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DCI Whitepaper July 2018

The Digital
Campaign
Index

DCI
exhibit-a
Exhibit A: Chanel N°5 Commercial
Exhibit A: Chanel N°5 Commercial

A Bygone Era

In 2004, Chanel produced what is still the most expensive television commercial in history. The two-minute spot (see Exhibit A), directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro, cost $33 million, and at this point, it’s unlikely that another brand will ever surpass it. Even Chrysler’s 2011 “Imported from Detroit” ad, the most expensive Super Bowl commercial of all time, cost only $12.4 million, and, more importantly, the dominant medium for advertising is no longer TV.

In fact, in 2016, advertising dollars spent on the internet eclipsed1 those spent on television for the first time, though the transition hasn’t been seamless. While performance marketing has thrived online, where every action can be measured and optimized, brand marketing has struggled to stay relevant. As a result, marketers are now starting to nurture a new kind of relationship between the brand and consumer—one that embraces social media and facilitates more meaningful engagement.

Performance marketing, which used to be called “direct response,” has been adapted to the digital world, where it can be tracked in real time. For example, instead of mailing a coupon to thousands of homes near a company’s flagship store, marketers today can target consumers who have already demonstrated purchase intent by using an opt-in email list segmented by location or by advertising on relevant search terms on Google. Because of the wealth of data available, they can clearly assess and optimize the actions that lead to greater revenue.

On the brand marketing side, the same kinds of ads that were popular on television (or, for that matter, print) have been copy and pasted onto the Internet as intrusive video commercials and banner, display, and social ads. Although these top-of-funnel activities have the same objective—to increase brand recognition and, ultimately, to build purchase intent—they haven’t been nearly as successful as they were in the golden days of TV and in print.

1 Kleiner Perkins | KP Internet Trends 2017. https://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/internet-trends-2017-report/14-KP_INTERNET_TRENDS_2017_PAGE
2 Hubspot | 20 Display Advertising Stats That Demonstrate Digital Advertising’s Evolution.
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/horrifying-display-advertising-stats#sm.0000thijtk14w9fgvzlccwnrkuae1
3 MediaPost | 60% of All Mobile Banner Ad Clicks Are Accidents.
https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/268266/60-of-all-mobile-banner-ad-clicks-are-accidents.html
4 CNBC | Businesses could lose $16.4 billion to online advertising fraud in 2017: Report.
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/15/businesses-could-lose-164-billion-to-online-advert-fraud-in-2017.html

During the era of television, the top and bottom of the funnel were essentially connected, at least in the minds of advertisers. Of course, consumers seeing the Kidman spot for Chanel No. 5 didn’t immediately go purchase the perfume, but advertisers hoped to build enough brand recognition when consumers were in their living room to change their behavior at the department store. TV and print facilitated passive consumption, whereas the internet encourages sharing, interaction, and play. Consequently, it’s no surprise that the click-thru rate of banner ads across all formats and placements is an abysmal .06%2 (and probably much lower considering 60% of those clicks are a mistake3 and bot driven ad fraud cost brands $16.4 billion4 in 2016).

The spray-and-pray method, borrowed from television and based on the principles of reach and frequency, misses the opportunity to engage more deeply with consumers.

Exhibit B: Taco Bell Snapchat Filter
Exhibit B: Taco Bell Snapchat Filter

Capitalizing on Enthusiasm

Increasingly, marketers are creating digital experiences that reflect and enhance what consumers are already doing online. For example, after Taco Bell noticed how popular Snapchat filters are, it released its own as seen in Exhibit B, which transformed a user’s head into a giant taco and was viewed 224 million times1 in one day. To help diners discover their epicurean persona, Fazoli, an Italian restaurant chain based out of Lexington, KY, launched a food-based quiz using items from their lunch special. After Five Guys noticed that fans were raving about their first time at the restaurant (the “Five Guys conversion”), begging the chain to open a location near them, and promoting themselves as brand fanatics, the brand launched a series of digital campaigns that capitalized on that enthusiasm, such as the hashtag-based #FiveGuysFanatic contest in Exhibit C.

