Across digital marketing, customer journeys are lengthening, and brands need to be present longer and in more ways to break through and win new customers. For luxury and fashion brands, this is especially true. And that complexity makes life harder on marketers for everything from measuring and optimizing the performance of their ads to recruiting support from executive leadership for budgets and new initiatives.

So how do the most digitally innovative luxury retailers handle those challenges to figure out what drives revenue growth? That’s what we explored on episode 11 of our S4 Capital friends’ Live with MightyHive, featuring peer-to-peer luxury and fashion marketplace Tradesy. As a digitally native retailer, Tradesy is setting the bar for how luxury brands themselves can prepare for a more digital-first marketing approach post-pandemic.

In the session, Tradesy touched on topics from coping with cookie and ad tracking loss, to balancing discounts with brand image, to strategies for attracting and using first-party audience data. They also fielded audience questions on measuring the impact of top-of-funnel advertising and how they do incrementality testing to unlock the full value of their ad spending.

With such a long path to purchase, Riaan Ahmed, Chief Growth Officer at Tradesy warns that when luxury brands focus too much on the bottom of the funnel and direct-return metrics, “You create a transactional relationship with your customer.” And that has an impact that goes far beyond how you measure your ads, bleeding over into brand perception.

“Since I’m so deep in data, I also understand its limitations,” says Ahmed. “There’s always a push-and-pull between how much you need to listen to the numbers, and how much you need to listen to your own intuition.” How successfully you can do that relies heavily on buy-in from the top, which requires looking at your data in new ways.

When presenting results, make sure you’re not presenting them in a way that loses sight of the role each initiative plays in the customer journey. “One of the core value propositions of the funnel is that it helps us see how different tactics should be associated with different forms of measurement,” says Adam Edwards, Metric Theory Chief Client Officer. That means communicating how goals differ between ad channels like display, social, and search, and reporting on how well they’re doing their specific jobs, rather than comparing their respective ROI.

And that approach is compounded by the loss of ROI insight thanks to the compounding privacy changes of Apple, Google, and regulation. For that, “Taking stock of where you are right now before things start to change more rapidly” is important, says Edwards. “Understand the data that you have now and create some projections of what we expect to see,” so that you can prepare your leadership for the changes ahead. Drawing from his experience with Tradesy, Ahmed says, “Start thinking about leading indicator KPIs before purchase, and the other is to do a lot of incrementality testing.”

Get more specific guidance on ad measurement and preparing for a privacy-centric ad future in this episode of Live with MightyHive, and access all past and future episodes by subscribing.