Revisiting Reach — The Promise of Cross-Platform Planning

February 18, 2013

Watching TV the other night, I saw an ad for Brand X. And another. And another and another. After the fourth viewing, I thought “Enough! How many times do I need to see the same ad during the same program?”

Maximizing the audience reached at 1+ frequency—meaning that as many consumers as possible see your ad at least one time—has been gospel truth for many years now. The prevalence of media platforms and the ability to create integrated campaigns present additional challenges to achieving frequency control and unduplicated reach.

But they also bring great opportunity. The best media plan uses each platform to reach a different audience, rather than running the campaign as separate, independent plans for each platform.

Reaching Everyone in Your Intended Audience – the Impossible Dream?

Even in the broad world of TV, I’ve seen over the years that it’s really difficult to reach much more than 80 percent of your intended audience, no matter how much you spend.

A standard media plan typically bombards the heaviest 20 percent of TV viewers with ads, yet directs little or no advertising toward the lightest 20 percent. This isn’t the fault of TV—it’s still the broadest reach media vehicle we have, and virtually all households still watch TV. It’s just that current media planning tools leave something to be desired: more reach.

Light Viewers – Where are They?

So what’s the issue? Well, light viewers tend to be younger, more affluent, better educated and working outside the home—just the type of people who don’t have the time to watch much TV. So they watch more cable, watch programming at different hours, use DVRs, stream content online, etc.

They’re just harder to reach on traditional TV—and current media planning tools don’t do a very good job of constructing plans to reach these people. That’s why TV media plans often end up with approximately 80 percent reach—no matter how much they spend.

Multi-Platform – a Potential Solution?

Focusing on reaching these light viewers online allows you to extend your overall campaign reach against your intended audience. When done strategically, campaigns have achieved nearly 90 percent reach, as measured by Nielsen Campaign Ratings. Without proper insight, however, you may experience high levels of overlap in reach between TV and online, as many heavy TV viewers are also heavy online consumers, leaving you back at square one.

Nielsen Online Audience Segments—TV Viewing provides the insight you need to augment your TV media plan with online ads that reach audiences based on their TV viewing habits, so you can focus on reaching those hard-to-find light TV viewers online.

So instead of a traditional TV plan, which maxes out reach at 80 percent and bombards top quintile viewers with ads, this approach has a broader effect: it extends reach by serving ads to consumers who wouldn’t have otherwise been reached through traditional TV. By more strategically placing ads, it can also cap frequency among the online viewers and reduce frequency among the heaviest TV viewers.

Key Takeaways – Things to Remember

  • Maximizing reach at 1+ frequency is the gold standard
  • Traditional TV media plans typically don’t achieve more than 80 percent reach
  • Heavy viewers are overloaded with ads, while light viewers are exposed to few or none at all
  • Extending a campaign across platforms can increase reach and reduce frequency

To me, this looks like a good recipe for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your media plans. Further, it might even benefit your brand by not upsetting heavy viewers in your intended audience who are currently overexposed and probably sick of seeing your ads and brand.

I like more reach per campaign—and at lower cost per thousand (CPM)—especially because I don’t like to be bombarded with the same ad over and over. And I’d be willing to bet that your intended audience would agree with me.

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Social Media Explorer Article: 2014 Marketing Measurement Predictions

January 2, 2014

Ad Measurement Trends: Reach, Resonance, Reaction across Platforms

I’m usually sceptical of many of the over-blown predictions coming from the social media space, but this article by Social Media Explorer’s Nichole Kelly gets it just right when it comes to 2014 marketing measurement trends.

  • Creation of company wide measurement standards
  • Cross-channel measurement will be the new standard
  • Multi-touch attribution will improve beyond first touch/last touch models
  • Revenue creation will be the new story

In essence, what she is saying is that the 3R’s of reaching your intended audience, maximizing ad resonance and attitudinal change, and driving sales–across all platforms–are the inexorable measurement trends in 2014.

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Shifting Digital Accountability to Brand Marketers

June 3, 2013

Growing up, when I was pestering my parents about something that I just really, really had to have (like a real, live pet monkey), they would often say:

“Be careful what you ask for; you might just get it.”

Brand Marketers have been asking for lots more from digital—but have largely been unmoved by the response, and their anemic spending shows it.

Shifting Digital Accountability to Brand Marketers

Shifting Digital Accountability to Brand Marketers

They ARE shifting more money into digital, particularly as on-line video, mobile and social explode.  But their digital spending has lagged their direct marketing counterparts, as they continue to look for more evidence of the efficacy of digital advertising.

The accountability debate is shifting quickly though, from digital publishers and measurement companies to the Brand Marketers themselves.

What do Brand Marketers Need?

1.  Audience Delivery – Much has been written recently about the issues and opportunities associated with digital audience delivery. Any reader of the advertising and media press knows that large numbers of digital ads are not delivered to their intended audience, and many aren’t even viewable—a real embarrassment to many who prided digital on its precise targeting.

