5 Advertising Game Changers

June 5, 2014

I speak frequently at advertising industry events, and probably the single most frequent question I get is this:

 “What are the biggest game changers in advertising that you believe will permanently change the way that CMO’s and their Marketing organization’s operate in the future?”

From conversations with many CMO’s, Media Heads, Agency Research Heads, etc., I see 5 big trends that will forever change advertising as we’ve known it for the past 50 years.

tv-everywhere

 5 Advertising Game Changers

1.  Content:  More Than a Pipeline – Advertisers used to think of media plans as analogous to a “pipeline.” Advertisers produced ads, and publishers provided content, which acted as a “pipe” to pump the message to end consumers. This is an overly simplistic view of media plans; a better analogy would be content as a “trampoline,” where content provides “bounce” to advertising effectiveness.

It does so in two ways: attentiveness and context. When viewers pay more attention to content, they also tend to pay more attention to the ads in that content. So, content or programs which have higher attentiveness also drive high ad performance. Similarly, program context also impacts ad performance. Benefit consistency (sports clothes in sports programs; weight loss foods in weight loss programs, etc.) help ads outperform the same ads in content with less relevant context.

Attentiveness and context are not new concepts. But measurement of them is, and advertisers are increasingly taking advantage of this knowledge.

2.  Media Planning: More than Audiences – All of the media agencies are being asked for more from their clients—more cost savings, more foresight, more analytics, but more than anything—more brand and sales impact from their media plans. This means that traditional media planning is morphing from being mostly about audience and costs—e.g. reach, frequency, GRP’s and cost per 1000, to brand or sales impact.

This has two implications. First, agencies are beginning to incorporate impact based metrics into their media plans. Instead of GRP’s, there will be “effective GRP’s,” where brand or sales impact is factored in. Second, agencies and advertisers will begin to pre-test media plans. Instead of simply looking at audience and cost metrics, agencies and advertisers will begin using simulations to look at projected brand and sales impact as well.

3.  Real Time: More than After the Fact – Everything is moving digital, and one of the benefits of digital is measuring your advertising with granularity and speed.

Two examples: Currently, over 20% of display ads are auctioned thru Real Time Bidding DSP/SSP platforms. Buying audiences in real time is going to get even bigger and more granular, as DSP/SSP platforms become more sophisticated and are fueled by increasingly granular data sets.

And, audiences won’t just be bought in real time, they’ll also be bought for sales impact. Digital attribution modeling now employs daily regression modeling at the individual person level to measure sales impact by touchpoint, including by web site and placement. The move to real time is real, inexorable and now.

4.  Single Source:  More than Guesswork – Connecting—literally—the ads people are exposed to with the goods and services they buy—has always been deemed the holy grail. This “single source” data at the individual or household level is finally here—at scale, providing unparalleled insights into how advertising works.

Enabled by privacy protected loyalty and credit card buying data plus viewing panels and set top box viewing data, it will help agencies and advertisers understand which audiences most respond volumetrically to the advertising, which ads drive the most volume, which programs or web sites deliver the most lift, what role exposure frequency plays in driving sales, etc.

While still early in the adoption phase, single source is poised to finally provide extraordinary insight into how to improve advertising effectiveness.

5.  Audiences:  More than Demo’s – Digital audience buying is already focused on all kinds of characteristics that go well beyond basic demo’s. For example, re-targeting uses viewer browser shopping behavior to target future ads (I shopped for a bike on Web site X, so I see bike ads outside of site X in the days and weeks following).

The data sets used to buy audiences are getting richer and more granular. You can already buy digital audiences based on TV viewing behavior (e.g. buy digital audiences unlikely to have seen your TV advertising), offline buyer behavior (e.g. heavy category consumer who have not bought your brand), geography, etc.

The Game Changers Converge

If you’re feeling that these five game changers seem to overlap to some degree, you’d be right. While they are all different concepts, they are mutually reinforcing and, when taken together, are amplifying and accelerating changes to the advertising eco-system. For example, when advertisers launch a new campaign, within the first week they can:

  • Use single source to quantify how web site content impacts ad performance.
  • Measure this daily to get a read across all sites in their plan.
  • Use real time bidding to bid for the most volumetrically responsive sites.
  • Bid for audiences most likely to have not seen their TV ads to extend reach.
  • Leverage all of this learning in their next impact based media plan.

Where to start ? It sounds almost overwhelming. Well, you can always take Muhammad Ali’s sage advice: “it isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.” In other words, get started small and get started now !

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Motley Fool: Advertising Reach is Bigger Than You Think

January 4, 2014

Motley Fool View on Measuring Time Shifted Viewing

Motley Fool View on Measuring Time Shifted Viewing

As advertising moves increasingly across screens, measurement needs to move fast to keep up.

This Motley Fool article takes a look at the time-shifted viewership of TV programs that occur outside the official C3 ratings, and the implications for media companies and advertisers.

Article: Advertising Reach is Bigger Than You Think

Moving forward, there will be two fundamental advertising models–linear and dynamic. In the linear, or traditional, model, one ad is served to many people. This can happen live or thru time shifted viewing. In the dynamic advertising model, one ad is served to a single individual–e.g. each ad is addressable.

Audience measurement of the future will need to take account of both linear and dynamic advertising insertion models and measure both live and on-demand viewership.

