Getting the Most from Your Media Buy Means Improving Metrics

By More Thought Leaders Archives

In December, The New York Times reported ongoing shifts in media buying by some of the world's largest advertisers. According to the Times, analysts and agencies estimate the amount of advertising spending under review this year at about $30 billion.

In the article Procter & Gamble's Global Brand Officer Marc Pritchard explained changes in his company's media buying by saying, "The entire ecosystem of media and advertising is transforming. We still want to get mass reach, but we want to be able to do it with a greater degree of precision."

This is only the latest example of a growing trend among advertisers who are leveraging data and technology to accomplish their advertising goals more effectively. And more effective media will drive continued growth for the ecosystem. In fact, total media advertising spend is expected climb to $719 billion worldwide by 2019, with TV and digital driving the growth, making up 75% of the spend. 

No doubt improved metrics are a key component of this trend. After all, it's impossible to know the true value of a media spend and justify increased budgets without getting an accurate view of results. Knowing whether or not a message is being amplified by selected channels, and that it's making a connection with target consumers, is a key insight for changes that can result in the most bang for the buck. 

Unfortunately most metrics are not set up around asking those questions. But just as technology and data have created new opportunities for targeting within mass reach, the right systems can also provide better measurement of the output of that reach. 

Measuring With Social Data

As advertising becomes more focused on reducing waste and ensuring brand messages drive impact, advertisers must make the most of their spend by including consumers across all stages of the purchase journey. Advertisers are already well-versed in capturing consumers during the ultimate stage of the purchase journey by using metrics tied directly to purchase. But optimizing advertising initiatives based on metrics drawn only from the end of the funnel means neglecting consumers at other stages in the journey. There is simply too much obsession over the 2% of people who convert and how to squeeze out another tenth of one percent from that group. Instead marketers should be obsessing about the other 98 percent and how to ensure they are being effectively reached with brand messaging and engaged through the funnel.

Indeed, to get the most from their media buy, advertisers must find ways to measure their media value at all stages. This is especially true for products with long purchase cycles. For example, connecting monthly TV spend to sales for BMW has only marginal value since a consumer's preference for a brand like BMW was built over a much longer timeframe. Brand preference isn't driven by end of funnel metrics.

The insights provided by social data have many applications for quantifying media impact. Social data can measure creative performance -- determine if certain creative assets drive more response -- discover the most effective media placements and identify geographies and timeslots generating the highest consumer interest. Through social data, brands across the spectrum can gain insights into the effectiveness of their media spend.

Standardizing metrics is also key to maximizing media value. By looking at KPIs beyond just reach and frequency during a major sporting event last year, we found official brand partners were 71% more likely to generate engagements from the event audience than non-advertisers. Brands were able to take that information, benchmark themselves against other sponsors and identify optimizations.

These insights are also powerful for media planning. A study across the fall lineups of several broadcast networks showed that one network outperformed its competition in the automotive category. Engagement lift on one network was 156% higher for Domestic Autos and 142% higher for Foreign Autos than the next best networks. Being armed with this information enables an automotive advertiser to make a smarter decision and achieve greater impact for a comparable price.

Social data provides insights throughout the marketing funnel from awareness to consideration, all the way to response. This advanced measurement can give marketers a full understanding of the impact of their media, enabling them to more effectively and efficiently drive consumers from one stage to the next through their media, and that's more valuable than a quick buck.

Image at top courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage/MyersBizNet management or associated bloggers.

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