Call it whatever you want, the issue of channel-based incremental testing becomes more important. Measured raised $21 million last week as it expanded into the post-attribution category, alongside other startups like Triple Whale, which raised $24 million a month ago, and Northbeam, which offers both commerce and ad analytics for performance marketing.
One plus one equals 15
Parachute hired Yung as Vice President of Growth in early 2020, when the company was on the fence between building or hiring an advanced ad analytics toolkit.
“[Measured] He had done a lot of the work that was on my roadmap for a domestic solution, so we decided to include them,” Yung said.
Parachute’s problem was that the marketing performance data shown in the campaign reports “cannot be accurate”. “With what Google says, what Facebook says, and so on, that’s one plus one equals 15, because we see there aren’t that many sales.”
According to Yung, a social media platform stood out as an early win for Measured. Parachute was spending the lowest six figures per month on the platform. “They were obviously letting us know that it was very profitable.”
Running an incremental test with Measured, the brand saw that it could cut that spend to zero with virtually no impact on sales. Ah. (The name of the social platform in question was not disclosed, except that it is a public company.)
Podcast advertising is another category that Parachute rethought after introducing a measurement testing regimen.
Podcast attribution is often based on listeners using a specific code, which keeps the channel’s credit low. “Podcasting is a [rarer] “It’s an example where we need to take reporting and increase what we have to capture real value.”
Another channel that under-reports conversions is TiKTok.
“We couldn’t figure out exactly what the right playbook with TikTok is,” he said. “We’re maybe 50 to 60% on how best to use this channel. We’re still trying to improve this last bit, which is the coefficient we need to apply to truly capture the value of TikTok.”
Splitting the media pie
Clothing brand Faherty started working with Measured three years ago, starting with Google’s incremental tests, paid social advertising, and direct mail. Founder and CEO Alex Faherty says the company has since brought in native display ads, newsletter and email advertising, affiliate marketing program, streaming audio, traditional radio and TikTok.
Before 2020, especially before the rollout of Apple’s iOS 14.5, many digital local brands relied on Facebook and a Google search strategy to scale, while other channels were ditched at the margins of the media plan.
“People are now transitioning to a more diverse media mix,” Faherty said. Facebook and Instagram are probably cutting half or more of their ad spend and most of the rest to Google and Google and Facebook in the new media buying world instead of programmatic and other platforms competing for a 10-20% share. the pie, he estimated, as more platforms or channels gain their own 10%.
Faherty said that incremental testing can reveal unexpected results, which at times can test the brand marketer’s “art and science” approach.
The Parachute brand saw a similar effect: A social channel with a multimillion-dollar annual budget was virtually worthless, and podcast ads that looked awful on the analytics dashboard actually drew more than their own weight.
A key question for Faherty was the value of her print catalog – a brilliant direct mail strategy the company invested heavily in early on.
“Science was telling us that when we made incremental measurements, the economy of the canal wasn’t as good as we expected,” Faherty said.
The company shifted the budget to digital channels instead of the catalog, which was expensive to print and ship. Rather than throwing out the catalog entirely, the company changed its approach to the brand marketing and retention game. Parachute has repositioned direct mail from a performance priority channel that directs new customers to a targeted offering for known customers – a change in mindset and ROI expectations that aligns the channel more with its growing contributions.
Podcasting, on the other hand, was poorly qualified in the Google Analytics dashboard, but turned out to be a strong contributor when the company ran post-acquisition surveys. There weren’t any digital data points or trackable impressions linking podcasts to conversions, but it was clear that podcast ads read by hosts resonated with potential customers and popped up again and again in post-purchase surveys.
Host-read ads come in quickly and help shape shoppers’ choices, he said. Not in a way that attribution technology could easily convince.
“This is the art and science of showing what a positive ROI channel is,” he said.