Digital marketing has revolutionized the way businesses acquire customers, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Viewability and attribution, in particular, have been major barriers for marketers seeking to optimize their strategies and measure their success accurately. In a recent interview David Kaplan, Head of Digital Marketing at GrocerKey, shared his insights and experiences on how he overcame these challenges and achieved success in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing.
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David Kaplan’s career in digital marketing started as a self-taught developer for the Tribune Company’s joint venture with America Online in the early nineties. He then went on to work on some of the earliest sports websites, including Shaq.com and the San Francisco 49ers, as the Director of Special Projects for SportsLine. As digital continued to grow, Kaplan built out affiliate, paid search, and SEO programs for TicketsNow and Discover Financial. In 2009, he took on all digital media responsibilities for Peapod, where he faced the challenges of viewability and attribution head-on.
One of the challenges Kaplan encountered was Google Analytics taking credit for conversions that were not directly attributable to the ads, resulting in inaccurate measurement of campaign performance. He also faced issues with duplicates and customer blindness, where customers were resistant to ads due to the overwhelming number of ads they were exposed to. Kaplan knew he needed a solution that could provide accurate attribution and viewability data to optimize his marketing efforts.
Kaplan identified viewability as a priority when searching for an attribution partner. He understood the importance of knowing whether his ads were actually being seen by users and wanted a solution that could provide reliable viewability data. He also recognized the increasing competitiveness of the marketing environment, with rising cost of acquisition, and the need to understand how his marketing budget was being utilized effectively.
Kaplan’s “aha” moment came when he discovered the power of attribution in digital marketing. He realized that by using a multi-touch attribution approach, he could accurately measure the impact of each touchpoint in the customer journey and optimize his marketing strategies accordingly. However, getting buy-in from stakeholders and convincing them to believe in the numbers was not easy. Kaplan had to focus on data warehouse matching and education about the multi-touch attribution process to build trust and get Peapod to adopt this new technology.
Kaplan also emphasized the importance of the first touch in customer acquisition, especially in non-brand search. He explained that understanding the initial touchpoint in the customer journey is crucial as it sets the foundation for subsequent interactions and influences the customer’s decision-making process.
Looking ahead, Kaplan predicts that in the next 10 years, anyone who is serious about digital marketing and can afford it will be implementing attribution in their strategies. He believes that attribution will become a standard practice in the industry as marketers seek to optimize their campaigns and measure their success accurately.
Kaplan’s journey in digital marketing is a testament to the challenges and opportunities that come with the evolving landscape of the industry. By overcoming the hurdles of viewability and attribution, Kaplan has been able to optimize his marketing strategies and achieve success in customer acquisition. His insights and experiences serve as valuable lessons for marketers navigating the digital marketing landscape in today’s competitive environment. As the industry continues to evolve, attribution is poised to become a standard practice for serious marketers who want to stay ahead of the game.