May 8, 2023

Optimizing Retail Ad Models with a Single Source of Truth

Caroline Mccauley

Optimizing Retail Ad Models with a Single Source of Truth

Ideally, truth exists as a single universal concept that everyone knows and understands. However, it is not always simple to be united around a single truth. When it comes to performance marketing, having a solid sense of a source of truth (SOT) for campaigns and metrics of success is essential, but it takes effort and initiative to establish a SOT.

In this blog, we will discuss:

  • The definition of a SOT in performance marketing
  • Why a SOT is necessary
  • How to achieve an SOT
  • Guiding performance with a SOT

What is a Source of Truth in Performance Marketing

A SOT imparts a cohesive point of view of data across all databases. With a SOT, there is no conflicting or disparate data in multiple systems, instead there is a single data reference point. When you have a SOT everyone is on the same page and speaking the same language.

Let’s say that you identify a contact in your CRM by their first and last name, but on a membership platform you locate them by their social media handle. In this situation, you have different data points and are in need of a SOT or one unique identifier for both platforms. Without a SOT, it is hard to pinpoint the same person in different systems, and you become susceptible to creating duplicate data.

A SOT is needed in performance marketing not only for your marketing contacts, but also for measuring the success of your marketing campaigns. The ambiguous, broad questions of “What is Success?”, “How Do We Define Success Metrics?” and “What portion of success can be attributed to a particular marketing effort?” are not easy to solve. These questions are fraught with gray area and are not straightforward, until you agree upon the data points that define your SOT. Success is subjective until you define it with data. After all, without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

Why 60% of marketers rank SOT as the most important digital capability

Having a SOT is essential for marketers and to the success of the entire organization. “60% of people ranked SOT as the most important digital capability for their organization,” according to Salesforce. It is vital to develop a SOT across all business units, platforms, strategies and campaigns.

For marketers, leveraging marketing data spread among all channels and painting a complete, comprehensive picture is key. This brings up another challenge in itself. How do you connect the data points from different channels?

Upon analyzing the performance for a marketing campaign on one channel, you may ask yourself what is impacting the click-through rate, how much revenue is the content driving, and what is happening to the conversion rates? These questions are valid, but you must ask these questions across multiple channels and campaigns and connect the data. A holistic story of all the marketing channels and data is the goal. With that said, you cannot view channels or data separately; a siloed analysis will only give you one piece of the pie.

Creating a cohesive picture of the performance of multiple marketing channels and understanding how performance gains are attributed to each channel is necessary in today’s world where having an omnichannel presence is required to thrive. The average marketer uses 7.2 channels, according to Gartner. In most cases, the hope is that prospective customers will engage with multiple pieces of content, across multiple channels for a winning multitouch marketing strategy. Digital channels often measure metrics differently; thus, a SOT is crucial as you must have a unifying set of metrics to measure different channel performance against.

Achieving a SOT

The first step to a successful SOT is aligning your teams, budgets, and tools. Consolidation of systems and tools and eliminating legacy systems is a good first move. When having a copious amount of channels and campaigns, it may be advantageous to have a single repository of all your marketing data, so you can segment and analyze in one place. It is easier to identify a SOT in a unified platform as it enables everyone in your company to access data from a single point. With a single platform for all your channels and campaigns, there’s no more weaving together data from incongruous systems.

Ensuring sales and marketing operate as a single organism should be your next move. Historically, sales and marketing sit separately and all too often their goals are viewed in isolation. There must be a consolidated marketing and sales vision. A SOT must be achieved across both marketing and sales. The marketing and sales funnel needs to be analyzed together, not in a vacuum. An all-too-common example is marketing throws leads to sales, but that is where marketing’s involvement stops, and they never follow up with how those leads are flowing or not flowing in the sales funnel. Marketing must take an active role in the sales funnel and vice versa, all while ensuring that there is a consolidation of data across the sales and marketing funnel.

Most importantly, you need to define the metric that will count as your SOT. Is it new customer growth, a stable cost of sale, a ROAS target, an agreed upon attribution model, or maybe a combination of all of these? In order to define this, you must involve everyone to view and interact with the SOT, otherwise it will be a futile effort; people will speak different languages. Try creating a list of priority metrics and differentiating vanity metrics from more essential metrics.

Guiding Performance with a SOT

One way to better steer marketing performance is to use your model for marketing attribution to influence on-going campaign optimization. In this case attribution data is a primary SOT that drives future performance. If you are working with a performance marketing partner, it is important to communicate your vision for the SOT and leverage the partner’s expertise to help establish the key metrics that define success.

Connexity, the largest independent retail marketing platform, has experience in assisting leading brands and merchants in pinpointing SOTs for their performance marketing campaigns. We use the merchant’s own on attribution data as a key SOT. Purchase attribution data is a primary and necessary input Connexity uses to manage a merchant partner’s ecommerce campaign and to optimize growth. The data is a SOT for aligning conversions Connexity recognizes with how the merchant assigns value to additional shopper exposure we deliver with incremental offer placements.

Detailed attribution data is converted into signals that inform how Connexity bidding algorithms adjust in real-time to either deprioritize traffic placements with poor conversion performance or to increase bidding parameters in order to win competitive exposure with strong shopper intent. The attribution data is our source-of-truth to continually maximize budget performance across many diverse sources of shopper traffic and to ultimately deliver on our partner’s strategic campaign goals.

To learn more about how Connexity works with top retail companies and leverages attribution data as SOTs to maximize budget and campaign performance, fill out your information here.


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