If I had a nickel for every time a media partner wanted to discuss how great their CPA was, or how wonderful a campaign was performing because of their CTR, I would probably be writing this from my private island in the Caribbean. To all of the publishers, networks, websites and other media sources out there, please do NOT do this. It is not in your best interest to attempt to sell your performance based on a limited view of data. Value is achieved through a deeper level of understanding with relation to the impact on sales. Or as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson put it so bluntly, “Know your damn role!”
What am I talking about here? Sadly, the digital world still revolves around the concept of last touch or last click. He who is last wins credit for the conversion. For this reason, a vast majority of media partners continue to strive for lower CPAs based on this methodology alone.
This concept is flawed tremendously. For years, traditional media has been planned and bought on the concept of reach and frequency. Although the trackable nature of digital lends itself to a lower-funnel focus, the same idea of reach and frequency still applies and is often overlooked. Inherently, some publishers are more effective at creating reach, while others serve in a mid-funnel role and still others are impactful closer to the point of conversion.
To prove my point, here’s a real-world example. A client whose purchase cycle was around 90 days had attribution trends that distinctly told us certain content targeting fell at the top of the funnel. Ads running around industry articles and video were generally originating media sources, but their CPAs were horrible by comparison to other prospecting strategies, social, remarketing and brand search.
Instead of scaling buys to a target CPA, focusing on a target cost-per-origination tripled sales volume over the course of a year. Then by honing frequency across the lower-funnel media sources, the overall cost-per-sale was lowered by over two-thirds. And here’s the thing. Those trends are not uncommon.
In that example, as the relationships with various media partners grew, our strategic conversations didn’t revolve around superfluous metrics, but rather focused more intensely on how our converting audiences were actually interacting with their media and responding to ads at certain points in the funnel. Those partners at the point of origination were optimized very differently than those falling as drivers of frequency, or those falling closer to the point of conversion.
In sum, creating an effective media strategy begins with truly understanding the purchase funnel. That goes for both the buyers and the sellers. Strategy can then be broken down into subcategories and an effective team of media sources compiled – all with various and fairly equal roles in the overall success for the client.
More simply put, think of it like this. A center shouldn’t lead the team in assists. Leave that to the point guard. By the same token, the point guard probably shouldn’t lead the team in points from the paint. Leave that to the center. In keeping with the sports theme, I’ll try to close with a relevant line. As much as I bleed Wolfpack red, I still respect Mike Krzyzewski’s leadership abilities, and one of his quotes rings as loudly as The Rock’s in this case:
“Everyone on your team is important… Importance knows NO rank.”