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A successful marketing campaign relies on an efficient data collection mechanism that is flexible and able to change and evolve to adapt to new environments, strategies, vendors, channels, etc.
When it comes to analyzing your marketing data, it is essential to be able to aggregate the siloed data scattered across multiple channels to get a unified of their overall performance. With an integrated view, then you will be able to proceed to analyze and filter the data by factors such as channels, products, regions, etc. It is therefore important for a campaign to use effective tools for evaluating cross-channel marketing results.
These tools function to unite data from all channels like display, CRM, social platforms, google search, and even offline sources.
If you’re planning to run an effective cross-channel marketing campaign, you need to find a cross-channel reporting solution.
According to the Multi-channel Digital marketing report 2015, “95% marketers understand the importance of multi-channel for targeting. However, about 51% marketers are unable to react to new channels, or trends due to their current technology.”
So, as a marketer, it is important to look for tools that align with your data sources, your vendors and your requirements.
In this article, let us go through a few key aspects of cross-channel reporting and its benefits.
What is cross-channel reporting?
Before delving into reporting, let’s get our definition straightened. Cross-channel marketing (often, confused and used interchangeably with multi-channel marketing or even omnichannel marketing) is about marketing across the various online channels through closely knit strategies. The approach is wonderful when it comes to increasing engagement with potential customers and moving them further down the funnel by tapping on the various channels.
While able to market is important, it is equally crucial not to neglect the importance of generating/aggregating reports from multiple channels as the reports record the outcome of the marketing effort.
Critical it may be, surprisingly, the effort to unify or aggregate the reporting data from across multiple channels is not exactly straightforward.
“Only 14% of organizations report they are able to run coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels.”(Ref: CMO by Adobe)
Cross-channel reporting (supposedly) should let you compare with ease two or more channels (which may be typically across different ad accounts too) to monitor and improve their performance relative to each other.
The idea is to get a complete rundown of various measurable factors like clicks, impressions, cost, and conversions for each channel/campaign.
That said, analyzing the data that comes through the various channels is not easy. It requires huge amount of effort and time, especially, if you’re running ads across channels like Google and Facebook.
You need end-to-end monitoring of your click through rates (CTR), impressions, etc before deciding what generates the maximum revenue for you.
This is where cross-channel reporting comes in.
These automated reports are quick to identify the best performing channel(s) by aggregating the metrics in easy to read comparison charts.
What do cross-channel funnel reports show?
Cross-channel reporting lets you have granular understanding of the conversion path of your customers. Conversion path data is a unified pool of information that can originate from all digital channels which include paid and organic search, social sites, affiliates, referral sites, etc. These are some of the common metrics that can be derived:
- What role does each channel play in conversions?
- How many sales were initiated by each channel?
- What conversion path did the customers take while making a purchase?
- Time lags and path length reports
Benefits of cross-channel reporting
For a marketer, it is very important to identify and track the channel that helps in generating business enquiries.
And cross-channel analysis helps you do just that.
It enables organizations to study the customer journey, their behavioral patterns and interactions with the channel and finally, their path to conversion. It is also a very useful tool to visualise and compare conversion paths across multiple channels.
The idea is to understand all steps of a sales funnel, starting from website visits, page views, lead generation, lead qualification and conversions.
Following are some of the most evident benefits of using cross-channel reporting techniques:
1. Predictive modelling
With the availability of high quality data, it is eventually possible to use predictive models. These can be used for:
- Pinpointing the results of your marketing efforts on the revenue generated.
- Helping you to re-formulate your marketing mix to create more conversions.
Knorex KAIROS, for example, uses Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gather and analyse a large amount of historical data and behavioral data to guide its campaign strategies. This further helps in optimizing campaigns key performance indicators (KPIs).
2. Funnel analysis
There are certain channels that work well together. As a marketer, you would certainly want to know the combination that offers the highest returns to your business.
Cross-channel reporting offers complete transparency and visibility of data gathered from multiple channels. This helps you see what works well for your organisation and shortlist the channels which lead to higher conversions.
With comprehensive data analysis like this, it is easier to focus your marketing efforts, budget and resources to the most effective channels. To summarise, you get a comprehensive funnel analysis which further helps in driving conversions.
3. Channel comparison and analysis
Cross-channel reporting is all about comparative analysis. It enables you to derive better understanding of:
- Various marketing channels.
- Their relationships with each other.
- The type of content people like to engage with.
- The messages that produce the highest engagement rate.
- Factors that encourage a potential customer to convert.
4. Unified reporting
The technique helps you to layout all your digital marketing metrics from various channels in one place. This makes it super convenient to access, select and share the marketing reports. And you get all that at the click of a button!
5. Easy to optimize
With unified data available from all channels, it gets easy to optimize your marketing campaigns.
Various leading cross-channel reporting platforms like Knorex XPO use machine learning engines like KAIROS to maximise your budget allocation and direct them effectively towards your goals and ROIs (Return on investment).
Cross-channel funnel reporting using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is often used for creating useful reporting options for multi-channel funnels.
Here, you can feed the data collected by your marketing campaigns to get a clear insight into your conversions. Following reporting details are available:
- Overview- provides a quick snapshot of your conversions over time.
- Assisted conversions– helps you determine the touchpoints that move your customers down the conversion channel
- Top conversions paths– this reporting helps you determine the conversion paths that get maximum results.
- Time lag reports– these reports tell you about the time gap between lead generation and conversion.
- Path length reports– these reports help you calculate the number of interactions required for converting leads into customers.
Following simple steps help you set up a multi-channel reporting system using Google Analytics:
1. Linking pay per click campaigns
Pay per click campaigns are an important metric for cross channel reporting. Since they are not automatically linked to Google Analytics, you need to link them to your Google Ads account.
2. Tracking data points
Google’s MCF channel grouping is its default setting. It includes various channels like display, paid search, organic search, social networks, emails, etc. However, for customers who need more, there are options for creating custom channel reportings.
You can track data points depending on your business goals, and how your prospects are being converted into customers.
3. Data segmentation
You can segment your data using the Conversion Segment builder within Google Analytics. It helps you filter and segment relevant data which is important for your campaign success.
Use of AI in Cross-Channel Reporting
The world of online advertising has become highly data driven. And that’s the reason why AI is being considered pivotal when it comes to delivering the right marketing message.
Knorex KAIROS™ is an AI/ML engine which underpins its cloud platform (XPO) for automating and scaling digital marketing across multiple channels.
The AI/ML engine equips marketers in:
- Performing cross channel auto optimization.
- Recommending optimal bidding prices.
- Allocating advertising budget and optimizing campaign KPIs.
- Context understanding.
- Predictive analysis.
Marketers face a lot of challenges when it comes to tracking and analysing the digital data. There are endless hurdles, right from filtering out the most relevant data to using the right attribution model.
Cross-channel measurement and reporting helps in creating a more granular understanding of data, the interaction of each channel with each other and their contribution to the marketing ROI.