Measuring What Matters: The Four Stages of Media Measurement

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This quote from Sun Tzu rings as true in marketing today as it did in military strategy 2,500 years ago. Too often brands are relying on tactics - ad spend, email marketing campaigns, running promotions - without an underlying strategy driven by data. 

Brands and retailers have more data on hand than ever before. Data from website visits, store visits, loyalty and membership programs. But we often find that brands have difficulty connecting the dots. We live in an omnichannel retail world, and being able to make these connections offers a much more detailed picture of the success of your marketing strategy - particularly when it comes to paid media which always seems to be getting more expensive. 

Our latest white paper is designed to help as many marketing managers as possible navigate this complexity. "The 4 Stages of Media Measurement Maturity" is an invaluable resource for anyone managing campaigns across different channels -- from display and PPC ads, all the way through to email campaigns, discounts and promotions, and in-store events. 

In this guide, I break down four stages of media measurement maturity. All stages are within reach of mid-market brands with smaller budgets and big goals. The idea is to start with the simpler capabilities that will lay the foundation for more complex media measurement and insights later. 

Media measurement is not only a luxury for enterprise brands

Many mid-market companies assume they don’t have the financial means to afford advanced analytics, but are still keen to understand how their current strategies are performing. However, media measurement does not have to look like a multi-million dollar, multi-year deployment of an all-in-one data solution. Media measurement provides a way to audit your marketing strategy without breaking the bank, offering insights that can help you adapt and respond to your customers' behavior. 

Where does your brand fit along the maturity curve?

You might be in the early stages of media measurement, or feeling that you’re outgrowing your current capabilities. The important thing is to understand where you are now, and where you want to be. 

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In our role as both implementers and strategists for analytics capabilities for retailers and other organizations, we’ve found that taking the time to assess where your brand currently stands will help you create a roadmap for future success.

Stage 1: Mastering digital measurement. Most organizations are marketing across many different digital channels such as social media, email marketing campaigns, programmatic display ads, and even retail media like Amazon. Reaching this level of maturity means integrating data from several different channels and having a sense of how they are working together

Stage 2: Market level impact. By the second stage of measurement maturity, you will be able to link online marketing—ads, newsletter sends, and so on—to generalized sales behavior. Untangling how online spending impacts sales or leads can be difficult, and we do this through A/B testing across different markets. That includes both brands that have brick & mortar locations, and those that have a collection of digital sales and marketing channels. 

Stage 3: Digital and offline customer ID resolution. You know you are ready for more sophisticated tracking of conversions when you have become truly multi-channel. Brands that sell products both online and offline, and that run a significant number of digital and out-of-home ads, should be able to integrate all of those data points together. 

Stage 4: Media mix modeling and optimization. At the fourth stage of measurement maturity, you’ve collated disparate data sources, conducted simple market tests, and stitched together consumer IDs. Now, you want to use that data to optimize each channel. You want to quantify how Facebook vs. email vs. Google Ads vs. connected TV are impacting your audience overall and relative to each other. 

Every brand strives to reach the ultimate goal of media mix modeling and optimization, but it's important to first master the earlier stages of maturity. By following a crawl-walk-run approach, you can ensure that each component is in place before moving on to the next. Taking the time to assess where your brand currently stands will help you create a roadmap for future success.

Don't let the analytics revolution leave you behind – take advantage of media measurement today.

About the Author

Sally Kazin, Acadia’s Co-Head of Analytics, has worked in the Analytics and Insights industry for 13 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Georgia. Sally is a strong believer in blending analytics and strategy to drive business outcomes, and is always looking to demonstrate the impact that smart measurement is having on clients’ objectives.

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Sally Kazin