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How-to: Measure media spend’s impact at all points of the funnel

Feliks Malts
Feliks Malts
6 min read
20 July 2016

Direct response is great, but even the most ardent performance marketers understand that the bottom of the funnel doesn’t fill itself. Marketing spend can’t focus solely on converting an audience; there are a few familiar steps in the funnel that must be addressed before revenue begins to flow in.

So how do marketers measure the impact of these interim steps? Revenue is one thing, but measuring influence is a much trickier proposition – and one not many marketers have solved completely. But there is a methodology that marketers should strive to follow.

The first step would be to establish overall business objectives, which will be used to form goals and KPIs to determine success. These goals can also be used to shape channel investments, creative execution, and strategy. Measuring a campaign improperly can not only waste media funds but can directly impact the bottom line.

Once your overarching business objectives are set, you can begin to craft goals and KPIs that ladder up into the campaign objectives. It is key to remember that while the ultimate goal may be sales, there may be channels that serve a different purpose that will eventually lead to sales – or provide needed insights. The measurement framework can be crafted based on where your objectives fall within the purchase funnel, which typically consists of awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, and advocacy.

Below are some measurement options based on campaign type:

Awareness campaigns

Whether awareness is the sole purpose of your campaign or just a small facet, it is important to properly measure the brand impact. In many cases, consumers will need to be aware of or recall a product before they are driven to purchase. Awareness can be measured in multiple ways, and some tactics include:

Surveys: Surveys allow you to track attitudinal metrics against your target or current customers, and they can often be used to add a layer of insight into why the bottom-line metrics are being affected. Surveys can be used to track brand awareness, product awareness, ad recall, brand perception compared to competitors, and purchase intent. Survey options include:

  • Reoccurring monthly surveys to your target audience: Companies like SurveyMonkey and Google offer audience options that allow a brand to send surveys directly to their target audience. Most have the choice of geographic, demographic, and behavioral targeting options. These options will allow you to set a baseline awareness and monitor movement over time. These surveys are quick to implement and lower investment.
  • Brand Lift Studies: These surveys allow you to track the direct effect of media. Brand lift studies use tags to track exposure to media and use a control/exposed methodology. Brand lift studies can help answer questions such as, how did my campaign perform overall? What role did each channel play for the brand? What elements of the campaign were most successful? The control group becomes the baseline, and the media effect can be measured by the lift between the control baseline and the exposed group. Examples of companies that offer brand lift studies include Nielsen Vizu, Millward Brown Digital, and Datalogix. Brand lift studies usually come at a higher cost and take longer to implement. This is a powerful tool that allows you to see how consumers are organically talking about a brand and to gauge brand sentiment without bias. Social listening can also help monitor your brand in relation to current events and identify which topics and phrases are identified with your brand.

Search Volume: Tracking search volume will allow you to see if consumers are typically searching for your brand by name, or if live media is leading to an increase in brand searches instead of non-brand searches. You can track these metrics through tools such as AdWords or Google Analytics.

Consideration campaigns

Consideration is viewed as the bridge between awareness and conversion, and the key metric here is engagement. Consideration can be measured by monitoring website activity and how consumers are engaging with brand content. Some website activities to measure consideration include page views, time spent on product pages, engagement with page content, signups (email, newsletter), cart additions, bounce rates, and video views.

These metrics can also be used to inform decisions on the most effective ways to drive a consumer from consideration to purchase – and they can answer questions that inform optimizations and identify actions of converters vs. non-converters.

Conversion campaigns

Conversion campaigns can be used to track sales impact based on media exposure. Key metrics to track conversion campaigns are sales, ROI, ROAS, and conversion rate.

For conversion campaigns, using attribution can be powerful and can help determine if media efforts are aiding in driving sales. There are many different attribution models and tools available. A few examples of the different attribution models include last touch, first touch, linear, time decay, and algorithmic. Models availability will vary based on which vendor is chosen; for example, Convertro will have different model and analysis options than Google Analytics. In addition to just tracking sales, attribution will allow you to gain additional insights into why you’re driving sales (or in some cases not driving sales) and how campaigns can be optimized to increase sales.

Some additional use cases of an attribution platform include:

  • Identifying the customer journey can help answer questions such as:
    1. What is the typical path to purchase?
    2. What are the converting and non-converting paths?
    3. What is the typical time to purchase your product?
  • Channel impact is used to identify the true impact of each channel, and it can help answer questions such as:
    1. How do channels influence each other? What are influencer and introducer channels that may not be closing sales, but are still impacting sales?
    2. Are certain channels driving conversion on their own?
    3. What are the top converting channels?
    4. What strategies and campaigns are driving conversions?
    5. Are there top-of-funnel events? How many users are signing up for free trials and then converting? Are there consistent behaviors associated with each?
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Feliks Malts