But the fact that we are even talking (or writing about) this topic says a lot about how to solve the problem. We can now measure how well, or how poorly, individual sites perform in delivering digital advertising to their intended audience—on a daily basis. And, with metrics that are common across platforms—e.g. reach, frequency, GRP’s against key demographic targets, Brand Marketers can now much better understand the relative performance of different media.

2.  Brand Impact – Brand Marketers care not just about sales, but about their brand or, more specifically, brand equity. They want to know that digital advertising has equal or more brand building impact than the alternative mediums.

Digital brand building metrics have now equaled and, in some cases, surpassed metrics from other mediums. Brands can not only measure increases in awareness, brand recall and other traditional ad effectiveness metrics, but can now also link ad exposure directly to traditional brand equity metrics. Given these tools, Brand Marketers should be confident that they can really understand the impact of digital advertising on their brand KPI’s.

3.  Sales Impact – Not surprisingly, while Brand Marketers want to see that digital advertising builds their brand, they also want to know that their brand building efforts result in sales. There are multiple approaches available for measuring the sales impact of digital advertising.

Traditional Market Mix Modeling (MMM) is one, and it’s particularly effective at giving brand builders a relative understanding of how digital advertising compares to other traditional mediums such as TV and Print. That is, for every $1 invested in digital, what on or off-line sales return do I get and how does that compare to other media?

A newer approach for Brand Marketers is Attribution Modeling, which models individuals’ exposure to different digital touch-points against sales. Ironically, attribution modeling was first advocated by direct marketers who were trying to understand the contribution of different digital exposures to search based click-thru.

The advantage of attribution modeling is that it can typically measure more granular digital activities than MMM and the impact of cross-platform exposure on sales—e.g. it can “attribute” impact to different touch-points and combinations thereof.

In either case, there really is no excuse now for not understanding the sales impact of your digital advertising—ROI measurement in digital is very good–even for brand based advertising.

4.  Real Time Optimization – One of Marketers biggest frustrations across all media has been their inability to quickly understand advertising and media performance, and then make improvements in-flight.

Digital, in theory, should be great at this, and in fact has made great strides with real-time bidding (RTB). RTB uses real time performance metrics (click thru, etc.) by site, placement, etc. to understand how to bid and re-allocate spend to the best performing placements just as its name implies—in real time. But again, these gains have mostly been in the direct response world, leaving brand marketers to wonder about what could have been.

Well, direct marketing to the rescue. Real time optimization is now the domain of the Brand Marketer. Brands can now select a few key brand metrics, measure impact continuously across creative units, sites, exposure frequency, and audience, and optimize in real time to improve results.

Optimization can be done manually by the Agency, or via demand side platforms. Some progressive agencies have even take this further by collaborating with publishers on real time optimization to deliver much stronger brand results.

Shifting Accountability to Brand Marketers

Brand Marketers used to have a real issue with digital—accountability. “What does it do for my brand ? How does it impact my sales?” Fair questions that, frankly, weren’t being answered very well until recently. Hence, the slower adoption of digital by the brand focused Marketing community.

The accountability debate has shifted—to Brand Marketers. There really is no reason, at least no measurement reason, that Brand Marketers shouldn’t be playing in digital—in a big way. Now Brand Marketers need to be accountable for measuring, understanding and improving the impact of their digital advertising.

And, let’s hope they fare better than I did with my monkey request. Because while my pet monkey was a lot of fun (and a blast at show and tell), I also spent an awful lot of time cleaning up his messes—at meal time and otherwise !

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iMedia Blog Post: Ad Effectiveness Formula for Success

March 11, 2013

At the recent iMedia Video Summit, I gave an insight address on the importance of standard metrics and end-to-end measurement in understanding cross-platform video advertising effectiveness.

The following is a re-post of Kyle Montero’s blog post entitled Nielsen’s Simple Formula for Measuring Ad Effectiveness” which summarizes key points of my speech.


At the (ridiculously beautiful) Terranea Resort, during the iMedia Video SummitRandall Beard, the global head of advertising solutions at Nielsen, shared some fascinating insights in his address entitled, “Cross-Platform Measurement: The Current State and Future Opportunities.”

In today’s multi-device world, where consumers view content on several platforms, a marketer’s ability to understand who is viewing ads and how the ads resonate with viewers is becoming more and more of a challenge.

To begin to address this issue, Nielsen identified the top three questions clients ask regarding cross-platform campaign management, also known as “client pain points”:

  • How much should I spend?
  • How do I allocate across platforms?
  • How do I optimize in real time?
To provide the information necessary to answer these questions, Beard discussed Nielsen’s “3R framework” — a simple formula to evaluate marketing success. The “3Rs” consist of reach, resonance, and reaction:
  • Reach: The initial goal of advertising is to reach the intended audience.
  • Resonance: After delivering the impression, the advertisement must break through to actually communicate with the audience and influence opinion.
  • Reaction: If the advertisement reaches and resonates with the consumer, a behavior change will occur likely resulting in an increase in sales.
By measuring the 3Rs across all screens and devices, Nielsen believes it is on the path to providing digital marketers with the foundational metric to increase the ROI of video ad spend by simplify measurement in a complicated cross-platform world. Beard finished his address with the following conclusions:
  • Traditional TV still dominates viewership (Americans watch nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set), but cross-platform viewing is growing (85 percent of mobile owners use their tablet or smartphone while watching TV at least once per month, while 40 percent do so daily).
  • Advertisers are still struggling with cross-platform allocation.
  • The main goals of clients are to extend reach and/or increase overlap.
  • There is a large opportunity to improve online audience delivery.
  • Cross-platform execution is not meeting marketers’ needs.
Moving forward, Beard believes success will truly come to those marketers that measure their campaigns in real time. While tracking reach and resonance across multiple platforms, pay attention and optimize your campaigns to drive the best possible reactions.

