Digital Essays 2022: Beyond the obvious – by OMD’s Viktor Maksymov

We often narrow our focus and take in the most salient information to simplify complexity. This could be a costly mistake, writes OMD UAE’s Viktor Maksymov

By Viktor Maksymov, director – performance, OMD UAE

With the FIFA World Cup in our corner of the world, football is on everyone’s mind. While we keep our eyes on champion strikers in the hope of spectacular goals, those getting the ball to their feet at the most opportune time and place get much less attention. The same applies to digital marketing.

Yes, strikers get the goals and often secure the victory. However, a team of 11 strikers cannot go far. They need other players to help them get into position, and this is why assists are the second most important performance metric in football after goals. However, marketers are humans, and like the rest of us they focus on the goal scorer.

The World Cup will hopefully change this perception and people will recognise the contribution of assists better on the pitch and, for marketers, online. Like the path to the goal, the journey to conversion has many steps and each needs to be identified, quantified and computed in strategy and budget allocation decisions. Every marketing channel has an ‘assist’ value in the consumer journey. Each needs to set the right expectations and be compared with channels that directly contribute to conversions or acquisitions.

But how do we zoom out to see both the bigger picture and the finer details in the consumer journey? Beyond crude vanity metrics that define efficiency, how can we assess what influences consumers’ decisions or effectiveness? Here are key factors to consider:

Attention precedes viewability

If an ad is not displayed and seen properly, it cannot do its job. Viewability metrics help decide where to allocate digital media investments for upper-funnel activities, but being visible does not mean media is being viewed. Enter attention metrics. We have invested heavily in understanding how people consume media in addition to the best ways to talk to them. By integrating attention within the entire planning process, we are transforming the media equation towards attentive cost per miles (aCPMs), which help to translate the true cost of the attention advertisers buy and the true value it generates for advertisers. Initial evidence demonstrates that optimising attention delivers better results in terms of business and brand measures. In the future, attention metrics will play an ever-increasing role in media planning decisions.

A goal for everyone

Everybody in the team – keeper, defenders, midfielders and wingers – offers a unique set of skills and can create a lot of assists. The responsibility of a planner is to determine the universally accepted KPI for each platform and to design measurements that define the business impact. While brands are fine working with metrics like cost per view (CPV), cost per mile (CPM) and cost per click (CPC), the way we measure will change soon. Whether it is reaching potential customers, high-quality traffic or completion rate, we need to be clear about what success looks like for every single line in the media plan.

Keep refreshing your lineup

If you always field the same squad, it will get exhausted at some point and you will let competitors score when you could have been the one gaining points. No two games are alike, and having fresh and unique talent on the bench allows you to have the optimal formation in any situation. Keep looking around for upcoming opportunities, test and learn, build your team with rising stars you have identified before everyone else, and lead the table.

Track assists

There are several ways to measure the impact of a channel on the end goal. To do it accurately, we need to have some factors in place such as the correct conversion window to track pixels and capture meaningful assists.

Making sense of all the information available quickly and effectively can be complex. However, it is essential to determine which platform provides the most assists easily and clearly. Armed with this knowledge, we can direct resources to the most promising positions and capitalise on every available talent on the pitch.

With third-party cookies facing terminal extinction, attribution will need to evolve away from the multi-touch attribution (MTA) methodologies we use today. One such approach is conversion modelling – a cookie-less solution that relies on a machine learning algorithm to determine the channels that generate growth. Simple attribution models will be relegated as they cannot provide a full view of the most effective combination for any condition. To go all the way and be on top of the world, ensure that you make everyone in the squad count.