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In an article written for Marketing Week in February of last year, Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever noted, “we are not doing ‘traditional marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ separately – it’s marketing in a digital world, and we need […] measurement that looks at a holistic audience across platforms, not just bits of an audience in bits of their on- and offline lives.

The era of entirely separate budgets, teams and resources for reaching a consumer on- and offline has long since passed. The worlds of digital and offline marketing are converging: today’s connected consumer may stumble upon your app through a QR code in a magazine, or be driven to your physical store by a mobile ad targeted using location data. More and more industry leaders are recognising that measuring the effectiveness of a marketing strategy needs to follow suit: your analytics data needs to incorporate both the online and offline elements of a campaign to truly capture the entirety of the changing consumer journey.

In fact, this change in how and what is measured is already taking place. Take attribution: a customer has taken the action you wanted them to as a result of your advertising, but what route did they take? Multi-channel attribution, the process of assessing and assigning value to all digital channels used in the entire path to purchase, has been heralded as the answer to the marketing industry's attribution woes. However, it has long been held back by our inability to assign value to offline channels.

Your attribution model may account for all digital channels and assets, but what if the consumer was pushed along the path to purchase by testing your product in-store, or after seeing a particularly effective billboard ad on their journey home from work? Without accounting for the role that offline channels play in the consumer journey, we are missing key consumer data – but how can we account for wholly offline channels with an entirely online tool?

As the marketing landscape changes, this no longer seems like an unsolvable problem for attribution modelling. In fact, marketers are capitalising on the convergence of online and offline by using digital measurement innovation in tandem with attribution to gain a holistic view of the consumer journey. For example, in order to include footfall as a consumer touchpoint in your attribution model, you might turn to Google’s ‘In-Store Visits’ metric, which uses location data to estimate which consumers have visited your brick and mortar stores. Or, in order to determine which conversions have been driven by a print campaign, you might include a unique promo code within your magazine ad. Digital marketers pride themselves on being able to track a customer’s ‘steps’ through online channels, but continued advancement in data collection methods are better enabling elements of customers’ actual offline journeys to be fed into the same analytics engine.

The ability to account for the consumer’s actual on- and offline journey is just one advancement changing the digital measurement playing field. It’s vital to keep up with these developments in order to stay ahead of the curve: increasingly, advertisers are recognising accurate, detailed and meaningful measurement as vital for a successful campaign; and if we continue to use outdated or insufficient methods, we may be missing out on key insights that could steer us to success.

Being able to understand how your campaign is working (and where it can be improved upon) is vital. Our new Digital Measurement lessons have been designed to explain the role of measurement before, during and after campaigns in order to make effective planning decisions, informed by data. For more information and to see a clip of this brand new lesson, check out the Digital Measurement course page on our website.

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