While half my working week is spent measuring digital, the other half is spent measuring offline media. Learn more JICMAIL: the media planning currency for Direct Mail and Door Drops. For more info visit www.jicmail.org.uk
Running your own consultancy is fun when you win business, and less fun when you don’t. Although with a seven-month old at home, the latter can sometimes be a blessing in disguise when you’ve overbooked yourself. Of course, losing the odd pitch or two is all part of the independent consultancy life and not something you should lose too much sleep over. One recent loss in particular has rankled however, if only because it really highlights the same old issues with the measurement of digital ad effectives that a vocal minority have been banging on about for what seems like years now:
- The issues of non-transparent / independent measurement
- A continued obsession with basic behavioural metrics that tell us nothing of real-world impact
- And a focus on measuring short term outcomes rather than long term impact
To cut a long story short, a content creation agency included as part of their pitch to a global advertiser, an overview of how I / Data Stories Consulting would provide some independent market research and analytics to report on campaign effectiveness. Although part of the agency pitch, my contact would have been directly with the client and results would have bypassed any agency filter – i.e. they would have been genuinely independent.
I was delighted for the agency when their pitch won – it was well deserved, but not least because it gave me a new interesting project to sink my teeth in to. It was rather depressing therefore, to be told a couple of weeks later that the advertiser has suddenly decided that they’d like their social agency to handle all campaign measurement. It was no fault of my content agency contacts at all, but rather a reflection of the advertiser’s attitude that social was all.
As means of distribution of course social is vital, but as a means of total campaign effectiveness measurement? I doubt it. As Keller Fay tells us, 90% of brand conversations happen offline. Quite how some social listening tools that are inevitably going to report on the usual spread of clicks, likes and shares are going to report on offline conversations, or even report on total campaign brand impact and long term ROI I don’t know.
I’ve been working with numerous brands and agencies over the past few years to help them better understand how to measure the impact of digital (summary: just like you measure the impact of offline! …kind of), and have produced measurement frameworks like the below to do just that. It’s a straw man and needs adapting for specific client needs, but it’s a useful starting point:
It’s hard not to sounds like a stuck record sometimes, but there’s a reason why the IAB had to launch a national “Don’t be a Clickhead” campaign earlier this year. Clicks, likes and shares might be useful metrics to optimise campaign delivery on, but as a measures of true campaign impact they are virtually meaningless.
Measurement isn’t easy of course, and I hear plenty of excuses as to why it’s not being done properly:
- We get CTR data in real time. How are we supposed to optimise media and creative on brand impact when survey results aren’t available for weeks after a campaign has closed? My usual answer: There are plenty of research vendors who offer real time brand uplift reporting now, enabling you to optimise performance on something far more closely related to real world impact. Attention is also a behavioural metric with some meaning – and there are plenty of scalable measurement options in this space too.
- Measuring brand and sales uplift properly is expensive! Sometimes it is for sure, but arguably a campaign which devotes 5-10% of its budget to measurement rather than media/reach is going to generate far more strategically important learnings for the business in the long run.
- We can’t link to any real world sales data: Again, there are big research and data vendors in this space who would say otherwise. Where sales data isn’t directly available, then there are a world of useful proxies you can lean on instead: for example, efficiency scores which allow you to assess the cost of each incremental purchase intender, or the use of geo-location data to look at store footfall uplifts.
The much publicised Ebiquity and Radiocentre Re-Evaluating Media report last year showed us the huge disparity between perception and reality when it comes to providing independent third party measurement. For example, agencies and brands rank digital video top for transparent measurement, whereas the evidence suggests that quite the opposite is true:
It’s one data point, but it certainly gives a hint as to why we must continue to bang the drum when it comes to reporting on digital impact properly. It’s difficult (sometimes), but that’s no excuse for not giving it a go. If you only get half way there you’re going to be doing your business many more favours than if you just regress to what’s easiest!
Founded by Ian Gibbs, Data Stories is an independent data consultancy focused on all things digital, advertising, media and publishing related. Drawing on over fifteen years of experience in market research, data analytics, digital advertising and strategic planning, Data Stories employs a broad data-driven skill set to help clients solve their business problems. Find out what clients have said about Data Stories here.
An overview of the key consumer trends and market dynamics that will shape the news and digital publishing industry this year. Produced by Data Stories for the Guardian in January 2019.
The Colab Revenue Operations Barometer has launched! Produced in collaboration with CoLab Consulting, this study of rev ops professionals from over fifty leading publishers is essential reading for media owners and ad tech vendors alike.
Key business issues and priorities for Rev Ops Leaders and Laggards are covered in depth, along with insight in to how ad tech vendors should position their solutions for different segments of the publisher market.
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JICMAIL’s new interactive data tool – JICMAIL Discovery – has launched today, making our award winning DM and Door Drop planning data more readily accessible to users. To find out more, have a play with the system here and let me know what you think!
I’m delighted to announce that three client projects have been recognised with industry honours this year. Each one has been a pleasure to work on. If you’d like to learn more about how Data Stories can help harness award winning research for your business then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
This article was first published on ondeviceresearch.com. On Device Research are a mobile surveying and digital ad effectiveness research company with whom I work in my capacity as an independent data consultant. To find out more about On Device please get in touch.
On Device Research has today released findings from its social media effectiveness measurement solution that reveal the optimal video ad exposure time on social platforms is three to four seconds: a time frame in which both Brand Consideration and Purchase Intent are maximised, increasing by +4% and +6% respectively.
“Obviously we stopped wasting money on 30-second ads, and we’re designing ads to work in two seconds.”
Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G
It was little over a year ago that Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of the world’s biggest advertiser, made a rallying cry at DMEXCO for the digital ad industry to create the next generation of video ads. Citing the fact that only 20% of video ads are viewed for longer than two seconds, the need to drive brand impact in an ever shorter time frame in a medium where consumer attention is scarce, is more important than ever.
One year on, and having tested several video ads running in social platforms across 3,000 survey responses, On Device Research has seen a trend develop that highlights that while video ads in social environments can indeed have impact after just one to two seconds of viewing time, optimum brand impact is seen at just three to four seconds. At the three to four second mark, a +4% increase in brand consideration and a +6% increases in purchase intent has been recorded on average.
While previous industry research (such as this 2016 study) points to shorter video ads having an impact on smartphone, perceptions around the definition of “short” will increasingly fall in line with Marc Pritchard’s two-second claim if the trend seen in On Device’s data continues.
It’s clear from the ads tested, that creative design is catching up with the reality around the attention consumers have for online video ads. With On Device Research’s Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness revealing that four fifths of consumers always or very often skip through video ads in social platforms, the importance of having immediate impact is again highlighted. Early and prominent branding and product shots are both commonalities of successful social video ads.
The debate around the role of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in the marketing mix, continues to rage on, as highlighted by the recent high profile disagreements between Mark Ritson and Gary Vaynerchuk. Either way, what is clear is that social video can drive brand impact throughout the branding funnel and that the time we spend with ads matters more than ever in terms of maximising impact.