The paid ads folks at mattress brand Purple and online watch retailer MVMT spend their days obsessing about measurement – and stressing over data silos.
Budgets are lean, and they’re under pressure to tie spend to success.
A six-person team at Purple manages paid advertising across more than 15 channels. But combining, analyzing, comparing and activating all of that spend and revenue data takes a lot of one-on-one time with an Excel spreadsheet.
It’s an enormous time suck, said Bryant Garvin, Purple’s director of YouTube, search and display advertising. The manual labor expended on data grunt work is time not spent on strategy, optimization and attribution.
To get a better handle on their paid campaign data, Purple and MVMT are both using a suite of products from cross-channel ad platform AdStage.
The tools include a reporting function similar to Domo or Tableau, but specifically designed for paid media. It also offers the ability to automate campaign activities and an API to pull in ads-related data from multiple sources, including post-click conversion data and cross-platform ad data, which can be used to link campaigns to return on ad spend.
“We use data to decide how to allocate our resources to get the best ROI,” said Justin Kassan, director of acquisition at MVMT and a former marketing manager at Dollar Shave Club. “To do that, we need a clean view of all of our data.”
Patterns and insights emerge from cross-channel campaign data when it’s accessible in one spot.
When Kassan worked at Dollar Shave Club, which also partnered with AdStage on reporting and campaign automation, his team noticed that performance would shift depending on the day of the week. Armed with that learning, Dollar Shave Club managed its spend to capitalize on the better-performing days.
Kassan is doing the same at MVMT, which has grown revenue for AdStage-linked campaigns by nearly 300%. The company’s overall revenue hit $60 million in 2016.
But it’s hard activating data, even if it’s aggregated in one place, without automation. There could be hundreds of MVMT campaigns in play at any given time, which can make it difficult to apply changes across the board at short notice or for short flights, such as during Black Friday.
“The tools the platforms have are insufficient for making broad sweeping changes across all our campaigns,” Kassan said.
AdStage can scale campaigns up and down, depending on demand or seasonality, and help brands measure the results.
These are all steps toward gaining a better understanding of the return on paid campaigns, but don’t trust anyone who says they can truly close the loop, said Purple’s Garvin.
Offline marketing activities and initiatives like Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention in iOS 11 throw a wrench in the works.
But pulling in ads data from multiple places at least helps paid marketers coalesce efforts around a single source of truth.
“Anybody who says they have attribution 100% dialed in also has beachfront property in Arizona to sell you,” Garvin said. “It’s more about trying to figure out where to allocate resources, a little more or a little less, in order to influence the customer journey. Attribution is a directional thing – it’s not a hard line to say exactly what’s happening.”