We’re continuously told that data is a marketer’s best friend, however in reality marketers’ jobs become more complex with the more data points that are introduced. Each year, the need to break down barriers that stand between traditional and digital advertising is amplified, and it’s through the use of data that marketers learn about the benefits that channel integration can provide. 

The conversation has been going on a while now – advertisers have a very real desire to own and control their own data, however with the mountains of information that can now be collected about our consumers, it can be a mission to understand it. For some, Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are the answer to the data sprawl. They promise unbridled measurement and understanding. But even with a DMP, marketers still need a strategy to understand when they’re winning when it comes to advertising. 

Here are four tips to succeed in making sense of data.

Know your measurables

With so many data points available to marketers, it can sometimes be daunting figuring out what is important. Should you be looking at GRPs, brand uplift, awareness, engagement or intent? When it comes to measuring across platforms, simplification is key. Make your measurement easy to understand from the start. Knowing what to measure and how to measure it is the only way you’ll be able to understand ROI. Don’t get distracted by industry hot topics such as viewability and fraud. While still important considerations for your overall strategy, they’re not sensible units for measuring campaign success. If your goal is acquiring new customers, ensure your sights don’t shift from your coveted target.

Test and learn

One of the best things about data is its flexibility and ability to measure. With regard to ad creative, call to actions, colours, backgrounds and messages should be A/B tested for efficacy. The same principle should also be applied to marketing via digital platforms. In programmatic for example, no one demand side platform (DSP) will give advertisers the complete picture. Each has its own strengths, so a degree of testing and learning should be administered to find the right solution for your brand. It’s likely that a combination of channels will work best for you. Partner with a company that consults and educates during the process to ensure your KPIs are met.


Attribution, the process of assigning value to individual marketing touch points, is considered by some to be the Holy Grail of advertising. While digital offers many of the tracking answers that traditional brand advertising is unable to though the use of data, not all ads are created equal, so not every attribution method will tell the full story. Rather than first or last touch attribution methods, multi-touch attribution should be the ultimate goal. However, attribution of any kind doesn’t come without its challenges. Connecting online and offline, unifying metrics and external influences are all factors that can impact the end result. Enlisting a multi-touch attribution method to measure the success of your campaign is the best way to gauge the impact of your marketing activities. 

Celebrate your failures

One of marketers’ biggest mistakes (as paradoxical as it may sound) is the belief that they are a failure if they fail. Champions are not born overnight; every winner has lost at some point along the way. Celebrate your failures as they mean you’re getting closer to the end goal, even if it is through the process of elimination. With data, there needs to be a considerable amount of testing and adjusting, depending on results. What is key is that the process is started.

Above all, never underestimate the importance of data in marketing. What may not be important for you and your brand today may become important tomorrow. Ensure you keep your data secure and only share what is vital with third parties, as this is what will set you apart from the competition in future.

Phil Guest and Mark Arasaratnam will be presenting their session ‘Making Sense of Data’ at Performance Marketing Insights on Friday 30th October at 10 am.