Even the most skilled cross-platform marketers have a tough time when it comes to cross-platform reporting. And for good reason. With so many different platforms, channels, and campaign types in today’s highly saturated digital marketing world, there’s almost too many conversion bridges to keep track of.
But that’s exactly why cross-platform reporting is so important to the success of any truly optimized multi-channel campaign.
When juggling multiple campaigns across multiple channels, it’s vital that you understand where your traffic is coming from and the different traffic temperatures of your respective funnels. And this 10 minute read will walk you through just why it’s so important - and even give you a case study example of how you can find such awesome cross-platform reporting opportunities.
The traffic generated from your paid ads isn’t going to have the same type of conversion intent as someone visiting your site after checking out your social page. The same goes for any other cross-platform variation. So you need to be able to attribute the right values to the right traffic and conversions if you want to make the right optimization decisions.
Likewise, you’ll need to be able to properly track multi-touch conversions to see how many of your disparate campaigns needed to work together to achieve each conversion.
Without proper cross-platform reporting, this nightmare of an analytics web is bound to get even the most experienced experts stuck in a sticky situation.
Take a look at the graphic above. If you compare this to an average cross-platform marketing campaign, you can liken each stream of the river to a different platform, channel, funnel, etc that each lead to the singular destination: your on-site conversion.
Now, without this bird’s eye view of the river and all its tributaries, how could you expect anyone to properly identify which rivers are flowing fastest, with most volume, and - most importantly - into one another?
Well, you could go about measuring each disparate channel manually; identifying their rates, volumes, and connecting points. But analyzing each one at a time is still not going to give you the whole picture of how the river itself flows together (aka - how your traffic and online presence is truly performing as a whole).
Notice any similarities between the two images?
Not to get to “see the forest through the trees” metaphorical here, but the point is fairly simple: you have no hope of seeing the forest (or river, or whatever metaphor you choose to endorse) without properly viewing the whole instead of the individual parts.
Granular tracking across your integrated campaigns that allows you to report on the individual behavior of campaigns as well as their cross-platform performance will allow you to identify which junctures, which “connections in the river,” are driving you the greatest growth and ROI.
And these are the parts of your funnel you can work hardest on widening to maximize your profits.
The term “post-digital marketing world” first turned up on Google around 2015-16. You might be wondering, what exactly does ‘post-digital’ mean, exactly? Well:
“The term ‘Post-digital’ doesn’t imply that digital is going away. Instead, it’s a phrase used to describe the transformation of digital marketing into a new era. This new era exposes the fact that digital marketing does not manage for complex human nature, but simply reduces customers to “targets,” who are expected to respond in a certain way based on a desired performance goal.
In a post-digital world, this is not enough.In this new era of customers and marketing, marketers are optimizing their approaches based on the human side of consumers — and anticipating customer needs and emotional states.”
That’s right. All the fancy tactics and optimizations of the average digital marketing campaign that used to distinguish the most elite brands have already been considered “par for the course” in modern marketing strategies. And that was back in 2015.
Nowadays it’s even more true. The digital campaigns that once shown as stellar performers are now listed in common best practice blog posts all across Google. That sleek, new, tech savvy website with the fast load speed that - ten years ago - would’ve blown away your audiences and competition, is now the low bar of your users’ expectations.
So what exactly does this mean?
It means that we all, collectively, must accept that the old one-off one-channel PPC campaign of 2016 isn’t going to cut it in today’s digitally demanding world. It’s time we all start marketing and advertising where our users are really shopping: everywhere.
And to do so, we’ll need the accurate tracking to find them.
Today’s average online shopper isn’t just going online, typing in a product and brand, and buying off their site. You have to deal with countless factors of social impressions, light touches over awareness ads and demand generation ads, organic content, reviews, ratings, competitor comparisons, and the like.
That’s quite a lot of different locations to keep track of - each of which can serve as a launchpad towards immediate conversion if optimized correctly. Or, if left unnoticed and unattended, can turn into a massive ROI sinking dumpster fire of budget burn.