National brand campaigns, seasonal promotions, sampling programs, shopper marketing partnerships, co-branded and integrated marketing campaigns—all are moving online. They’re taking the form of immersive and sharable experiences on landing pages, microsites, website embeds, and native ad formats like Facebook Canvas and Snap Ad + Web View, where they can be measured, compared and optimized. All have the same goal—to build and nurture audiences with purchase intent—but the shift to digital brings its own complications.

Exhibit C: Five Guys
#FiveGuysFanatic Campaign
Exhibit C: Five Guys #FiveGuysFanatic Campaign

1 AdWeek | Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat Lens Was Viewed 224 Million Times. http://www.adweek.com/digital/taco-bells-cinco-de-mayosnapchat-lens-was-viewed-224-million-times-171390/

Many Options, Much Noise

Today, marketers have both too little and too much information. Reach and frequency, the traditional ways of measuring brand marketing success, tell an incomplete story because advertising is now about more than counting the number of eyeballs on a banner ad. At the same time, digital experiences generate a flood of other metrics—which might include visits, time spent, clicks, shares, form entries, opt-ins, content entries, social mentions, earned reach, view duration, view percentage, scroll reach, video plays, downloads, click thrus—that provides data but no real insight and no practical way to compare value and performance of dissimilar campaigns.

As marketing shifts from TV to digital, with the same $33 million budget today, Chanel would likely nurture their audience in new and myriad ways. For example, they might direct consumers to a landing page with a teaser video extending the story of Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro’s Moulin Rouge-esque romance. And, they might offer consumers a free sample of their latest perfume in exchange for their email address. And, they might launch a user-generated content campaign for a chance to fly to Paris and visit the Chanel headquarters. They might even partner with Ferrari and launch a microsite that promotes a posh European lifestyle.

“To truly understand the value and effectiveness of today’s digital campaigns, marketers need their metrics to not just provide details, but rather, to tell a complete story in terms of engagement and virality.”

Some of these campaigns might fail. Some might succeed. However, each small activation would allow Chanel to test the market instead of having to risk their entire budget on one extravagant commercial. Then, they could double-down on what’s working—but only if they knew what that was. The digital campaign metrics currently available provide the brand only a partial picture.

For example, imagine that the teaser video was a flop. The lighting was overly harsh. The costumes looked cheap. Kidman and Santoro’s chemistry was nonexistent, and of the two minutes, the average viewer watched only 10 seconds. But, pretend that the page also offered a free sample of Chanel’s latest perfume and that 55% of the 100,000 visitors signed up and 50% of those shared the campaign on social media, which accounted for half of the visits to the campaign. Was Chanel’s campaign a success? Should the brand have invested in more media to drive traffic to the site while it was still live?

Or, imagine that the brand received 25,000 photo submissions for their Win a Trip to Paris contest. Most of the uploaded content didn’t adhere to brand guidelines, but 20% of visitors to the campaign shared it on both Facebook and Instagram. How can Chanel decide whether this campaign is performing better—and more deserving of media spend—than the teaser video?

Without a standardized way of comparing performance against higher-level objectives, Chanel risks launching wasteful, throwaway campaigns. Neither traditional metrics (like reach and frequency), nor digital metrics (like time spent, clicks, shares, form entries, opt-ins, social mentions, earned reach, click thrus) would comprehensively sum up the performance of each experience, let alone allow Chanel to compare the campaigns against their real goals: engagement and virality. Without that ability, they are flying blind.

Exhibit D: Mid-Funnel Measurement
Exhibit D: Mid-Funnel Measurement

Metrics Rethought

Virality is a measure of how widely a campaign is shared and the corresponding impact of that sharing. Like engagement, virality can be quantified as a real-time score—a Virality Score (VS)—which distills the underlying metrics related to sharing, such as campaign and content shares to social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others) and direct channels like email, as well as earned reach and earned visits, as shown in Exhibit E.

