Back in January, I was really taken with this study: Cadbury makes £3 for every £1 spent on digital ads. We know that purchases are extensively influenced by digital channels – whether it’s from advertising, specific research, recommendations, location based messaging or chance word of mouth. Sometimes the influence is direct to an online sale, completely tracked in an elegant closed loop, but as most spend is still out in the non digital universe, this is where tracking has been complicated.
Not enough work has been done to track the actual physical sales against digital channels. We track so many things today: browsing patterns online, redemptions from promotions, footfall surveys, digital ads to online sales, but rarely in a complete view. And the work which has been done to try to track physical sales in my opinion, is trying to track too many specific actions by one individual in order to get a perfect view of one person. Panels, cookies, surveys, receipts – which end up being the exact actions of only a few consumers. I would personally like to see better dashboards that track all advertising spend in one place, by channel, which allow for a total view of the communication plan and enable analysis done to start on a macro level against sales by channel. I would like to see some external views matched against this dashboard for perspective. From here, it would be easy to drill down into a specific channel, time period or sales anomaly. The inconsistencies would be easy to find and so too the related lack of optimization. There are still too many silos and not enough joined up thinking.