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Should you outsource the evaluation of your paid social content?

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People-based marketing, as championed by social media platforms, aims to renew the promise of producing measurable outcomes to accurately evaluate the return on spend. The identity graph that sits behind social media platforms and other players in the market, such as onboarding platforms and measurement partners, solves for precision reach and frequency counts as well as the ability to match offline data to online ad views.

This post looks at what you should consider when deciding to whether to outsource campaign measurement or conduct studies and analysis in-house.  When it comes to post-campaign measurement there are nuances between attributing online and offline actions so the two have been treated separately. 

Online Measurement:

  • What tools are used to measure other online marketing channels within your business?  Are these managed in-house? Can these be appropriately applied to social media?  The effectiveness of click tracking to measure social media campaigns is debated, with many paid social managers and the platforms themselves preferring and an approach that evaluates views- to-action, rather than click-to-action.
  • Would the advertiser benefit from the market knowledge, vendor relationships and reporting expertise held by agencies? This may particularly be the case within the selection process if a vendor technology is used for analysis.
  • If the company already works with a paid social agency, what is the reporting structure offered as standard?  Does this meet the requirements to measure the KPIs set?
  • Does the company already have data expertise that can be applied to paid social measurement?  If not, and the advertiser is considering building in-house analytics, who will consult on construction and what is the continued appetite for investing in business intelligence?  System and training will be ongoing commitments.   

Offline measurement:

  • How can the actions be tied to an individual and mapped to campaign data?  Do you have a loyalty card, e-receipts or a registration service that allows offline sales or leads to be captured alongside name and address (including email) information?
  • Does the advertiser own the sales path?  Where the product is typically sold through other retailers (think CPG, luxury watch brands etc), are there existing partnerships in place that can support campaign measurement?  If so, is the only option outsourced reporting?
  • Does the agency have access to the right client-side employees that can sign-off use of conversion data?
  • Will the CRM team release conversion data?  If “no” in the first instance, would working with a trusted intermediary to remove personal customer information before onboarding a transaction file provide adequate security and reassurance? If so, are there agency agreements in place that would be of benefit?
  • Who is approved to receive exposure data from the social platform? Partial outsourcing may be required where an advertiser does not wish to share customer and transaction data with the social platform.  In these instances, it may be necessary to work with platform measurement partners to map offline transaction at people-level.

To sum, when it comes to paid social evaluation, pure online measurement can be entirely outsourced and be extremely low-touch for the advertiser.  However, offline impact evaluation will always require work to be done by the holder of the transaction data, typically the advertiser.  Offline evaluation is more complex in nature and will always require a paper trail of warrants and permissions.  For this reason, it is innately higher touch and usually a collaboration between all parties.

Written by Michelle Anthony, Member of the DMA Social Media Council and Partnerships Manager at Acxiom

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