15 Nov 2022
Marketing | 7 min read

Rockerbox Reporting vs. In-Platform Reporting—What You Need to Know

Written by Hillary Walters
on November 15, 2022

Modern DTC and digital brands need accurate data to measure and grow their marketing efforts. That’s why in-platform data and reporting exists…right? Well, maybe.

Here’s what we know. In-platform reporting (in many cases), provides limited visibility and scope about the entire customer conversion journey. Relying on a platform’s data exclusively is like looking at your marketing mix with blinders on—you might be able to see what that platform wants you to know about performance on a particular channel, but how does that fit into the bigger picture? How does that limited scope help you meet growth goals, prove return on ad spend (ROAS), and get an accurate view of your customer journey?

If you’re curious about the same things we are, then this post is for you. Here, we’ll spend some time comparing Rockerbox reporting to in-platform reporting and show you specific solutions and use cases for fully optimizing your conversion funnel.

What Does Rockerbox Solve For?

One of our major goals here at Rockerbox is to help you build your foundational data set. And it’s that very data set that serves as the key to understanding why Rockerbox performance is different from in-platform data.

For each user, Rockerbox tracks the full path of marketing touchpoints before they convert. Each touchpoint then receives a unique credit based on its impact in driving the user to convert. This enables you to understand the true efficiency of each channel.

By contrast, the siloed, in-platform view from each vendor (i.e. facebook, google) will take full credit for every user that had a touchpoint.

  • Rockerbox’s holistic approach to marketing measurement involves:
  • Capturing the full path to conversion
  • Unlocking deduplicated CPA and ROAS
  • Providing baseline performance and the ability to test the impact of new channels and campaigns

Tracking All Marketing Touchpoints

Unlike individual platforms that only report on their own data, Rockerbox tracks all of your marketing touchpoints, including digital, offline, paid, and organic.

Even in the instance of a walled garden like Facebook, where views aren’t shared with 3rd parties, we’ve found solutions to increase visibility. For Facebook, we created a probabilistic modeling approach that leverages data from both Facebook and our platform to determine the likely amount of conversions influenced by views. This enables you to understand the impact of Facebook in driving users to convert, from a view and click perspective.

>> Discover: Our Approach to Measuring Facebook <<

Capturing All Points in the Conversion Funnel

Well-informed marketers rely on data to make smarter testing and spending decisions. That’s precisely where Rockerbox delivers when compared to in-platform metrics only. Rockerbox captures all sales and conversion activities, ensuring alignment to a single source of truth.

Additionally, Rockerbox continually reconciles the number of purchases that are in Rockerbox against a brand’s source of truth. Platforms like Facebook are only going to track what that platform alone is responsible for—not taking everything into account and reconciling against the truth.

Rockerbox captures conversion data across:

  • Online
  • In-app
  • Server-side offline events
  • Owned retail
  • Call center or customer service

Plus, as part of each brand’s onboarding process, we make sure that we have your brand’s source of truth (in terms of sales), so that we can accurately reconcile against that on a nightly basis. This builds a holistic view of the major activities that are driving conversions and revenue. Once your total number of purchases in Rockerbox is aligned, then you can layer on different methodologies to further clarify important budgeting and performance questions.

Rockerbox vs. In-Platform Performance

Here’s what it all comes down to—deduplication. While we’ll unpack this in more detail as we go, the important thing to note is that platforms aren’t going to deduplicate your campaign and performance data for you. Instead, they’ll report on what they’re responsible for and call it a day.

Unfortunately, this is an oversimplification that leaves plenty of questions unanswered. For instance, what touchpoints did your customers encounter across other channels before converting, and how does that information play a role in shaping your testing, spending, and creating?

Let’s Talk Deduplication—What is It?

Through the tracking applied to each of your marketing channels, we build out the path to conversion by reconciling all marketing touchpoints back to a known sale on a per-user basis. Then, based on the attribution model that you have applied in Rockerbox, that credit is distributed accordingly.

This process is in stark contrast to any in-platform approach, which is based on only seeing the platform’s own data. That’s not exactly a flaw—it’s just what those platform analytics were designed to do.

Let’s break it down with a practical scenario. If you had 100 sales, Facebook might take credit for 40 of those conversions, while several other platforms also claim many more. By the time you add everything up, your total number of sales is likely going to be much higher than the original number of sales (100) that you started with. As a marketer, that makes your job much harder. Rockerbox distributes credit among channels accordingly so that your conversion numbers match your actual sales.

