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The key ingredient to a successful media business plan? Performance measurement.

Do you want to discover – or rediscover – how to build a media business plan that is simple to recreate at home? To help you with this task, fifty-five is reviewing a few key ingredients and steps, which will help you to build your own custom “recipe”!

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 attributionattributionDigital attribution refers to a set of methods whose purpose is to reconstruct the digital journey that has led a client to conversion. This process aims to assess the efficiency of each of the channels used during a marketing campaign.Learn more 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 webanalyticswebanalyticsWebanalytics is a set of methods whose goal is to gather, measure and analyse data about the audience and visits on a website or mobile app. The discipline aims at helping websites, apps and ads become more efficient by analysing user behaviour, and is therefore a key issue in digital marketing.Learn more tool such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics or CoremetricsmetricsMetrics are quantitative measurement indicators that are used to assess campaign performance. The CPC and CPM, bounce rates, and the number of visits are examples of metrics.Learn more. This last-click attribution model favours the levers that are activated towards the end of the purchasing path, such as Branded SEA (Search Engine AdvertisingSearch Engine AdvertisingSearch Engine Advertising (SEA) is an advertising channel that aims at referencing a sponsored link among the search results of a search engine in order to drive traffic to an advertiser’s website.Learn more) or RetargetingRetargetingRetargeting is an advertising process that aims at targeting Internet users who have already visited a brand’s website - or who have had a recorded touchpoint with the brand -, in order to encourage them to reengage with this brand.Learn more. For example, if the user clicks on a Display bannerbannerA banner is a commonly used ad format. It is a rectangular image, either still or animated, which is displayed on publishers’ advertising spaces.Learn more 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 trackingtrackingTracking refers to the tools and methodologies that measure the activity and behaviour of visitors on a website (or a mobile app), including their journey, the source of their visit, or exposure to ads... Learn more 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-devicecross-deviceCross-device behaviour refers to a browsing habit where users navigate the Internet using different types of devices interchangeably (smartphone, computer, tablet...). This can make the tracking process significantly more complex.Learn more tracking, online/offline complementarity (particularly ROPO, or Research Online Purchase OfflineResearch Online Purchase OfflineResearch Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) refers to a type of cross-channel behaviour whereby a user searches for relevant product or service information online before completing the purchase through an offline channel (e.g. call centres, agencies, stores, car dealerships...). Learn more), 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 KPIKPIKey Performance Indicators (KPIs) refer to the main indicators that are used to assess the success of a given campaign, in line with the chosen strategy. The generated turnover and the number of pageviews are examples of KPIs. For relevant performance measurement, it is essential to limit the number of selected KPIs (up to a dozen). The challenge for advertisers is thus to assess which indicators are truly indispensable.Learn mores. 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.

Translated from the original French by Niamh Cloughley

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