written by Adam Ortman, Director of Innovation and Technology, Generator Media + Analytics


This article was published by MarTech Advisor on July 4th, 2019


Modern marketing isn’t just a competitive industry — it’s an arms race. In an ocean of statistical forecasts, models, tools, and vendors, marketers scramble to connect the dots between consumers’ physical and digital behaviors.


Marketers are obsessed with data. We constantly brainstorm how to get more of it and how to act upon it. More data provides a clearer picture of customer intent, lifestyle, and preferences, which gives marketers the ability to better target and align their brands’ offerings with these consumer needs and enjoy increased sales.


Omnichannel marketers increasingly have become used to the empowering data, audience segmentation, and personalized reach that digital tactics make possible. Traditional media channels such as television or radio, on the other hand, don’t have the same amount of readily available data.


For years, success in traditional channels was measured by the efficiency of your agency partner’s media rates and whether campaigns delivered the expected “reach and frequency” levels to enhance brand awareness. Traditional media buyers of TV, radio, and other mediums lacked the necessary connective tissue between investment and data to support ROI.


Therein lies the corny truth of modern marketing: With great data comes great power. Omnichannel marketers are hungry for granulated data across their media mixes so they can make better investment decisions. Otherwise, how can modern marketers know how well digital and traditional channels perform against their respective ROIs?


The Data Marketers Need to Track Traditional Channels


Linear TV-to-digital attribution remains a bit of a black box in marketing.


Attribution vendors, including big names like Google and Adobe, tout the precision of their models. However, these varying statistical models require different levels of data to provide tangible insights.


My agency has found success by measuring how traditional media advertising impacts and works in conjunction with digital performance. If a commercial airs on TV, for instance, we analyze how that offline exposure influences digital beacons such as website traffic, branded search activity, on-site activity, and, ultimately, sales performance. By tracking a mixture of optimization factors — time slots, days of the week, creative lengths, etc. — we can make better decisions regarding future campaigns.


This continual “wash and rinse” of campaign data permits incremental enhancements to TV performance. The entire process closely mirrors the digital media optimization process that most marketers know.


We’ve found that collecting data through the following digital data points provides the best insights regarding traditional-digital behaviors: universal IDs, unique click IDs, and unique mobile device IDs. These metrics allow marketers to draw connections between traditional efforts and track the complementary effects on digital behavior.


1. Universal IDs

Universal IDs allow marketers to track digital interactions. Marketers can assign universal IDs to consumer IP addresses and track consumers’ journeys through digital touch points — through the sale and beyond. For example, a universal ID can link a consumer’s IP address to TV-watching behavior, which makes performance reporting and media sequencing much easier. These IDs can be linked via OTT, or over-the-top, digital TV platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, allowing marketers a glimpse into comprehensive consumer behavior.

Universal IDs not only help marketers attribute value to traditional media efforts, but they also integrate well with CRMs. Through these integrations, brands can tie a customer’s journey back to specific channels, creatives, cross-device behaviors, and more. This allows marketers to track customer life cycles, measure loyalty, and calculate lifetime value rather than focusing on surface-level engagements.


2. Mobile device IDs

Mobile device IDs work the same way as assigning a universal ID to an IP address: Marketers can track individual user interactions through app use or factors such as GPS location. Nielson reports that young adults ages 18 to 34 conduct about 30% of their daily media interactions with smartphones and other mobile devices. As a result, a mobile device ID is an especially important metric for marketers targeting younger audiences.


3. Unique click IDs

Unique click IDs are generated by the media engines: Google Click ID, Microsoft Click ID, etc. These IDs can track a consumer’s online behavior after interacting with one of your online marketing efforts. Marketers can apply unique click ID patterns to associated offline behaviors by integrating these IDs with CRM customer profile records. Those correlations then enable you to make smarter decisions about traditional and digital media campaigns, scaling the overall effectiveness and efficiency of your media investments.


The blurry line between traditional and digital media has the potential to actually make marketing easier in the coming years as offline channels become increasingly digital. Metrics, insights, and media buying platforms will eventually bridge the traditional-digital divide, but advertisers are extremely eager to eliminate this gap today.


With an eye on attribution and advanced personalized tracking, marketers can design integrated campaigns that provide relevant, measurable data across all types of media. Remember: With great data comes great power.