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MediaPost TVBlog Interview — The 3R’s of Advertising Effectiveness

December 11, 2012

The following is a repost of David Goetzl’s November 27, TVBlog post:


There’s no sense for advertisers to ever be fully satisfied with the effectiveness of their messaging and tactics. So, they’ll always be in search of more data and the finish line will keep moving.

But here’s at least one enticing landing spot: a gauge of how many consumers saw an ad on one of four screens (TV, PC, tablet, smartphone) and what it prompted them to do (or not) in real time — with the data coming in an easily digestible form, ripe for swift action.

David Goetzl Interview on the 3R's of Ad Effectiveness

David Goetzl Interview on the 3R’s of Ad Effectiveness

Randall Beard says Nielsen’s on that path with its “3R framework,” an umbrella term for its efforts to measure how reach and resonance lead to reaction. (It could be called 4Rs with an equation where reach + resonance + reaction = revenue.)

Helping in the kitchen are the 3Vs of Big Data, where there’s more volume and variety of information coming at greater velocity.

“There’s way more data, way faster that’s coming at advertisers and agencies,” said Beard, Nielsen’s global head of advertiser solutions. “And one of the big challenges is to have a simplified (platform) that brings it all together in a way that they can easily operationalize it.”

Beard will lead a webinar next week with details on how Nielsen envisions opportunities in a 3R playing field. In advance, he took some time to offer some thoughts:

–In the “reaction” area, the Nielsen Catalina Solutions services look to connect media consumption with purchase behavior. There are multiple research providers looking in that direction with TV advertising. What makes the offering different?

“The audience data is from the Nielsen people meter data set — supplemented by set-top-box data,” he said. “Most of the other players in the space are just simply using set-top-box data … The second thing is that we’re cross-platform, so we have this service not only with TV, but with online, with mobile, with print. So you can identify the most responsive buyer behavior group and then execute that across platforms.”

–If the same ad runs on live TV and online, which is more effective?

The data is not for the exact same ad on both platforms, but 2011 research found the “breakthrough” — percentage of consumers remembering an ad — for 15- and 30-second spots was about 50% higher in an online platform than TV. Hypotheses Beard offered include online platforms offering more of a lean-forward experience and usually a lesser ad load.

–Nielsen, of course, doesn’t determine what the currency is in a particular market. But can any of its “reaction” tools – Nielsen Catalina, Buyer Insights – offer the basis for one should advertisers want to trade on the data?

Beard indicated Nielsen believes it plays more of an advisory role, but there are opportunities for sort of one-off deals.

“We’re trying to bring data to the advertisers, agencies and media companies that they can use to be smarter about the way people plan buy, execute and ultimately optimize the advertising,” he said.

He said working with NBC, Nielsen has found the same ads in its Olympic programming have more “resonance” than when they run elsewhere and NBC has used that to demonstrate effectiveness in a sales process.

–One argument networks make is there is value in ads viewed as they zip by in fast-forward mode via DVRs. Logos might be seen or there may be some reinforcement if a viewer has seen the ad before in full. Has Nielsen developed any insight here through its research?

Not discretely. But it has found that ad recall is 30% lower for time-shifted viewing — whether an ad is skipped or not with a DVR — versus live TV.

“If you know that there’s a difference there, you can certainly assume that at least some part of a lower score in a DVR’d program is because of fast-forwarding,” Beard said. “How much? Couldn’t say.”

— One coveted metric in the “reaction” area would be: did an ad prompt a purchase the next day? (Helpful to consumer package goods and telecom marketers, among others.) Can a viewing-purchase link be available in a sort of overnight fashion a la the cornerstone Nielsen TV ratings?

Not yet. It takes time to connect the dots.

But in a “resonance” sphere – both with TV and digital ads – results come in much faster.

–But clearly the quicker the better – especially if there’s an emphasis on providing real-time insight to allow adjustments.

That’s a “big opportunity,” Beard said, across all platforms. That would give an advertiser with, say, three ads running a chance to determine certain effectiveness gauges for each and do some editing mid-flight.

That not only can improve “resonance,” but save money.

If a 15-second spot is doing just as well as a 30-second one, why stick with it?

“Why spend money on 30s,” Beard said. “Move all your spending to 15s … there’s lots of opportunities for advertisers, in particular, to measure “reach” and “resonance” in as close to real-time as possible and then make smart choices about how they allocate their spending, or improve their advertising  to get a better reaction outcome.”

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