Back in the good ol’ days, marketers only had to choose between print, radio, and television as potential advertising mediums. But today? The digital landscape introduces marketers to an endless sea of channels to choose from. We’re talking email newsletters, banner ads, social media campaigns, display ads, responsive search ads, pre-roll ads… were this list written on a scroll, it would comically unfurl for eternity.
With so many channels to choose from, the question becomes: how do marketers track and optimize all these ad platforms, when very few of them are fully cross-channel?
Why it’s difficult to track cross-channel advertising platforms
Most ad platforms are not cross channel. For example, Google Ads analytics will tell you everything you need to know about Google Ads. Unfortunately, it won’t do you any favors for measuring your ads in Facebook. When these tools live in their own mini-siloes, getting a holistic, accurate view of your overall cross-channel campaigns can be a nightmare.
The good news? Cross-channel advertising software exists, and it’s here to save your time, your money, and best of all, your sanity.
What is cross-channel advertising software, and how does it help?
Cross-channel advertising software is designed to control all your advertising campaigns. You can manipulate ads on different platforms and consolidate all the data from different platforms — to yield better analysis and, ultimately, better results. With cross-channel advertising software, your company is able to better see the consequences of your advertising changes, and how each channel interacts with the other.
A core issue with ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, TikTok Ads or more is that all the information is siloed. Your performance data is going to be limited to the platform itself. To get a unified view of the data, you’ll need to extract all that information into a third party solution so you can actually analyze it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself checking a half-dozen to a dozen platforms each day. And the more platforms you have to check, the more likely it is that there will be errors or other things missed.
With cross-channel advertising software, you can optimize and improve your advertising spend. Data from tools like TikTok Ads and LinkedIn Ads can be drawn into a consolidated system automatically, freeing you up to make better decisions with greater consistency and accuracy.
Here are 5 tips about how to use software to level up your cross-channel advertising.
1. Visualize data in dashboards
With so many cross-channel advertising platforms in the mix, raw data sets can become hauntingly complex and difficult to make sense of. Visualizing your data in a dashboard helps consolidate key information in a digestible format that lets you compare channels with ease.
Here are some free dashboarding tools that can get you started:
Google Data Studio: Perhaps the most widely used tool in the market, Google Data Studio allows you to import Google Sheets or CSVs and visualize the data seamlessly. The challenge with Google Data Studio is finding connectors that give you an apples-to-apples comparison of all your channels. We’ll address this later.
Vizzlo: Vizzlo empowers marketers to create high-quality charts, infographics, and business visualizations for free in seconds. It’s free to get started with (if you’re cool with watermarks), and integrates with Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox and more. It also syncs your visualized data to PowerPoint or Google Slides.
2. Leverage ad data collection tools
Instead of manually downloading CSVs from each ad platform, some marketers pick a tool that lets them analyze their ad performance through the lens of their overall website. A good example of this isGoogle Analytics, which breaks down your traffic and goal conversion by the various acquisition channels used (presuming you have the right tracking pixels in place).
Another useful tool can come from your customer relationship management tool (CRM), such asHubspot,Marketo orPardot. Like Google Analytics, these tools can occasionally track customer behavior across your different web properties, creating a useful feedback loop for optimizations. Unfortunately, the further you get away from source data, the more error-prone your data becomes. Attribution to correct channels can get jumbled in your CRM, and as a result, decision-making can get pretty muddied.
That’s why a lot of marketers opt for a tool that doesn’t just collect raw source data, but cleans and unifies it as well. Like the proud parents we are, we can’t help but tout the perks ofJoinr here. It fetches pure, raw data from your favorite ad platforms, unifies the data sources together, then delivers a single source of truth to Google Data Studio (as mentioned above) for dead-simple and rock-solid analysis. All 100% free.
3. Start with cross-channel strategy tools
Rockstar cross-channel advertising campaigns begin with rockstar strategies. Before executing campaigns across Facebook Ads, Google Ads and more, digital marketers will start by understanding what trends are shaping their marketplace, and what messaging to focus on that will resonate with their audience.
BuzzSumo is an excellent tool that lets you research billions of data points to sharpen your marketing strategy. It also helps you generate new content ideas by browsing topics, trends and forums related to your field. In a nutshell? It’s awesome.
Although it’s primarily an SEO tool,Ahrefs is another tool that can level up your cross-channel strategy. After entering a keyword, it will deliver tons of data for content discovery, insights and what’s been trending in your field. It even allows you to run competitor analysis to see what conquest messaging you can deploy. Launching consistent campaigns across different channels is a cinch when you start with the right strategic foundations.
4. Simplify deployment with social media marketing tools
While a lot of companies try to manually maintain their social media platforms, the task can spiral out of control when you’re dealing with more than just Twitter and LinkedIn. And since cross platform social media marketing is essential to nearly every campaign, tapping into a social media marketing software can work wonders for your peace of mind.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps you create, schedule and publish content from a single dashboard. Measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns will still require an ad data unification tool, but at least you won’t be graying any hairs while juggling 5 (or more) platforms at once.
5. Get an apples-to-apples view of your data
Now to the fun (and most important) stuff. Measuring the true effectiveness of cross-channel campaigns comes down to a single concept: data unity. Are your ad platforms delivering data that can be compared across multiple channels? Or does each platform offer metrics that only make sense in one context?
More than likely, you’re dealing with the latter. And we all know how frustrating it can be when all you want is a simple pie graph that shows how your spend is split across channels, and when that chart breaks because TikTok Ads calls it spend and Facebook Ads refers to it as cost.
Time to toot our own horn here. We madeJoinr to solve into this conundrum once and for all. Using anad data framework, Joinr automatically fetches and unifies mismatched metrics from different channels, and delivers it all in Google Data Studio through a single data set.
Hopefully these 5 software tips give you an idea of how technology can lend a helping hand in the pursuit of cross channel excellence. Try adding a few of these tools to your tech stack, and watch your cross channel advertising game shine.