To correct for external factors, like media spend, and enable apples-to-apples comparison of scores between campaigns, the metrics must be normalized. For example, all else being equal, a campaign with 1,000 visitors and 500 form entries (50% conversion rate) is more engaging than a campaign with 10,000 visitors but only 250 form entries (2.5% conversion rate)—so the form entries metric should be normalized for the number of visitors.

Exhibit E: Engagement & Virality Scores
Exhibit E: Engagement & Virality Scores

Virality is a measure of how widely a campaign is shared and the corresponding impact of that sharing. Like engagement, virality can be quantified as a real-time score—a Virality Score (VS)—which distills the underlying metrics related to sharing, such as campaign and content shares to social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others) and direct channels like email, as well as earned reach and earned visits, as shown in Exhibit E.

To correct for external factors, like media spend, and enable apples-to-apples comparison of scores between campaigns, the metrics must be normalized. For example, all else being equal, a campaign with 1,000 visitors and 500 form entries (50% conversion rate) is more engaging than a campaign with 10,000 visitors but only 250 form entries (2.5% conversion rate)—so the form entries metric should be normalized for the number of visitors.

exhibit-g
Exhibit G: Visualizing the DCI
Exhibit G: Visualizing the DCI

The Digital Campaign Index

Engagement and Virality Scores can be combined into a single, actionable measure of the overall performance of a digital campaign—a Digital Campaign Index (DCI) Score, as shown in Exhibit F. A campaign that has a relatively high DCI may warrant substantially more media investment. If a campaign has a low DCI, then a marketer can drill down to ES and VS, diagnose the situation, and take steps to adjust or end the campaign.

Exhibit F: The DCI Score
Exhibit F: The DCI Score

Digital campaign metrics are the ingredients of a Digital Campaign Index. The recipe is the algorithm for calculating the scores so they can be put into practical use by marketers. While it is possible to define the model differently, basing both scores on a common scale and calculating the DCI as the evenly weighted average of ES and VS, makes for easy to understand scores that can be visualized on two-dimensional charts that can be seen in Exhibit G.

Exhibit H: Visualizing One Campaign
Exhibit H: Visualizing One Campaign

Using the Digital Campaign Index

The DCI helps marketers gauge the effectiveness of both their individual campaigns, and their digital strategy as a whole. Exhibit H shows how the performance of a single campaign can be visualized.

Exhibit I: Visualizing Multiple Campaigns
Exhibit I: Visualizing Multiple Campaigns

Because the DCI reveals how one of a brand’s campaigns stacks up against both similar and divergent campaigns, it also allows the marketing team to profile and evaluate their entire campaign portfolio at a glance. For example, in Exhibit I, one campaign skews toward engagement, another skews viral, while a third is evenly balanced — and all three have a DCI of 80.

Exhibit J: Improving Campaign Performance
Exhibit J: Improving Campaign Performance

Taking Action

Real time Engagement and Virality Scores suggest to marketers how to improve their campaigns. For example, to increase virality as shown in
Exhibit J, a marketer could add campaign sharing buttons, optimize default sharing language or images, enable participation via social channels, or incorporate a feature (such as a quiz) that generates fun, shareable results.

Exhibit K: Optimizing Media Spend
Exhibit K: Optimizing Media Spend

The DCI can also help marketers uncover potential issues and opportunities with media spend that wouldn’t be apparent otherwise. Because each campaign is represented in proportion to the number of visitors, which is partly a function of media spend, they can identify wasteful media spend and spot promising campaigns that may warrant more media investment — the ones that are truly engaging and viral, not just the most popular. For example, in Exhibit K, the light-blue campaigns may have benefited from the most ad dollars, but it’s really the orange campaign that deserves more media investment. By closing the loop between media spend at the top f the funnel and outcomes in the mid-funnel, the DCI enables marketers to increase return on ad spend and improve the efficiency by which they nurture audiences and cultivate purchase intent.

Exhibit L: Informing Campaign Strategy
Exhibit L: Informing Campaign Strategy

More generally, the DCI provides an objective, data-driven measurement framework for a comprehensive digital strategy. Past campaigns that scored high on the DCI, like the orange campaigns shown in Exhibit L, are fertile ground for future campaign ideas.