As I mentioned earlier, the greatest benefit that cross-platform reporting brings to your table is the ability to identify new opportunities, both good and bad.
This means that you can more readily pivot away from campaigns or channels that are burning budget without any returns just as fast as you can move that budget to more promising campaigns that have already proven their success.
So let’s take a look at some examples of these pivots, and how cross-platform reporting was able to identify them.
This way, you can see some tangible examples of how the bird’s eye view of your flowing river of traffic can help you more quickly identify which channels to widen and which to shut off to maximize the flow of money - I mean - water through your funnel. ;)
We’ll focus our case study on the importance of cross-platform reporting on one of our own clients. This brand works in the food subscription industry and originally signed with Xspekt with the goal of increasing their subscription numbers, primarily from their email list (for starters).
For the purposes of anonymity, we’ll call the client for this case study Client X.
Initially, the plan was to build an email sequence that funneled their cold email newsletter recipients into a more targeted sales email sequence based on their interaction in the email.
While we saw some great numbers in the email campaign, with some certain emails performing as highly as a 70% open rate and a 50% click rate on the desired link, what we noticed from the email was that those email subscribers who weren’t already very familiar with the brand, were very difficult to move over to the sales sequence. Most opened the emails but few clicked on the links that we were tracking as “win” behaviors.
So, we decided to up the ante.
We used the existing email list and uploaded it to their social media accounts to start advertising awareness ads for Client X towards the same audience. Although they didn’t know they were being tracked, we were able to see which users in the email sequence were moving over to the sales sequence after now being touched multiple times across social networks.
It may seem like a passive tactic, and one that may take a while to generate actual conversions, but the insights we gained were more than worth the test.
We found that once users had been touched at least three times via other platforms other than email, they were 3X as likely to start clicking on links in the actual emails. This would shift them in the newsletter emails sequence towards the sales email sequence, which, as mentioned before, was already performing at a whopping 70% open rate and 50% click rate.
By simply adding in a few extra touches on other platforms we were able to drastically improve the performance of our email campaign. Something we wouldn’t have been able to properly attribute to the social touches had we not properly tracked the users in both the social and email campaigns.
We were even able to take these insights one step further and identify certain search audiences that matched up with our email lists and social campaigns. This way, instead of going for the slow moving approach of transitioning users over from the awareness phase of the funnel to the interest funnel, we could go straight for the kill. By targeting our paid search ads directly at the high intent audiences that aligned without preexisting email campaigns, we set ourselves up to immediately boost conversion volume.
That’s how you can generate significant growth for your clients that generate actual revenue and change for their business. NOt just finding the most engaging channels, but finding the highest converting connections and expanding them once you do.
Now, this isn’t a how-to guide for cross-platform reporting. That comes later. But, in the meantime, we don’t want to leave you hanging in the wind without any resources on how to actually implement what we discussed was so important.
Not cool indeed…
So, to make sure you have everything you need to get started (or until we complete our own guide to help hold your hand through all your cross-platform reporting needs), here are some trusted resources for you to read:
Keep in mind that any truly successful cross-platform campaign will be customized to tailor fit the interests, needs, and behaviors of your key audiences. When it comes to masterpiece mosaics of digital integration, there’s hardly a template for any of us to mirror.
But if you want the true performance of a holistic digital campaign, a bird’s eye view will always give you the best picture.
I hope I can hit you with one last metaphor without making your eyes roll permanently into the back of your head. I’ve mentioned the river and its many tributaries, your marketing funnel and its many different leads, and how cross-platform campaigns are much like the two. Well, here’s one more.
Just like the early bird, who gets the worm by out-hustling his competition, you too are putting forth some serious extra effort when it comes to these cross-platform campaigns. That’s how you're going to be the “early bird” - the first on the scene - by showing up everywhere.
But showing up isn’t enough anymore. You have to be able to see your prey if you want to catch it efficiently - and not just see it for a moment.
Yes, it’s true that the early bird gets the worm. But only with the “bird’s eye view.” And that’s your cross-platform reporting. So ignore it at your own cost.
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