In the online era, marketers have seen their careers transition away from pure creativity and into the realm of KPIs and ROI. This is hardly surprising as budgets are squeezed and margins become tighter – all business divisions need to justify themselves and prove their business impact. However, this poses problems as we are still far away from any kind of consensus as to how we can measure the full impact of marketing campaigns. Put simply, CMOs desperately need to justify their expenditure.

While in many ways this is a historic problem, the challenge is perhaps now most evident in the tying online advertising to offline sales. While click throughs provide the ultimate evidence of how an online ad leads to an online sale, until recently we were far away from establishing how a web, social or mobile ad may influence a customer into making an in-store purchase. This has significant ramifications as ecommerce sales only make up 15% of retail transactions in the UK.

Existing measurement methods are proving increasingly problematic for brands. Cookies used to be a useful tool for marketers as they could help trace the customer’s ecommerce journey. However, cookies have limitations and can get deleted, go stale, be used by bots or are simply not supported by many browsers and/or devices.

2014 marked a year of transition for the ad tech industry. As marketers increasingly demanded further insight into their return on ad spend, issues surrounding viewability and quality became very prominent. Despite this pressure, little technological advancement was made to reduce these viewability concerns, with many vendors still only measuring a group of anonymous people in a black box. In 2015, the question of viewability has evolved beyond simply “has my ad been seen?” Today, marketers want to know not only if an ad has been seen, but also who is seeing it.

This demand is now starting to have a real impact. The next big revolution in the advertising world is now centered around ‘people based measurement.’ This allows marketers to manage reach and frequency across all connected devices. In this way every media investment can be tied to an actual person. Indeed, it is the only way of establishing a full return on investment and in turn the true effectiveness of an ad strategy.

Bridging the gap between the online and offline worlds is enabled by using information from registered users, including names, locations, email addresses and interests – all of which is gold dust for a marketer. This information provides marketers with a unique link that allows advertisers to view the customers’ path to purchase – from viewing the advert online to buying a product or service in-store.

The shift away from cookies and the need for more effective insight into the impact of campaigns is driving the need for people based measurement. This measurement is becoming the next mega-trend in the industry, and forward thinking CMOs who embrace this new technology will gain a crucial early adopter advantage over their peers.


By Katie Field, Managing Director of Viant UK. 

Katie will be sharing her thoughts and advice on "Bridging Online Campaigns with Offline Sales" at the Digital Marketing Show 2015. Book your free ticket now

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