In business, we typically see the highest average revenue coming from a small subset of loyal customers. It’s important to focus your media spend on engaging and retaining your most profitable customers while reaching potential new audiences with the most desired profile.
The Full-Funnel Approach
Your digital advertising is likely only one element of your overall marketing strategy, and yet, your customers are interacting with your brand online all the time, at every stage of the buying cycle. That means whether your customer is a regular customer, or a first-time website visitor who won’t buy anything for another three months, you can “touch” your customers and potential customers with your branded digital marketing.
The “full-funnel” approach, which refers to nurturing both existing and prospective customers through a conversion process, normally begins with the first touch or exposure to your digital marketing. It then continues with varying touch-points, and closes with a conversion. However, in most instances, the conversion is not in fact the “end” of the funnel because you want that customer to come back and transact again.
This is where advanced digital marketing can be not only helpful, but necessary. Without the visibility into which touchpoints are influencing which parts of your customers’ buying journeys, you cannot optimize that experience for future improvement. What happens at the beginning, the middle, and the “end” of your customers’ interactions with your digital marketing? And more importantly - what is happening on the individual customer level?
Reporting Attribution and Assists in the Full Funnel
According to Neustar & Econsultancy, “30-40% of media budgets are wasted by duplication and incorrect attribution associated with counting a single purchase across channels as multiple purchases.” As opposed to using non-unifying or self-serve platforms, advanced digital marketers will use more sophisticated ad-serving platforms such as Doubleclick by Google, that can unify customer-level information helping them understand 1) assists to purchase and 2) attribution. These two factors are critical to understanding a healthy funnel, as well as how your customer “funnel” actually works.
What is attribution and why should you care? Although it sounds complex, attribution is merely the process of assigning some sort of value to an interaction with your digital marketing. This can be a click on a social ad, a ticket purchase from a display ad, or even something else.
When this number is disparate from a customer-level interaction, it can get confusing. This is commonly the type of data you’ll see in basic technologies like Facebook’s ad platform or using your Google AdWords account. Seeing that your Facebook ad received 300 clicks or was responsible for 20% of your conversions is nice, but it doesn’t give you the full picture. You don’t know at what point in your customer’s buying cycle they are converting on Facebook or clicking on your AdWords ad, or which one was really responsible for the conversion. You don’t know when in the buying cycle your customers were touched by all of your other digital marketing efforts. You see a conversion, but you don’t know which channel was truly responsible for it.
Assists to Purchase
In digital marketing an “assist” is some sort of interaction your customers have with your digital marketing before they complete their final conversion or goal.
Advanced digital marketers will want to factor assists in the “full funnel” approach and consider the following: “Which channels are touching my customers at which point in their paths to purchase? Which channels are frequently “starting the conversation” as opposed to resulting in a direct conversion or purchase? Which channels are touching my customers least frequently? Which channels are touching my customers a lot but seem to have no real value when it comes to generating conversions?”
The full-funnel approach to digital marketing really breaks down the “walls” of metrics between disparate self-serve platforms and unifies them in a customer-level “journey” across the web on desktop and on mobile devices. From there, things like attribution and assists can be investigated, analyzed, and can help you make informed decisions about your digital marketing strategy.