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cross-channel analytics

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

Cross-channel analytics is a strategy used by marketing professionals to study the methods by which customers are influenced to buy a product or service, especially when those methods are combined. By analyzing different channels that carry marketing messages, and the ways those channels influence customers, companies can target potential audiences as part of a holistic marketing strategy.

Some channels companies use to carry their marketing message might include the following:

  • Billboard advertising - This is done by placing advertisements on large signs on the sides of roads and highways.
  • Cold calls or directed marketing calls - Calling a potential customer by phone.
  • Email marketing - Contacting a potential customer by mass or directed email.
  • Guerrilla advertising - Incorporating advertisements into public spaces so that they blend into a person’s experience. Some methods could include slipping objects into spaces where a lot of people visit, hiring actors to interact with target markets in public spaces or incorporating street art into urban settings.
  • Online advertisements - Website banners, pop-ups or other internet content directed at specific customers.
  • Point of sale displays - In stores, specific items might be grouped together in the same place to suggest a purchase that might persuade a customer. This could include creating a display that encourages a purchase because of the location, for instance, right near a register.
  • Print advertisements - These include advertisements that may be purchased in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or other print media.
  • Product placement - Marketing teams pay to have characters in movies and TV shows who popular with their target base use their products and influence potential customers.
  • Smartphone app advertising - Choosing apps that a company’s potential customers might use allows marketers to reach their target market.
  • Social media marketing - Ads targeted at specific social media feeds based on a potential customer's interests and other information gathered about them through data mining. In addition, popular figures on social media sites like Instagram and twitter might be paid large amounts of money to use certain items or talk about them in their posts.
  • Television advertisements - Advertisements are usually aimed at the viewers of certain shows that share an audience with the target customers of a product.
  • Transit advertising, wraps, and street ads - Large ads on city buses and other transportation (trains, taxis, trolleys, etc.) can reach many customers, especially if they are placed somewhere where commuters have few other distractions, like crowded train platforms. In addition, street furniture ads reach a large audience on objects like benches or bus stops.
  • Website or blog mentions - Companies pay popular blogs or websites to include their brand name or product in reviews or articles. Some marketing teams create their own content.

Companies that take a cross-channel approach to their marketing usually see an uptick in the potential customers they influence. Advertising to a customer in only one specific way is limiting, but repeating a message through various forms of media at different points in a person’s day makes it much more likely to result in a sale. To form a plan to reach a target customer in the most efficient ways, cross-channel analytics is a method to compare the effectiveness and reach of various marketing strategies and their impact. Researchers can compare increases in certain web traffic or purchases and link them to various forms of advertising to find out which combinations of messaging are most effective, and at which times.

This was last updated in October 2018

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