Double Standards - How is performance marketing helping digital?

Highly targeted campaigns are now delivering superior ROI for digital clients, according to two performance marketing experts.

Ellie Edwards, managing director, Quisma
Ellie Edwards, managing director, Quisma

BARRY LEE - MANAGING DIRECTOR, PERFORMICS

- How can performance marketing enable clients to reach consumers across all touchpoints on the customer journey - both online and offline?

Performance marketing is simply an extension of media planning, which has always been focused on reaching the right consumer at the right time, irrespective of the channel the consumer is using. What performance marketing brings is a new level of interpretation and application of data.

- Is it possible in today's digital and data-accountable world that agencies could become too obsessed with audience measurement and optimisation at the expense of creativity?

Accountability and creativity are not mutually exclusive. Data is too often viewed as a barrier, rather than an enabler. When we analyse and interpret in the live environment, we can refine our campaigns continuously, deliver creativity and drive real-time performance. Having the right talent and tools is vital to extract the most value from the volume of live tracking and analytics available. We believe creativity is a vital element of all performance marketing. We have invested on delivering dashboard solutions that allow planners to spend their time building smart, creative and actionable solutions rather than being buried in Excel, manipulating data points.

- In the past few years, have you noticed a change in the ratio of digital impressions you deliver for clients, in terms of whether they are geared more towards branding or direct-response ads?

Shifts in impression volumes between brand and direct-response ads have been impacted by the developments in buying mechanics, such as exchange buying, far more than any shifts in client focus or strategies. Our use of the VivaKi Audience on Demand platform allows us to deliver targeted campaigns, with huge decreases in the impression volumes required to deliver our clients results. The ideal scenario for performance planning should be to serve just one impression to your ideal audience that delivers the required action for the client.

- How far have we advanced away from relying on clicks as a way of measuring digital campaigns, and what are the other metrics available?

Our aim will always be the delivery of our clients' business results, as this is the one metric that really matters. I cannot remember the last brief we had that specified a volume of clicks as a KPI. The click, however, remains one of the key measures for digital activity as it can indicate the first stage of a consumer response path. The challenge is not one of advancing away from clicks, but of ensuring that we have as many relevant metrics as possible and that we understand the relative values and importance of those metrics for each client. Having an arsenal of proxy and interim metrics that provide us with an optimisation opportunity allows us to continually iterate the performance of even the most effective campaign.

- Do you see a time when media agencies won't have separate specialist performance marketing arms, and when the skillsets will be mandatory across the board?

As an industry, we will continue to respond to an advertiser-led marketplace by packaging a range of services within specialist agencies, with new business models to service those client needs. When looking purely at a core performance skillset, including a higher level of data confidence coupled with the ability to understand the new real-time insight sources, then, yes, I believe this will be mandatory across the board. Agencies should be looking at these skillsets now - ZenithOptimedia has recently launched its new "Live ROI" proposition, which has dynamic, real-time planning at its core.

ELLIE EDWARDS - MANAGING DIRECTOR, QUISMA

- How can performance marketing enable clients to reach consumers across all touchpoints on the customer journey - both online and offline?

As customer journeys become frenetic, performance marketing provides more accountable and transparent channel use, allowing for better sales modelling and attribution. For example, a purchase may start as a search on a mobile, be influenced by press, TV or even outdoor advertising, before the purchase is eventually initiated via a coupon redemption or voucher code either onor offline.

- Is it possible in today's digital and data-accountable world that agencies could become too obsessed with audience measurement and optimisation at the expense of creativity?

Advertising has always been - and should always be - about measuring ROI. However, great creative is vital in terms of engaging users. This is no different online. We are now looking at how we can address long-standing creative issues such as banner blindness. We are now much more informed on the methods to apply to achieve better engagement results by going beyond the standard formats. It's about looking at the message that you want to deliver and the place you choose to deliver it, which often calls for high impact and creatively engaging formats such as video.

- In the past few years, have you noticed a change in the ratio of digital impressions you deliver for clients, in terms of whether they are geared more towards branding or direct-response ads?

Our focus is on delivering tangible results for clients measuring back to their ROI targets. However, branding can be achieved through these campaigns as users are ultimately exposed to your product. ROI is taking more of a centre stage for advertisers but we must be aware that both branding and sales-driven campaigns play a different role. It is about finding the right mix of branding versus direct response per client, per period, per campaign.

- How far have we advanced away from relying on clicks as a way of measuring digital campaigns, and what are the other metrics available?

The last-click method of attribution is limiting and will ultimately give an inaccurate picture. When co-ordinating a performance marketing campaign, it is vital you have a complete picture of the user journey. You must acknowledge all of the purchase journey touchpoints and take into account online and offline activity. Your search campaign can have a direct uplift on your display campaign but display can also drive search. It gets more complex when you are trying to understand how TV drives both and affects overall sales. However, the Quisma Media Platform is able to take into consideration offline influences and uses regression analysis that goes further than data analysis.

- Do you see a time when media agencies won't have separate specialist performance marketing arms, and when the skillsets will be mandatory across the board?

Advertisers look to agencies to provide specialist advice and this will always be important. Performance marketing has grown from the digital arena and we are in this transitional period when ROI is becoming important. However, this does not mean that all agencies should suddenly make the shift to become pure direct-response specialists. That would almost negate the other crucial channels involved in a marketing campaign, which, of course, all feed into overall ROI.