3 Things to Ask Your Digital Marketing Partner

August 19, 2015 mogoarts

If you are considering working with or have ever considered working with a new digital marketing partner, you know how difficult it can be to find the right fit. Patron behaviors, especially digital behaviors, are complex. In the arts, it is both an ongoing challenge and a requirement to acquire new audiences and build relationships effectively through your digital marketing efforts.

As an arts marketer, there are many items for you to consider surrounding the purely technical capabilities of your digital marketing partner(s), as well as considerations regarding the “other half” of the partnership – the human element.

While considering a digital marketing partner, arts organizations should be particularly careful to  evaluate the critical factors that are most important. Unfortunately, however, it’s not always easy to know where to start.

Here are three questions you can ask your digital partner – if you’re considering a new one or evaluating the one you already have.

1. Are you running campaigns from self-serve platforms?

Advertising technologies are commonly segmented into two classes – self-serve, and enterprise-level. The self-serve platforms available today are intended to be less sophisticated and are limited in functionality, targeting capabilities and data insights. Examples include platforms like Google AdWords, Google Display Network and Facebook’s advertising platform. However, these companies also offer enterprise-level solutions to satisfy the needs of more advanced digital marketers. These highly sophisticated tools include advanced targeting and attribution.  Along with these enterprise solutions comes a direct partnership with some of the best and brightest in the industry. Instead of “going alone”, even small organizations with small budgets can benefit greatly from these technologies and relationships if they opt not to use the self-serve tools available.

2.  Do you de-duplicate purchases and conversions across media channels?

Patron behaviors are complex – It’s likely that you will engage with them across multiple digital channels before they ever purchase. However, it can be difficult to measure conversions accurately if the tools being used can’t effectively track cross-media interactions and conversions.  For example, engaging with a patron across display, Facebook and search should be reported as a single purchase, not three. This type of inaccurate attribution can lead to double or even triple-counting purchases which generates inaccurate ROI.  In fact, studies from Neustar and Econsultancy show that 30- 40% of media budgets are wasted by this duplication and incorrect attribution associated with counting a single patrons purchase across channels as multiple purchases.

3. How are you tracking revenue and ROI?

Perhaps the most common method of tracking purchase revenue is Google Analytics. Unfortunately, this can also be the most inaccurate – up to 90%. The revenue-tracking methods used can exclude patrons that have engaged with your advertising prior to visiting your site.  Your revenue reporting needs to be accurate in order for you to calculate accurate ROI. If you can’t accurately measure or make sense of your data,  you can’t have the correct insights to make actionable decisions and spend your marketing budgets wisely – and, your perceived ROI is not real ROI. Also, ask your digital partner if they’re calculating their agency fees into your ROI figures.

Other considerations include revenue structures, ROI calculations, and how customer data can be best utilized. Arts marketers can greatly benefit from asking these questions and carefully evaluating the answers before choosing a digital marketing partner.