Traditional marketers are driven to quantify the results of a given ad campaign by correlating reach statistics (for example, television rating points) to sales. While this may have made sense back in the day (and by “back in the day,” I mean just a few years ago), today’s consumer behavior can’t easily be quantified — but it can be qualified.
Instead of worrying about establishing uniform, cross-platform metrics for measuring and selling ads, digital marketers should be focusing their attention on A/B testing and ever honing in on what creative take works best on which platform and to which demographic. This is the tactic that disruptive brands like Airbnb and Netflix take; they don’t care if someone watches a video for two seconds or two minutes, as long as the consumer takes action.
Smart marketers understand that each social media platform has to be tackled according to what works best in context. For example, Facebook is now favoring native video uploads and live video, so that’s a perfect place to test your messaging. Keep in mind, too, that to best qualify your social media marketing results, you should run multiple ad sets on a given platform that are designed specifically to resonate with different subsets of your target demographic. Looking at numbers of clicks, shares, likes and comments will quickly tell you what’s working — and what isn’t.
The bottom line is the outcome is everything; trying to measure ad campaign results with staid, traditional metrics is ultimately just a distraction.