
  • Marketing analytics tool—43%
  • Automatic integration tool—35%
  • Spreadsheets—23%

Many are actively running tests, including:

  • Geography-based tests—61%
  • RCT (Randomized Control) or Audience Split Tests—49%
  • Platform or Vendor Lift Studies—44%
  • Scale, Saturation, or Volume tests—43%
  • A/B tests with campaign tactics—41
  • Lift-based tests—20%

Are they doing all this correctly? Some aren’t. For instance, 26.6% conduct geo-based tests using the same market as a control.

They choose control and treatment markets as follows:

  • Analyzing demographics, population and/or sales data—85%
  • Running a correlation tests—52%
  • Rotate the selection—47%
  • Regression modeling—28%

Measured and Sequent Partners surveyed 300+ marketers at the director level and above at D2C brands.


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