Mar 10, 2023

Principle 5: Origin and Lifetime Performance

*This is the fifth post in a series of blog posts about digital organizing and data management best practices using Frakture.

Principle 1: The Value of a Data Warehouse

Principle 2: The Fundamentals of Messaging & Attribution

Principle 3: The Importance of Donor and Transaction Analytics

Principle 4: The Power of Structured Source Codes

Tracking your message performance can improve your short term performance …. but successful organizations don’t just look at short term goals, they also track the long term performance of their list.

Any digital campaigner worth their salt has questions always on their mind: Are we thinking strategically? What can we do to grow our audience? Are the tactics we’re implementing working or not? At a basic level, message level reporting - which we’ve already covered - will tell you. You can see which emails and ads performed well, but what if we want to know more about the people behind all those numbers?

To understand your audience, we need to look at where they’re ultimately coming from. How do we do this? We track which and how many people we acquire from each source (e.g. digital acquisition ads, list swaps, email forwards), and look at how much they’re donating over time. The trick here is that instead of reporting on the performance of a message (i.e. an email or digital ad), we’re reporting on the total amount that individuals have donated, regardless of which channel they used to make that donation.

Acquisition to Origin Source: A Love Story

Let’s run through an example: say we run an acquisition ad campaign targeting 100,000 people who are not currently on our list. Say we get 10,000 (10%) of those people to sign up for our emails. Over the next six months, we onboard them and start sending them donation and advocacy solicitation messages. Because these people are eventually blended with our other supporter groups, looking at the performance of individual messages isn’t going to tell us whether this acquisition ad campaign generated any donations or not. Since we spent $X on that campaign, we’d very much like to know if we made our money back or if we need to course correct next time.

A lot of CRMs don’t do a good job reporting on this. In an ideal world, they would track the first source code associated with a new supporter (the origin source code) and break it down for you. However, in our experience, this doesn’t happen often. Some CRMs simply don’t offer this type of reporting. Others do, but bury the reports deep in their interface, or make it difficult to audit the supporter lists. We have even encountered instances where origin codes that should be there were missing or overwritten due to bugs or design oversights in the platforms themselves.

The bottom line is that in our sector, origin reporting is much harder than it should be. Fortunately, Frakture has a solution.

Frakture: Fixing the Gaps in Organizing Tech

Once you’re set up on Frakture, our bots will retrieve all the person records from your CRM and import them into your data warehouse. This includes any origin source information we’re able to get. But wait, didn’t we just say that the CRM can’t always be trusted to provide reliable origin source data? As Han Solo famously said, this is where the fun begins.

While we can use origin source data from your CRM, the Frakture origin reporting system can also assign an origin source code as an override (see our blog post on Structured Source Coding). This means that you can assign a list of people to a particular origin source code without touching your CRM or altering any data therein. How does this work in practice? You upload your acquisition list to Google Drive with a source code, and our DriveBot handles the rest.

For many of our clients, this has revolutionized their ability to calculate value, not just short term performance. Prior to Frakture, if lifetime value was tracked at all, it was a tedious, manual process; pulling spreadsheets from donation platforms, writing SQL code or running pivot tables in Excel in order to get an answer for one acquisition. A single snapshot that will be out of date by the time your stakeholders see it.

Frakture’s approach has several advantages:

  • It’s automated. Once the report is set up and the list uploaded, you never need to touch it again.

  • It’s evergreen. Check it today, tomorrow, next week - it doesn’t matter. You’ll always have fresh data.

  • It’s portable. Change CRMs? No worries - all your acquisition overrides are still there.

Deeper Dives into Origin Source

This is only scratching the surface. Our clients who have been using this origin reporting system for a year or more have access to a wealth of knowledge about which acquisition sources perform best for them. They use Frakture’s origin reports to calculate long-term ROI by source or by platform, learning through experience which deliver the best results for advocacy actions, donations, or whatever goal they need to accomplish.

More than anything we’ve covered up to this point, our origin reporting system demonstrates how Frakture lets you leverage the power of Big Data™ to generate insights that would be impractical if not impossible just using your CRM.

In our next onboarding post, we’re going back to the basics to look at how to manage cross-channel reporting by adding data on text/SMS campaigns, organic social, and events from other platforms. Don’t miss it!

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