Media Ecosystem: It Only Works if Everybody Wins, Part 2

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: Media Ecosystem:  It Only Works if Everybody Wins, Part 2

Previously I talked about how value exchange innovation can make for a winning proposition for consumers, marketers and media companies.  Another big media challenge -- measurement -- demands a similar value-driven, common-sense approach.  For a long time now, advertisers and agencies have been drowning in digital campaign metrics -- total impressions, viewable impressions, audience reach, in-demo performance, clicks.  Of course, none of those metrics actually say how much impact you are delivering and wherein the brand funnel performance is occurring (or in English: “Did the ad work?”).

The good news is that in recent years there has been a move towards proving value.  However, most of that effort has been put into attribution -- measuring what media caused a consumer to make a purchase.  Though a worthy goal, attribution has its challenges and limits.  In today’s world, where campaigns have so many consumer touchpoints, it is very difficult to accurately track and weigh the relative contribution of each touchpoint on the consumer's path to purchase.  Most egregious is when the last-click -- often paid search -- receives sole credit for driving the conversion.

But distributing credit for a sale isn’t the only issue.  Advertising should eventually lead to sales -- but not necessarily right away.  You are not always in the market for a car, but that doesn’t mean that the advertising you see when you aren’t ready to purchase doesn’t have value.  The whole point of building a strong brand is to make sure it comes to mind when a consumer is ready to buy.  How do we solve for this?  By measuring what’s missing from the equation: brand lift.

Brand lift is the leading indicator and a complement to attribution.  It measures how a consumer is moving down the funnel from awareness to purchase and demonstrates a campaign’s effectiveness in building future sales.  Historically, brand lift studies have been costly, slow to yield results and very limited in scale.  You need a control group, unexposed to a campaign, and an experimental group that has been exposed.  Then you need to measure the movement through the purchase funnel of the experimental group versus the control.  Finally, you need enough respondents for the survey to have valid results, and since people aren’t eager to take surveys you have to do a lot of asking to get a large enough sample.

Here is where value exchange can help again. 

By offering viewers a lower ad load in exchange for a one question survey response, we have proven we can dramatically increase response rates and substantially reduce the costs of measuring brand lift.

By utilizing value exchange, true[X] measures brand lift across platforms and in real-time on literally every campaign.  We are doing this right now and have already measured brand lift for well over two thousand campaigns.

Once you can measure it in real-time, you can optimize -- delivering the right ads to the right people at the right time.  The scale at which we are collecting brand lift data has allowed us to use machine-learning models to intelligently steer ad delivery and maximize brand funnel KPIs.  IPG Media Lab found that by using our technology, campaigns deliver more impact with less frequency than with traditional planning.

Optimizing for brand lift in real-time is a win for all parties.  It benefits consumers by reducing ad frequency, it benefits publishers by improving ad relevance and it benefits advertisers by delivering more value for their money throughout the funnel.

The health of the industry requires effective and scaled innovation that benefits all parties. Innovation that only benefits one party cannot create the magnitude or pace of change the industry needs.  Innovation that’s shiny and new but doesn’t offer value to all parties cannot be sustained no matter how cool the experience or underlying technology.  We see value exchange as the path forward for some of the thorniest problems facing media and marketers today.  This type of common-sense approach to rebalancing the way we capture, measure, monetize and trade on human attention is where we see the future and where the industry should invest.  A fair value exchange is how ad-supported media can better compete with ad-free products like Netflix.  Our experience shows that there can be a bright future for ad-supported media if everybody wins.

Photo credit: Gaelle Marcel / Unsplash

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