Measurement must address the increasingly complex purchasing journey

So much has changed since I started my career. For a start, the "purchase funnel", once the cornerstone of many a marketing strategy, is dead, writes Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay Advertising.

Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay Advertising
Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay Advertising

The explosion of ecommerce and mcommerce has given rise to a much more complex, and social, purchase journey, which bears more resemblance to a flight path than a funnel.

Marketing strategies have embraced this brave new world of multichannel and multi-screen shopping. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of measurement models.

Online, hundreds of brands still measure the success of their campaigns, and determine future spend, based on a "last click" model that looks at where the click-throughs to their website have come from. However, the reality is no longer that simple. Increasingly, shoppers will browse for a product on their ­mobile then have a look in-store before making a purchase on their desktop.

This problem isn’t new, but many brands still aren’t using the tools and ­insights available to give credit where it’s due. As an industry, it is time for us to ­rewrite the rulebook.

This is particularly important with the growth of social commerce. Shopping is an inherently social pastime, and this is now manifesting itself online through tweets, "likes" and "pins", as well as review sites. Brands are tapping into this through creative social campaigns and brand advocacy programmes, but few know where to start when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of their social strategies.

An even bigger problem is understanding the online and in-store dynamic. Last year, we surveyed 1000 tablet users as part of our "Screenagers" report into multi-screen shopping, and found that 30% of them remembered for later an ad that interested them when they were browsing on their tablet, while 22% went in-store to find out about products that they had seen advertised on tablets and laptops.

This is consistent with what I have observed on eBay. For example, in 2012, House of Fraser’s summer campaign on the site produced significant results both off- and online, including a 14% uplift in intention to buy in-store.

Dixons has addressed this challenge by introducing a measurement model that credits stores with online sales made in their catchment areas, in recognition of the important role that shops play in driving sales online. But, as an industry, we still have some way to go.

As brands come to terms with the death of "last click", success can no longer be measured in online and offline silos, because that’s not how consumers shop. As an industry, we badly need a new model that takes into account the ever-more complex and social journey from browsing to buying. This will be achieved only if brands, agencies, publishers and retailers work together, and digital extends a hand to "traditional" channels to truly understand effectiveness.

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