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Measuring back-to-school campaigns: Are you capturing the metrics that matter?

After launching a back-to-school campaign for one of the busiest and most expensive retail seasons of the year, now comes the hard part: effectively measuring the results. But before you start filling out that campaign report card, are you capturing the metrics that matter?

Here’s how brands targeting back-to-school shoppers can ensure they capture data that delivers meaningful insights and drives better business outcomes.

Graduate beyond the basics

To evaluate how successful your back-to-school campaign is, it’s important to step back and gain a holistic view of its performance. That requires analyzing metrics individually and assessing how they influence each other to tell a campaign’s full story. Then you can understand how and where to optimize your current back-to-school campaign and future runs.

With greater demand for accountability and transparency, reporting baseline metrics—like impressions and clicks—is no longer enough to determine a campaign’s success. In fact, more than 6 in 10 marketers said improving the ability to measure and analyze marketing impact is a top priority. To achieve that, you first need to determine which metrics will provide the most meaningful insight.

Define the right metrics

As you grade your back-to-school campaign, consider the following areas to help establish the metrics that matter:

  • Media quality: If you used data to reach the right back-to-school audiences, these associated metrics will help you determine whether your ads are reaching your target consumers—for example, Millennial Moms and College Sports Fans—and whether they’re actually paying attention to them.

  • Brand safety: After using Contextual Intelligence to expand your audience reach through trending content, these metrics help determine whether your back-to-school ads are served in the most relevant, safe environments.

  • Performance and ROI: These metrics are more complex and assess whether your ads performed successfully. Were your back-to-school shoe ads actually able to boost sales of light-up sneakers? What was the true cost per acquisition for each ad? This will help you determine where you should be allocating your budget.

For more detail on these core areas and the metrics behind them, check out our Digital Marketer’s Pocketbook.

Easy as ABC: 3 tips for measurement success

Once your metrics are spelled out, it’s critical to map them to measurement strategies that align with your top business objectives. Otherwise, you’re just measuring for the sake of measuring (and no one likes extra homework).

From there, you’ll see the direct impact your marketing dollars have on your campaigns. So to get the insights you’re looking for, hit the books and follow these measurement best practices to ensure your campaign achieves maximum ROI:

1. Measure across the customer experience

Omnichannel measurement enables you to gain insight into a consumer’s experience with ads across platforms and screens, including TV. This is especially important given how fragmented the TV and video ad spaces are. People-based insights are necessary to pinpoint which back-to-school shoppers you’re reaching with your message and where.For instance, if individuals in one of your back-to-college audiences—say, College Returners—see your ad on a mobile phone app, connecting those views to their web interactions is key to aligning their entire experience and maximizing the effectiveness of your brand messaging.

2. Optimize campaigns in-flight

Visibility into how your campaigns are performing enables you to optimize your back-to-school campaigns as they’re happening. In today’s fast-paced market, this sort of flexibility and adaptability is crucial to success.It’s all about maximizing your marketing dollars before the campaign is over.

3. Adopt an “always on” mind-set

While it’s important to see specific campaign highlights, digital marketers who shift their measurement mind-set to be “always on” instead of just campaign focused will ultimately come out ahead. For back-to-school season and beyond, you need a measurement foundation to adequately pinpoint the peaks and valleys of all your campaigns. How do you achieve this? By continually pulling and assessing the right metrics when you need them.

Rulers out: Using measurement to tell a campaign story

Robust measurement gives you a panoramic view of your campaigns to help you understand what’s working, why, and what you need to optimize. It also allows you to interpret and distill your data into compelling storylines that will comprehensively show how your campaigns performed.

Since back-to-school season lasts longer than you think, marketers who leverage the right metrics and develop powerful stories from their measurement will reap the rewards of uncaptured retail sales.

That’s why it’s best to work with a measurement partner that offers insight into its methodology, integration, product road maps, and outcomes. This partner will help you approach back-to-school season with a clear vision and effectively target your ideal customers to capitalize on the billions of retail dollars at stake.


Jacel Booth is a Marketing Communications Manager at AddThis by Oracle Data Cloud, where she is responsible for developing and executing the company’s content strategy. She enjoys a good pun and is an ardent supporter of the Oxford comma.






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