Exhibit M: DCI Score for Brand X
Exhibit M: DCI Score for Brand X

By the same token, the relatively low-scoring light-blue campaigns might shed light on what not to do. Finally, the DCI of each campaign can be aggregated to calculate a brand’s overall DCI, the executive-level measure of the health and trajectory of a brand’s digital campaign strategy, as in Exhibit M.

Exhibit N: DCI Quadrants
Exhibit N: DCI Quadrants

DCI Enhancements and Benchmarks

With the foundation of the DCI in place, marketers can further enhance it, for example, by incorporating new metrics as digital campaigns evolve, adding new visualizations, or establishing external benchmarks.

As shown in Exhibit N, the quadrants in the chart could be given names that characterize campaigns that fall into each quadrant. Campaigns in the bottom-right quadrant might be called sticky campaigns, indicating relatively high engagement and low virality. Similarly, those in the topleft, bottom-left and top-right represent: social, niche and influential campaigns, respectively.

External DCI benchmarks could provide a helpful frame of reference for interpreting results, much like a stock market index enables us to compare the performance of our own stock portfolios to an independent reference point. For example, industry- and campaign-level benchmarks like those shown in Exhibit O would give marketers an objective, independent perspective that is often entirely missing with mid-funnel digital campaigns.

To establish DCI benchmarks, a dataset of underlying metrics and scores for digital campaigns would be required. The dataset would need to be based on a statistically significant number and variety of recent campaigns, and would also need to include campaigns from a large number and variety of brands.

Exhibit O: Hypothetical DCI Benchmarks
Exhibit O: Hypothetical DCI Benchmarks
Exhibit P: Digital Campaign Index Badge
Exhibit P: Digital Campaign Index Badge

Implementing the DCI

The lack of an objective measure for digital campaigns is both a problem and an opportunity. Organizations that adopt the Digital Campaign Index have the opportunity to bring the data-driven discipline of performance marketing—with its corresponding benefits—to all of their brand marketing activities. Even better, to create their own DCI, brands and agencies have the necessary ingredients—that is, the metrics that come from instrumenting their digital campaigns—and can establish an algorithm for normalizing and abstracting the metrics into real-time, actionable scores. In addition, organizations with a large campaign dataset, drawn from a large number of brands, may also be able to establish external benchmarks (e.g. for a specific industry) for their DCI.

Exhibit Q: DCI Campaign Analysis
Exhibit Q: DCI Campaign Analysis

The Digital Campaign Index in Wyng

As shown in Exhibits P and Q, the Wyng platform now includes the Digital Campaign Index. Built on top of the underlying campaign metrics in Wyng, the DCI is automatically calculated and visualized in real-time for all campaigns built with the platform. The algorithm is informed by a dataset of hundreds of thousands of campaigns powered by Wyng, with emphasis on ten thousand of the most recent campaigns representing a wide range of agencies and brands across all major B2C verticals. Click here to learn more.

The role of Wyng as a platform partner is to provide the best digital campaign infrastructure to agencies and brands — from campaign hosting to data and analytics. By focusing on the dirty work of software infrastructure, we aim to support the creativity of our partners and help them bring the best performing digital campaigns to life.

Conclusion

Digital marketing presents challenges that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Because consumers no longer respond to static, passive ads, marketers must now engage, inspire, and co-create with them. As a result, marketers need new measurements to get a complete picture of the health and trajectory of their digital campaigns. So, even if Chanel spent $25,000 promoting their new teaser video and didn’t spend a penny on their Win a Trip to Paris campaign, they could clearly and instantly see which one was more impactful. Regardless of the campaign type or the media spend, the Digital Campaign Index, which can be implemented by any brand or agency, equips marketers with the data and insights they need to achieve success.

Contributors

Wendell Lansford, Co-Founder
Prakash Mishra, Co-Founder and CTO
Tian Chu, Director of Engineering