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Why Businesses Should Be Thinking About Measurement First


Effective digital advertising is critical for businesses, no matter their size. For smaller businesses it can be essential for sustainable growth. Increasingly though, effective digital advertising hinges on having high quality measurement signals to take full advantage of AI and understand the impact of each dollar spent on marketing efforts. Hence the marketing maxim, "You can't manage what you can't measure."

On top of all of that, we are in a constantly evolving privacy landscape, one where consumer's expectations for privacy are higher than they've been before, one with ongoing regulatory changes and one where the deprecation of third-party cookies is on the horizon.

Adopting enduring ads measurement solutions will help businesses not only understand the impacts of their marketing spend but will allow them to do so even amidst all these privacy changes. And while this may seem overwhelming, or intimidating even, technology like AI can really do a lot of the heavy lifting, allowing business owners to focus on what matters most for their business. But, to ensure AI can work the way it's supposed to, you need to spend time making sure you are setting yourself, and AI, up for success. AI is only as good as the information you give it.

Not spending the time to set up an effective, resilient measurement strategy that's focused on the right things will hurt businesses who are relying on the general ease with which they get information today.

Here are three key steps to making sure businesses are set up as they prepare for this pivotal year.

Step One: Capture "the right" information that ladders up to your business' KPIs in a privacy-centric way.

What many businesses are used to is a world where cookies automatically capture signals for you. Now, you can't count on those solutions, so you need a first-party data strategy to capture this information. You need to be strategic and intentional as it's no longer about capturing the same quantity of data, it's about the quality. Here's a quick look at how to set up a strong measurement foundation, that will allow you to do just that.

  • Don't skimp on tagging: If you take anything from this article it should be this – take the time to set up a strong tagging foundation. You need to be intentional about tagging, placing tags on every page of your site. It is the best way to measure conversions and optimize the value of marketing investments.

  • Make sure you get consent: Consent mode helps businesses get additional information about their conversions, all while respecting users' consent choices. It allows pages to capture conversions, without capturing any data that hasn't been consented to. As you might imagine, at a time where user privacy is paramount, a solution like consent mode ensures businesses aren't losing valuable data, while meeting privacy expectations.

  • Maximize your conversions: Improving the accuracy of your conversions data is very important as we navigate these privacy changes. A solution like enhanced conversions allows you to do this by only collecting consented, first-party data to recover conversions that are blocked by browser restrictions.

Step Two: Assign values that best reflect your business goals, as not all conversions hold the same value for your business. The deliberate nature of capturing signals translates to how you communicate their value.

It's critical to set these values to ensure your measurement strategy is aligned with your business goals.

One way to do this is through data-driven attribution, which allows businesses to get a more complete picture of their consumer's journeys and make smarter decisions about where to focus investments. For example, as a consumer, you may see and/or click on multiple ads from the same business before you "convert." With data-driven attribution, AI evaluates all those different touchpoints that led to a conversion and can dynamically assign credits based on the likelihood of a conversion happening.

But that's just one example. Value centric measurement (VCM) is another important strategy to keep in mind where businesses can assign differing values to conversion types that best reflect what it means to their business. For example, you can assign values based on your objective, including those for online sales, offline sales, and lead generation.

Step Three: Optimize results, as the final pillar in the measurement framework that brings it all to life.

Measurement is only as good as our ability to act upon it. This is a vital step, and without it you're not going to see the benefits of business growth. The tactical work that you do to create an accurate, precise measurement strategy really comes into play here, because better data means better results.

Once you've assigned values (from step two), AI can optimize for high-value conversions.


For AI to help supercharge all these different pillars, businesses need to focus on high-quality first-party and consented data, built from direct customer relationships.

And, as you're moving through these steps, remaining flexible is important. This is an evolving world, and you won't get things right on the first try - don't be discouraged if things need to change.

Put simply, it's an iterate-and-learn mindset. It involves taking advantage of next-gen measurement solutions and optimizing for the best performance.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Karen Stocks is VP of global measurement solutions at Google.