I was recently interviewed by Innovate 1st for an upcoming edition of Innovate eZine’s “Conversations on the Cutting Edge” series. This is the 2nd set of excerpts from the interview, which was conducted by Doug Berger, Managing Director, The INNOVATE Company.
To read the full interview series, start with my earlier blog post: “Challenges in Advertising & Media Effectiveness.”
Real Time Advertising Measurement
Doug: How do you do that (measure your TV ad performance literally the next day and know how you’re doing) ?
Randall: There are syndicated services; Nielsen has one with 5,000 to 7,000 panelists a day going to a panel website (disclosure: I work for Nielsen). After they log in, they are asked what TV shows they watched the previous day.
Because Nielsen knows what ads were running in those programs, they can not only ask questions about the programming and how engaging it was, but they can also ask questions about the ads that were in those programs. Then they generate a report on how your ad of the previous day was performing.
Doug: In that particular case, the pre-selected panels already have the demographic and the profiling information to slice responses any which way an advertiser would want.
Randall: That’s exactly right. This is setting the stage for where things are going in the future. Another big macro trend is that consumers are increasing overall media consumption. There’s a commonly held belief that TV is dying. This is not true.
Actually, people watch more TV today than they did a year ago, and they watch a lot more TV today than they did ten years ago. What is happening is a proliferation of channels, more TVs per household, a better viewing experience with large, hi-def TV, and you’ve got blockbuster content like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘American Idol.’
The bigger issue as social media and digital expand is how you bring these things together in a very smart way, because TV is not going away. It’s changing, but it is not going away.
Doug: You are looking at predictive models, as well as the variables that drive brand equity. What are some of the other key drivers that you are discovering about brand building?
Randall: We just did a study of 30,000 ads. The analysis shows that there are three big drivers. One is the creative quality itself, which is not really a surprise.
The second driver, also not too surprising, is media weight … the more media you put behind your ad the higher the general recall.
What is surprising is the impact of programming. In the modeling work we’ve done, the impact of the content within which your ad sits is just as impactful as the creative quality itself.
There are three ways in which programming affects the performance of your ad in-market: program engagement, program genre, and program synergy. We’ve already discussed program engagement, or attentiveness.
Beyond this, we see that certain brands or products perform better in certain genres than others. For example, alcoholic beverage ads score much better in sports vs. non-sports programming; over-the-counter drugs tend to not score well in sitcoms. A client once asked me, “Why is that?” I said, “Well, being sick is not funny.”
An example of program synergy would be putting an ad for Slim Fast in ‘The Biggest Loser.’ A lot of this is intuitive and not surprising. The difference is that today all of this is measurable.
Doug: What have been some of the key insights and learnings around linking brand to profitability?
Randall: We are still in the infancy of knowing how to do that. One of the learnings is the need for different equity measurements. Single source measurement enables advertisers to see at the household level, with permission of course, exactly what people are watching on TV; what they’re doing online; and then it allows you to look at what those same people are actually buying. You can literally create an exposed/non-exposed set of households to your advertising and see exactly how the consumption changes.
This is really powerful, and as these systems scale up they will allow for much more granularity. Instead of looking at women 18-34 years old, you’ll be able to drill down to view a lapsed soda user, or a Coke user, or even a lapsed Coke user. You’ll be able to find those people and measure how advertising impacts them versus a group that didn’t see the advertising.
Next: Social Media Myths and Truths