Skimming Off the Top?

If you look at all the revenue reported by your media vendors and then look at the revenue within your ecommerce platform or bank account, you might feel like someone is skimming off the top. If this were a Godfather movie, someone would be sleeping with the fishes.

As a Marketer, how do you know which numbers to trust? Your vendors reporting says one thing, Google Analytics says something else, and holistic solutions don’t measure everything. The last thing you need is yet another dashboard to make you scratch your head.

Measuring what works has been a challenge since the beginning of digital advertising. I started my career on the agency side as a media planner at Anderson & Lembke on the Microsoft account. when I planned and purchased digital display for IE 2.0, I sent each of the 100 website vendors an Excel spreadsheet to fill in their impression/click data for each week. I also sent them one for the creative/click data, and one for each individual placement. Every Friday morning my team would have a call with the Microsoft clients where we would review the 3 summary sheets which were supported by 100+ backup sheets. It was a mind-numbing experience analyzing 1% CTR then .05% then .01% and so on. I literally had spreadsheet nightmares. Fast forward about 15 years, I was having a drink with a colleague that was also a former seller from those days. We were discussing those crazy reports and he laughed and said they just made stuff up. In hindsight, how could they not? They didn’t have an ad server or tracking cookies but they had sales goals… It was the wild west… I can laugh about this now but the sad part is that we were making business decisions on bad data.

Are things any different now? Well, it depends on how you measure and what your source of truth is. Do your numbers match what’s in the bank? Do you know what amount of sales would have occurred if not for marketing? If you don’t, how can you effectively grow your business. How can you be successful in your role? When you start exploring solutions, you need to know how to look at the solutions with a critical eye. Many of the players in the space have pivoted from confirmed data to projected data because there is a big gap in the data they utilize. With cookie loss and IDFA blockage, combined with privacy regulation, there isn’t much else they can do except guess.

But you don’t have to guess. There are solutions that measure true contribution leveraging cross-channel incrementality testing. If Don Vito Corleone’s accountant projected revenue or estimated the money in the bank, he would have been swimming with the fishes. So don’t end up like Fredo, make the numbers match… Cogent can help, so reach out!

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