Rethinking ROAs as the sole driver of ad decisions

– Attribution for ads is not perfect and ROAs cannot be measured accurately.
– Making decisions based solely on ROAs may not be fair or effective, especially in a top-of-funnel approach.
– The quality of the audience and their stage in the buying journey can significantly impact ROAs, and ads should be seen as research and data collection tools rather than the sole driver of decision making.Rely on intent-based data collection rather than standard KPIs like ROAs when making ad and marketing strategy decisions.Is it fair to scale an ad based on ROAs as the leading driver of decision making? Attribution for ads isn’t perfect, and ROAs can’t be measured 1:1. Today, with everything being top of funnel, should we be making decisions based on ROAs alone? Certain ads no doubt will work better for different audiences if you’re targeting, but if you’re going broad and just speaking to different audiences, there’s no real way of telling what’s going to be successful and why. We just finished a month-long test around this, and the results were striking. We split the budget between ad sets, using the same ads in both, but targeting different audiences – one broad, one targeted. (We did find that targeted text worked better with interests and made a few tweaks.) Impressions had less than a 1.5% difference, clicks had less than a 0.07% difference, views of our forms were just 14 different, subscribers had an 11 difference, subscriber rates had less than a 0.7% difference, and sub orders were exactly the same. The only difference was in total orders, which were just 2 apart. The difference in ROAs was 0.2. At the end of the day, the difference in ROAs came down to the current stage of the buying journey people were in. We know this because we connected the ads directly to the data of their signup. The only notable variable was the answer to “when are you looking to buy?” That’s it. We ran this test because we hypothesized that ROAs were actually a result of the quality of the audience and based this on the data shared as to whether that audience was more or less likely to yield sales. Does the quality of the audience match the overall data collection marks related to revenue? As long as the blended ROAs keep going up, the majority of the gains aren’t going to come from ads, but instead from the rest of your website and its journey. Ads are just research and data collection engines to help you make better decisions. It’s fascinating how much I’ve changed my mind about what metrics we’ve been historically making decisions based on now that we have access to more intent data. I strongly predict that we’ll move to making ad and marketing strategy decisions completely based on intent-based data collection and not on standard KPIs like ROAs moving forward. #marketing #ecommerce #strategy

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