We are at such an exciting moment in media. There have never been more touchpoints or opportunities to reach our audiences. People have never been more connected, almost always in front of at least one screen, big or small. We also have more access to data than ever. Unfortunately, more data doesn't necessarily equate to more insights or greater effectiveness.
In the world of media performance benchmarking, we have historically relied on panel-based data and cost pools to determine the value of a media buy. When 90% of an advertiser's budget was in linear TV, and most of the budget was executed in the Upfront, it was easy to determine like-for-like through a mix of similar target, programming and buy type.
However, as media has become more fragmented, such like-for-like comparisons are harder to find. A recent report by Effectv showed that the average household watched 30 different networks in 1H 2021, and there were 304 different "most-watched" networks across the Comcast HHs in 1H 2021. Even the top-five networks only accounted for 31% of all viewing. Quite a change from the days when a single show could bring in that share of audience.
Over the past year, the pace of change has only accelerated. According to eMarketer, U.S. Upfront CTV ad spend grew by 49.5% in 2021 to $4.51 billion and shows no signs of slowing down. Streaming and digital video are also growing at a rapid rate, further shifting spend away from traditional linear TV.
These changes have prompted our clients and their agency partners to ask some common questions:
Managing the Change
Great life advice is not to compare ourselves to others. Increasingly, media auditing needs to follow that same path. Does a runner win a race by focusing on the world record, or by starting with their own personal record and incrementally taking steps to improve? Focusing on the competition leads to excuses and rationalization. Focusing on oneself drives growth and development. As a runner develops a training and nutrition plan, so a performance program needs to be tailored to the client.
Getting that process right requires that the whole team addresses three key areas:
Collaboration: Where do we want to go? Collaboration ensures that all parties are on the same path.
Measures: There is no such thing as "one size fits all," so creating a KPI performance framework bespoke to a client objective means that measurement is meaningful. With meaningful measurement, improvement opportunities stick.
Optimization: As more media is bought in new and different ways, and as biddable media becomes more prevalent, benchmarking performance against a panel or pool becomes less relevant. Focusing on the criteria and measures most important to the individual client will drive incremental improvement and implementation.
The way to move forward is not by leaning on outdated ways of measurement, but by building something new for the data age. By focusing on optimization, we're ready to address any changes that come about during that process.
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The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet.