The Measurement Problem

What to do when the numbers don’t add up

Every digital marketing campaign is unique and requires a different combination of advertising platforms to work together to achieve its goals. Additionally, each individual advertising platform has a specific way of measuring and reporting clicks (or traffic or purchases) to advertisers. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t always add up.

Sometimes, Google Analytics will indicate a given number of clicks from an advertisement and Facebook may indicate an entirely different number. This makes marketing decisions difficult and results in wasted time and resources… especially if things are set up properly from the start.

What is a marketing-data measurement problem?
The measurement problem is the discrepancy of accurate data reporting among advertising platforms. Let’s start with how an advertising platform measures metrics…

Platforms measure items like pageviews, conversions, and purchases (to name a few) using a piece of code called a pixel. Every time you visit a specific page on a website or perform an action, that code must load in addition to existing code already on a website that dictates how it functions and looks.

Depending on pixel’s position or website code, sometimes that pixel doesn’t fire and an action will not get recorded. Additionally, more complex pixels that record greater details may count one action specified by the code but not another important action.

Why is the measurement problem important?

The main issue with inaccurate reporting is that it provides an incomplete picture of a campaign’s health. For example, data may indicate low conversion rate when, in reality, the tracking pixel may have been improperly placed or it is not firing because of a competing line of code.

Marketers and businesses measure campaign data to inform marketing decisions and successful campaigns may be abandoned if the above example occurs. This is why using multiple forms of tracking should be implemented for a more accurate picture.

How are we combating the measurement problem?

We use multiple tools to measure data. Because we have seen different platforms report different click results, we must implement extra tracking tools.

For example, if we are running a Facebook campaign, we also use Google Analytics to track everything from clicks to conversions to ensure the most accurate data. All campaigns have unique tracking URLs so we can accurately determine where a lead came from. We also utilize call tracking that auto-generates a different number based on the traffic source.

All of our clients receive weekly campaign progress reports. Both Google Data Studio and Facebook Analytics allow us to create visually appealing and accurate reports to present to clients.

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