The annual ARF Measurement Conference is an event at which researchers from across the media spectrum can gather, present and exchange their groundbreaking insights. Every year one can readily walk away with a fuller understanding of the ongoing challenges our industry faces and some actionable insights to help overcome them. And yet, this year was a little different because in addition to much talk about data the hot topics included the measuring of the creative, the sequencing of ad messages across platforms and the application of neuroscience standards.
As with predicting the path of any changing environment, I came away with more questions.
Demos Targets are So Yesterday ... Or are They?
Instead of relying on demographic targets, why not use People Based Targeting segmentations? Simulmedia Founder and CEO Dave Morgan posed a provocative question and call to action: "Why are we sticking to inherently wrong protocols? We have to press the industry to do better." Morgan then asked, "Have we started to make change?"
"I think we are," replied David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President of CBS VISION. He believes there is progress but it is slow. "Look at the past year," he continued. "There has been more progress in past 12 months than in the past 12 years. But we are not at the implementation stage yet. Advertisers are more comfortable about it than the agencies. It requires more manpower and systems need to change. This Upfront people are doing the analysis and the learning and informing their buying. But the marketplace is still transacting on traditional data. The market is still demographically driven."
Could Reach Become the Measurement Standard?
If we start to move from age and gender proxy metrics, is there a way to either standardize segments or offer another standardize-able measurement? I believe that it will be very difficult to agree on standard segments which may even defeat the purpose of segmented targeting to one's niche and unique consumer target. So agreeing on another, more standardize-able metric might be the solution. One suggestion was reach -- possibly Average Daily Reach which takes into account recency. According to Bill Harvey, recency is critical for the ad message to be more effective. "Advertising has the most pronounced effect in the first 48 hours," he explained. "Average daily reach is the most critical test of recency." Quoting the late Erwin Ephron, Harvey then advised, "plan and buy for continuous short term reach."
Can You Measure and Push Creative Across Platforms Using Brain Activity Data?
Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia, Senior Vice President Research and Innovation: Global and Ad Effectiveness at The ARF, offered insights concerning the measurement of creative and how it should best be fed through the advertising funnel. His neuroscience based insights include:
Which Way Forward?
Gayle Fuguitt, CEO and President of The ARF, energized attendees with a call to action. "The time is now!" she exclaimed. "What are needed are fearless leaders to step up and not be afraid to ask the hard questions." Much of what was presented at this year's ARF Measurement Conference gives us lots of hard questions to ask. Let's now resolve to work together to solve for the answers.
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