In a given week, 44 percent of people use multiple social media platforms. However, just 39 percent of marketers require all platform providers to use consistent measurement approaches, with major social platforms most often being allowed to use their own measurement as currency.

To understand the risks for marketers utilizing siloed exposure in their cross-platform measurement, DISQO conducted a study among 166,356 US consumers between February to March, 2021, each of which voluntarily allowed the company to observe their digital behaviors on mobile and desktop devices. DISQO also studied about 8,500 US adults in January 2021 who opted in to share their social media usage across multiple platforms.

The findings explore how a single source of truth can prevent marketers from yielding inaccurate insights, lower return on ad spend, lack of confidence and excess administrative costs.

Measuring the effectiveness of campaigns requires the ability to see how placements on two different platforms, say, TikTok and Facebook, interact with each other against the same audience target. To determine how much overlap happens between different social media platforms, DISQO shares a fictitious scenario involving a campaign that runs on three different platforms—A, B, and C. The campaign on platform A received 500,000 views, on platform B 400,000 views and 200,000 views on platform C.

DISQO’s data found that platform B saw a lift of 3 percentage points in positive campaign response with siloed platform measurement compared with a lift of 2 percentage points for platform A and a lift of 1 percentage point for platform C. Based on these numbers, one would assume platform B deserves greater investment while media should be optimized off of platform C.

However, as DISQO points out, it’s likely that the unexposed audience has seen the brand messages on a different platform and mischaracterizing these exposed users creates a mutant control group with exposure from another platform. As a result, this group produces an artificially high baseline off which to calculate lift.

According to DISQO, when you take the mutant control group out of the equation and get an accurate view of exposure, it’s actually platform C that’s the most successful because it saw a lift of 7 percentage points in positive campaign response. But because this platform was getting the lowest investment, huge upside revenue potential was being lost and higher costs resulted from siloed measurement. 

Additionally, with siloed measurement, the overall campaign lift is understated at 2 percentage points. When mutant control is eliminated, however, the lift is shown to be 5.3 percentage points, reports DISQO.

Generalized models based on overall platform overlap or common demographic overlaps won’t deliver accurate campaign results. In order to get accurate lift and effective advertising measurement, marketers should use a single-source panel that calculates the exact overlaps in exposure for each individual campaign and sees all consumer activity.

For marketers to eliminate mutant control, consumers must willingly share zero-party data using passive technologies so that ad exposure is tracked to the same individual across every site they visit. Only when marketers utilize a single-source panel solution to cross-platform ad measurement will they gain confidence in insights, future-proof identification without the need for cookies or other ID proxies, natural assessment and reduced workload.