DTC eCommerce is growing – but measurement challenges are coming
Or, rather, they’re already here, says Ron Jacobson, CEO and founder of Rockerbox, a marketing attribution startup that primarily helps direct-to-consumer brands measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and test them on new channels.
“A lot is happening that is making it difficult to measure,” Jacobson said. “But marketers also want to spend their dollars on more channels than ever before.”
Wearable technology company Oura, which makes smart rings that help people monitor their sleep quality, is slightly less affected than most marketers in terms of targets by changing cookies and limited access to mobile device IDs, says company VP Manbir Sodhia.
Oura purposefully expands on its targeting strategy. Although the company has raised about $ 150 million since 2015, including a $ 100 million Series C round – and recently sold its millionth ring – the smart ring segment as a whole is still in growth mode, and general awareness needs to be spread.
Sodhia said, “We do not limit our audience to any particular group. “Our goal is to say, hey, our product is for everyone, so we really want to reach a wider audience.”
Since they are trying to reach as many people as possible, it is necessary to test new channels as much as possible. “And it’s really important for us to understand the impact of those channels,” Sodhia said
Like most DTC companies, they spend a lot of money on paid social work, but it is also expanding its organic marketing efforts and experimenting with search and linear television.
Last year, they began working with Rockerbox to verify his investment preferences.
Take a look inside
Rockerbox focuses all of a brand’s marketing spend and campaign data in one place, including paid, organic, digital and offline, and it creates similar identity graphs to get an idea of the customer journey.
It has an API for receiving cost information from nearly 200 platforms, including Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Shopify, Hulu, Tatari, Pandora, Branch, MailChimp, Criteo, RTB House, The Trade Desk and Snowflake.
Instead of third-party cookies, Rockerbox uses custom tracking domains. When someone clicks on an ad or visits a page, rockerbox trackers and pixels load on first-party contexts, such as from the advertiser’s own website domain, rather than the rockerbox domain. As such, identifiers have a slightly longer shelf life and are not quickly blocked by Safari and Firefox, both already third-party-tracker-free environments.
(You might think of it as a spin on first-party attribution.)
Rockerbox also relies on a combination of first-party data signals and determinant identifiers, such as email addresses and phone numbers, to assist in identity resolution.
The TV enters the ring
When they decide to start investing in upper-funnel media channels, it needs “confidence” that it is making the right bet, Sodhia said. “We didn’t want to experiment directly with linear TVs or spend too much until we had some kind of multi-channel attribution system in place,” he said.
Oura has worked with Rockerbox to import all of its data into its own data warehouse so that the marketing team can create a visualization of the campaign’s performance in Mukna.
“Confidence comes through learning about patterns,” Sodhia said.
If a campaign does not work as expected, for example, is it because the creative was not effective, or is it due to some sort of macroeconomic factor beyond the brand’s control?
With a clear idea of baseline performance across all of its marketing efforts, Oura can begin to optimize costs across all of those channels. At that moment a lot of questions arise: is there a place to scale? Is there a reason to pull back? Is the amount of expenditure appropriate compared to the results on a daily or weekly basis?
Measurement is an exercise of perpetual motion.
Oura’s media, marketing and analytics teams often meet to view this data together – and to ask questions. “This is happening in constant research mode,” Sodhia said. “Our job is to challenge things, make sure there is a healthy mix and the channels are performing as expected.”
A mix of scalable channels increasingly includes linear TVs. “In the case of TV and offline channels, what is old is new again,” Sodhia said.
When Oura launched the third generation of its Smart Ring last fall, investing in TV made sense as a way to expand its audience and introduce its brand to more people, especially in light of growing concerns about digital performance.
Cross-channel attributes help us gain insight into whether our TV is creating lift and driving effects on other channels like Creative Brand Search.
“TV is a channel that we have been able to verify for the last six months or so,” Sodhia said. “And that’s an independent approach, because we’re not just relying on what we see internally in our own silos.”