If this isn’t tricky enough, think about the implications for ad effectiveness: is an ad that is viewed 2 days later as effective as one delivered live ? Is an addressable ad sufficiently more effective than a less targeted linear ad to justify its price premium ?

The linear vs. dynamic and live vs. on-demand viewing patterns will almost certainly impact not just reach–but advertising performance as well. Measuring and understanding relative ad effectiveness across these dimensions will become even more important in the future.

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How Brands Grow – Blowing Up Marketing Shibboleths

January 3, 2014

How Brands Grow by Dr. Byron Sharp

If you’ve never read it, you should. Dr. Sharp, from the Ehrenberg Institute of Marketing Science, takes aim at many well established marketing beliefs and systematically demonstrates with data that they are often much overblown hype. If you’re a real Marketer, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

I particularly like his concepts of “mental and physical availability” as the most important drivers of brand growth. Advertising’s role is to create greater mental availability, and this is why real world “breakthrough” and memorability are such crucial gatekeeper metrics to advertising success.

I wrote a blog post book review on How Brands Grow some months back, but I recommend you read the book.

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Mediapost Article: More 2014 Advertising Predictions

January 1, 2014

More 2014 Advertising Predictions: More Top Funnel Programmatic, Mobile Integration, Privacy Power, TV to Video

Here’s yet more 2014 advertising predictions, this time from Eric Bosco, CEO of Choicestream via Mediapost. Trend highlights:

  • More top of funnel programmatic ad buying
  • Increased integration of mobile
  • The rise of data privacy issues and emerging solutions
  • Video neutral planning and buying as TV and Video blur

I agree with all of these and think that the first one is particularly interesting, with much to learn about how creative, media weight, programming and site content impact top and bottom of funnel metrics differently.

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Neuroscience in Advertising: Making the :15 the New :30

August 5, 2013

The :15 second TV commercial has a lot in common with cubic zirconium—a cheaper and lower quality “look-alike” that is almost instantly recognizable by anyone as anything but the real thing.

Often treated as an afterthought by Marketers and Agencies alike, the :15 TV spot is usually just a cut down version of the :30, rarely copy tested, but assumed to be at least 50% as good as the :30 from which it’s derived.

But the truth is that most Marketers have no idea how good, or bad, their :15’s really are. It’s as if everyone just blindly assumes the best, without thinking about the worst. Fifteen second ads adhere to the same basic principles of success as :30’s, but just get much less attention.

An Improvement — Real Time :15 vs. :30 Optimization

Things have improved somewhat over the past few years. With the advent of real time TV ad effectiveness measurement, Marketers can now monitor the performance of their :30’s and :15’s on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, so they can understand relative differences in performance.

This enables you to see when your 15’s perform well enough to warrant moving out of your :30’s and into 100% focus on your :15’s. But all of this is after the fact. What’s really needed is better :15 design beforehand. But how?

Neuroscience & Copy Testing

Neuroscience has had any number of fits and starts over the past few years when applied to Marketing. But one area where there has been substantial and undeniable progress is in the area of copy testing. Possibly the most advanced technique uses EEG measures of brain activity to understand how viewers are responding to advertising. This approach uses EEG to identify and capture responses to brain stimuli in fractions of a second.

In particular, EEG based copy testing can measure three things extremely well:

  1. Attention – When and how much viewer attention is paid to an ad. This is key to knowing if someone even notices or pays attention to your ad in the first place.
  2. Memory – Whether a viewers memory is activated in response to viewing an ad. Without memory, it’s unlikely that an ad will influence much future behavior.
  3. Emotion – To what degree a viewer is drawn to or pulls away from the ad stimulus. Attention and memory are important, but so is positive emotional attraction.

Taken together, these three measures are key to effective ads. They relate directly to whether someone pays attention to the ad, whether the ad is stored in long term memory, and whether the ad elicits a positive emotional response.

Importantly, EEG based copy testing measures viewer’s brain waves in milliseconds throughout the commercial. Typically, a viewer’s brain waves looks like a series of peaks and valleys as the viewer responds to different parts of the commercial. These peaks and valleys correspond to the parts of the commercial that are most and least effective as measured by attention, memory and emotion.

The Optimal :15 TV Spot

Back to the :30 vs. :15 conundrum: how do you design a better :15 TV spot? Well, it’s not as difficult as rocket science, but it’s essentially an exercise in brain wave assessment. Simply put, you cut out the ads “valleys” and keep the “peaks.”

Neuroscience based copy testing has advanced to the point where it can algorithmically eliminate the weakest portions of the :30 TV commercial while keeping the strongest ones for the new :15. This re-cut commercial is then edited by the Agency creatives for story flow, continuity, and visual seamlessness into a final spot.

The Neuroscience Based :15 TV Commercial – How Good ?

At this point, you might be asking: “but how good, really, are these cut down neuroscience based ads? It all sounds like a big black box.”

Based on Nielsen NeuroFocus (disclosure: I work at Nielsen) testing of both original :30 TV spots and the EEG-optimized :15’s, here is what we see:

  • ~90% of neuroscience optimized :15 ads test just as well as their :30 counterparts
  • A significant number of optimized :15 ads actually test better than their :30 counterparts

Upside for Marketers

So, the next time you see your Ad Agency, tell them that you have a “present” for them—neuroscience-based :15’s. They’re definitely a lot more valuable than regular “cubic zirconium” :15’s and, more importantly, viewers will respond as if they’re :30 “diamonds in the rough.”

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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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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:

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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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