Launching the DMA Intelligent Marketing Databank

The DMA Intelligent Marketing Databank is coming! This is a very exciting collaboration between Data Stories Consulting and the DMA, harnessing campaign effectiveness insight from over 850 DMA award entries.
Join us for our launch event on the 21st July as we give an honest assessment on how the industry measures campaign impact; reveal the scale of the pandemic effectiveness boom; and offer insight in to the key drivers of campaign effectiveness over the last four years.

Sign up to the launch webinar here.

You can plan it, but can you measure it?

In 24 hours time I’ll be hosting a measurement panel debate with these very clever people for Facebook Select: Facebook’s key trade engagement program attended by over 150 senior agency and advertiser clients. Very much looking forward to hearing what Jennie Roper, Shazia Ginai, Georgia Protopapa and Nicolas Arrive have to say!

The Drivers of Brand Effectiveness

As always, I’ve enjoyed being given the keys to On Device Research‘s ever expanding ad effectiveness database once again. In a major new study analysing over 550 campaigns we’ve been able to shine a light on the top three media planning drivers of brand effectivenes. Video is up there, as are multi-channel campaigns… but there’s good news for premium publishers too, whose rates probably don’t reflect the massive impact they can have on brand building KPIs.

The full report – Planning for Brand Effectiveness – can be downloaded here:

The life of Mail in lockdown…

As JICMAIL’s Director of Data Leadership it’s been fascinating to study what effect lockdown has had on the nation’s mail interaction rates. It’s been a positive double-whammy for advertisers who have stayed active with Direct Mail and Door Drops in Q2 2020: increased ad impression delivery through increased interaction, plus a higher share of of the door mat.

Find out more here.

Get control of your video asset workflow

Hot off the press – a great new whitepaper that we’ve produced in conjunction with CoLab for our client Peach. We asked a whole host of top media agencies how they manage their video assets. Spoiler: it’s like 1995 out there. Download the whitepaper here and get in touch if you think we can help produce a similarly insightful piece of thought leadership for you business.

Working from home? Ad mail always has been

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This article first appeared in Mediatel in April 2020.

Much has been written about the role of media and advertising in helping brands respond to the current global health crisis. Our Linkedin news feeds are awash with debate about appropriate tone of voice; the value of advertising through a recession; and spirited defences of a brand’s right to give a hard sell if it means keeping their heads above water.

One thing that is also abundantly clear from my Linkedin news feed is that people are also taking great pride in showing off their new working-from-home set-ups – complete with strategically positioned company stationery, RSI inducing re-purposed household furniture, cats, children and any other work-avoidance techniques you care to name.

The new working-from-dynamic is likely to change the way we think about the relationship between our place of work and our homes for evermore, with the already blurring boundaries between the two converging even further in a haze of 5G connectivity and increasingly liberal employer attitudes.

At the same time, the way in which we think about our media plans is likely to undergo a similar transformation, with those channels that have the ability to deliver targeted messages directly into people’s home throughout the working day opening up a wealth of new commercial opportunity.

There has been a much-reported rise in TV and Radio consumption since the onset of COVID-19, but there is one channel that delivers huge levels of audience interaction in the home and often gets overlooked in above-the-line planning conversations.

At JICMAIL (the joint industry planning currency for direct mail and door drops) we already know that mail gets shared around in the home and is interacted with frequently throughout the month (4.2 times for the typical direct mail piece and 2.8 for a door drop).

However, things get really interesting when we start to drill down to specific audience segments. According to a fusion of TGI and JICMAIL data from 2019, those who use the internet to work from home show above average interaction rates with both direct mail (4.3 times a month per mail item) and door drops (3.1 times a month).

Mail: the interactive media

These interactions can vary greatly, but they can take the form of a whole host of engagements, with 71% of all direct mail being opened, 26% put aside to look at later, and 31% driving some sort of commercial outcome for a brand (such as driving web traffic, a store visit, a specific product purchase or word of mouth).

At a time of national crisis, these figures are even higher for government and medical mail, with open rates as high as 80% and over half of mail still not thrown away after a month. Mail has staying power and the impact of its exposure is measured in days and weeks, not seconds or fractions of seconds.

This is all very easy for me to say of course, without a marketing budget of my own to scrutinise in these uncertain times. Mail has impact, but isn’t it expensive?

The answer is a demonstrable “no” when viewing the mail channel through the multi-channel planning lens provided by the IPA TouchPoints survey, while paying attention to the increasingly lost art of effective frequency planning (this point is also of crucial importance to ISBA’s current agenda to reduce excessive frequency and improve consumers’ perceptions of advertising).

Multi-channel planning efficiencies and mail

Take the example below. A medium-weight campaign targeting people who work from home five days a week across TV, social and radio will reach about 94% of the target audience for £2.5million.

If you redeploy just over a quarter of that spend to target households and people working from home with door drops and direct mail, you can achieve a modest 4% increase in reach but at the same time CPMs (cost per thousand ad impressions) increase 7%. On the face of it, not much of an efficiency gain…


The true impact of mail shines through when considering effective frequency however. Different brands will have different views on what exposure levels are most appropriate for their products and audiences and there are a multitude of factors which help planners decide on how to balance under-exposure (and therefore limited campaign cut through) with over-exposure (and therefore wasted ad budget and higher levels of consumer irritation).

Either way, mail occupies a frequency sweet spot where exposure is dictated by the consumer, not by an ad server. With our previous example, we can see that the volume of impressions delivered in the four to eight frequency range has increased 16%, while CPMs at this effective frequency level have declined by 16%.

In other words, significant double-digit campaign efficiencies are achieved at the frequency level that matters most to the brand while reducing wasteful and excessive exposure.

It should be noted that the audience definitions used predate the onset of COVID-19, and with a far greater proportion of the population now working from home, the actual effective frequency CPMs are likely to be much lower than the outputs of this analysis. The impact of mail’s inclusion however will remain the same.


Marketing budgets are about to come under more scrutiny than ever before. Maximising campaign efficiencies on a CPM basis while retaining impact is crucial and the household and individually targeted nature of door drops and direct mail respectively point towards an increasingly important role for mail in the multi-channel mix.

Whether you’re a broadband provider looking to target consumers while they struggle with bandwidth issues on their daily zoom call; or an entertainment brand helping consumers decide what TV and VOD packages to fill their time with; or a finance brand helping households navigate these difficult times, mail can cost-effectively work from home for you.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get hold of JICMAIL data, how to perform this type of analysis in IPA TouchPoints, or have questions about the methodology and rates used in this analysis then please contact

JICMAIL issues econometric challenge to the measurement industry


The JICMAIL econometrics whitepaper is out now. Co-authored with renowned econometrician Louise Cooke, the paper covers four key principles for harnessing the power of JICMAIL data in the Marketing Mix Modelling process.

The guidelines issued in the paper entitled Best Practice Econometrics: Harnessing the Power of JICMAIL to Measure the True Effects of Mail were drawn up as a result of an industry roundtable event attended by ISBA, the IPA, Royal Mail, Sky, British Gas, PWC, Mediacom, Brightblue Consulting, Holmes and Cook and JICMAIL in October 2019.

You can download a copy from Mediatel today.