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Create a User-Level Path to Conversion

The path to conversion rarely looks like a simple straight line. And while there are some conversions that truly happen with a single touchpoint, that’s not the case for most typical transactions or sales. Rockerbox peels back the layers so that one platform can’t take all of the credit for the journey your buyers are on. This happens in a few steps.

Step 1: Connect all marketing touchpoints for a unique user, incorporating online, offline, view, click-based, organic, paid touchpoints

Step 2: De-duplicate and reconcile back to source of truth of sales on a per user basis

Then credit is assigned to each touchpoint based on the attribution type you have selected. As part of the custom multi-touch model Rockerbox builds, fractional credit is assigned to each touchpoint based on the impact that touchpoint had in driving someone to convert.

Leveraging Views in Rockerbox

Rather than switching between multiple platforms to view metrics, Rockerbox helps you save time and effort and still glean valuable insights about campaign performance and customer conversion by centralizing all your marketing data in one platform with multiple helpful views. We’ll walk through a few of the main Rockerbox views below.

Platform Reported Performance

The Platform-Reported Performance View has performance reporting directly from specific vendors, which enables users to see in-platform performance without leaving Rockerbox.

Platform-Reported Performance is based on conversions that are credited within each advertising platform. Each platform will credit itself for driving a conversion if it played any role in driving the conversion.

You can see platform-reported performance from the following platforms directly in Rockerbox, without having to switch back and forth between Rockerbox and the platform.

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Bing
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

First Party Attributed Performance

The First Party Attributed Performance view allows you to compare platform-reported performance (i.e., Facebook and TikTok) to first-party attributed performance (via Rockerbox reporting). In this view, you can see Rockerbox's tracked conversions attributed to the channel and then deduplicated based on the attribution type selected.

Tactical Optimizations

How can you truly capitalize on deduplication for your DTC brand?

Using the digital advertising comparison view allows you to see which campaigns are both your in-platform target CPA/ROAS and your de-duplicated target CPA/ROAS.

To overcome platform limitations, Rockerbox deduplicates conversions based on various attribution types to ensure only that only conversion is counted per order. You can act on this variance in the following ways.

  • If performance is poor in Rockerbox or is not hitting your deduplicated performance benchmarks, also consider if the placement is hitting your in-platform benchmark
  • If not, there may be an opportunity to decrease bids or budget.

If you have an underperforming campaign (including the specific ad set or creative), double-check in Rockerbox with a longer lookback window. This helps you consider whether to run tests a bit longer to see if performance improves, especially if you are close to hitting your Rockerbox target.

Don’t forget—reporting in Rockerbox is not a reason to avoid making in-platform optimizations directly, such as making direct tweaks within a tool like Facebook Ads Manager. This is still important when it comes to taking an active role in your advertising performance.

>> Guide: Comparing Platform-Reported Performance to Rockerbox De-duplicated Performance <<

Solving for True Performance of Upper Funnel Tactics

Platforms often apply a more limited lookback window in their attribution reporting due to the shorter lifespan of the platform's cookies. This can result in lost visibility to the true performance for top-of-funnel channels, in which the user's average time to convert is longer than what the platform can feasibly track.

The Rockerbox solution for this is straightforward. In many cases, users can apply a broader lookback window, enabled by our use of Rockerbox first-party cookies. This allows you to see conversions on top-of-funnel activity when users have a longer path to conversion.

  • If there are variances, here are a few best practices to consider.
  • If Rockerbox first-party performance is stronger than in-platform reporting, consider scaling the channel for a specific time period.

It's likely performing stronger than it is being credited for within the in-platform reporting.

Get More from Your Data with Rockerbox

At Rockerbox, we know that brands want truth, consistency, and accuracy. Although in-platform provides a glimpse of those metrics, the scope is limited. To drive efficiency both within and across channels, you need to leverage a de-duplicated CPA/ROAS. As this unlocks the ability to understand how channels perform in relation to the rest of your marketing mix, versus looking at performance in a silo.

Rockerbox helps you move beyond in-platform metrics and use specific reporting views to make the most of your conversion data. Join hundreds of digital-first customers, and start getting more from your conversion data today.

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