Measuring beyond the click

Click it, we’ve got a hit, now go and measure it.

Pause please.

Measuring ads by click-through rate can only tell you so much.

The customer journey has changed significantly and the proliferation of devices among consumers continues to grow, therefore it’s more important than ever that you take advantage of the right opportunities and track and measure results across all devices.

Marketers need to understand that click-based measurement cannot capture consumers being exposed to advertising on one device, but then choosing to convert on another. As a standalone, click-based measurement does not provide a complete picture into the value the media investment generates.

Why marketers need to measure beyond the click

While the ideal scenario is that a consumer clicks on your ad and makes an immediate purchase, unfortunately this is not how consumers behave and thus rarely happens. Think about yourself as a consumer. How often do you click on an ad and immediately make a purchase? Oftentimes, you need time to think about it, or try something on in-store prior to deciding to purchase a specific item or service in-store or online.

There’s a number of reasons why you must measure beyond the click, including:

  • Click-based measurement only gives you a view into the performance of actions that occur, and can be tracked online. This measurement tactic should be leveraged for media channels that are focused on encouraging a consumer to click, such as search.
  • Clicks provide an incomplete picture of value. They’re a proxy metric that often is not tied to the actual online and offline sales. (clicks do not = sales)
  • Bots click on ads too. Don’t be misled into thinking their activity is a positive outcome for your brand.
  • Several industries are primarily driven by offline purchases. If you’re measuring on clicks only, you’re not connecting all of the dots on how your digital advertising investment impacts your in-store purchases.

Getting off a ‘click-based diet’

Yo-yo dieting is not a sustainable long-term weight loss method as it’s not realistic. Minimal calories are consumed, so dieters are left hungry and craving more. Similar to extreme dieting, click-based measurement does not produce the desired long-term results.

At the beginning stage of a yo-yo diet, participants are encouraged to lose five pounds within two weeks, just like how marketers get excited when they see their ad produce 100 clicks within the first few days of running the advertisement.

However, with a yo-yo diet, participants often resort to their old eating and lifestyle habits as they’re left hungry and not tackling the root of the problem. Instead of this yo-yo approach, participants should choose a healthy lifestyle change which will lead to long-term and sustainable weight loss results.

And as marketers, we need to ensure we have a ‘healthy measurement approach’ and think beyond clicks. The focus needs to be on business outcomes like actual sales or other behaviors that are indicative of business growth.

A performance based measurement approach – the ability to measure both online and offline transactions

We work with brands to help them meet their performance and measurement goals. A leading women’s clothing retailer partnered with us to drive new customer acquisition and build relationships with existing customers through one-to-one conversations.

They learned that their single-channel online focus was not working with their previous marketing partner. By measuring only click-to-conversion, they weren’t accounting for their strong brick-and-mortar presence, so they turned to Conversant to gain a more unified view of performance.

As a result, we measured both online and offline orders, and the retailer was able to attribute 14,000+ online and offline orders back to their digital media investment versus the 3,800 online orders they saw with their previous partner, providing a more complete view of the value their media investment generated.

A marketer’s digital media measurement approach needs to be centered around humans, not just clicks because it's easy.

Your brand needs to measure effectiveness based on the outcomes you set as goals. If your primary goal is clicks, find a company that optimizes to clicks. However, to truly measure marketing effectiveness across multiple browsers and devices, you need to start with the individual-level media execution and performance measurement that goes beyond clicks.

Expand your measurement strategy beyond the click

As a first step, set new marketing goals and KPIs that measure true impact and performance for your business. And remember, you need to connect your online and offline channels (closed-loop measurement) to ensure you can measure offline sales or other relevant actions (e.g. credit card signup) that occur offline.

Additionally, it’s important to be able to connect each purchase to the individual so you have an accurate representation of measurement. Some additional marketing goals and KPIs to consider include: efficiently promote sales in specific store locations, drive repeat purchases for existing customers, convert new prospects and drive SKU-level, category and more.

Today, more marketers are partnering with digital media vendors who are helping them to optimize to multiple outcomes and deliver sales. As a brand, your goals shouldn’t be clicks or impressions, it should be new customers, repeat purchases, location-level sales, and more.

As you continue to embark on this journey, make sure you have a buyer-first strategy (retention). It’s the best way to start.