In a first article, we explained that building an annual business plan begins with defining objectives, followed by identifying targets and budget allocation. This thinking leads to budget allocation across different levers, which also takes seasonality and digital/non-digital synergies into consideration.
A media plan must also include a measurement component. This is the last yet most important ingredient in creating a business plan, as it helps to create a virtuous circle through performance optimisation, which is then echoed in the next business plan.
In general, media business plans and estimates of the plan’s total ROI for the digital aspect are based on a deduplicated last click attribution model across several levers.
Hang on… what? Measurement tools generally provide a view into digital marketing performance that is:
- Deduplicated across all levers: conversions are only attributed once
- And focused on the last click: the conversion is attributed to the last lever
This is done using a webanalytics tool such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics or Coremetrics. This last-click attribution model favours the levers that are activated towards the end of the purchasing path, such as Branded SEA or Retargeting. For example, if the user clicks on a Display banner before typing the brand’s name into a search engine, and then clicks on an SEA ad to buy the product, the conversion is attributed to the SEA.
The last-click perspective must thus be completed by post-view data (also called ‘post-imp’ for post-impression), so that the impact of Display and other levers can be taken into account. A tracking and ad serving tool such as DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) allows for comparisons to be made among different campaigns, thanks to the addition of post-view data (in other words, taking into consideration conversions generated after a simple exposure without a click). The post-view “window” must be adjusted depending on the campaign objective, and thus the lever type: a brand reputation campaign will generate very few post-view conversions in the 48 hours following its exposure, unlike a traffic generation campaign.
Other tools are available to provide a more detailed measurement of campaign effectiveness and to evaluate multiple factors including visibility, cross-device tracking, online/offline complementarity (particularly ROPO, or Research Online Purchase Offline), or impact on brand reputation.
Brief overview of advertising performance measurement solutions that complement post-click and post-imp perspectives
Adding a visibility measurement tool is recommended for Display campaigns. This ensures that banners don’t all appear at the bottom of the page where only a few brave users will see them, or that they don’t fall victim to advertising fraud. Some useful ad visibility measurement tools include Adloox, MOAT, or Integral Ad Science.
Lift Surveys from YouTube and Facebook measure the impact of a video campaign on a brand’s reputation. They are free tools with a minimum of investment. DAR (Digital Ad Ratings) studies from Médiamétrie (formerly Nielsen OCR) take a comprehensive measure of the media target reach for digital campaigns. This is also possible with a third-party tool such as Atlas.
It can also be useful to measure cross-device performance, as a consumer’s path is often multi-device (people use several devices, generally a smartphone and one or two different computers). Thus, users often perform one or more searches via a mobile device, followed by making a purchase via desktop. Tools such as Atlas (Facebook), Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics help to recreate these consumer paths. It is thus possible to measure the impact of mobile on a campaign. It should be noted that the cross-device tracking services provided by Atlas also offer detailed socio-demographic information about the audience reached. This information can be used to improve future campaign targeting.
Lastly, the effectiveness of a media plan overall can be verified using studies that measure complementarity between online and offline initiatives:
- For example, players like Realytics measure the impact of a TV campaign on digital media, and Rentrak (comScore) provides segmentation information on audiences reached through TV campaigns;
- Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings studies and Médiamétrie’s XCR studies measure the impact of digital video ads on TV campaigns, particularly in-target delivery;
- Specialised players like fifty-five are also developing customised solutions that combine the latest technological breakthroughs with more traditional methods to evaluate, for example, the impact of TV campaigns on an e-commerce site’s KPIs. Indeed, it is possible to build an econometric model to evaluate the impact of various factors, including a TV campaign or seasonality, on a site’s performance. We can isolate specific effects of a TV campaign and estimate its incremental impact using linear regression.
The tools cited in this article are certainly not intended to be an exhaustive list. They are merely examples of the solutions available to advertisers to evaluate and measure the impact of their online and offline advertising campaigns. Remember that measurement tools should be chosen with the desired objective in mind… And the available budget!
Measurement remains an essential part of any media plan, as it is necessary to keep optimising both targeting and performance. Choosing the right measurement tools – and understanding their differences and how they work, including the potential biases that might result –– allows advertisers to better understand the user path, and to send the right messages to the right people.