Brands are coming under ever greater pressure to prove that their budgets are being spent efficiently and that their campaigns reach their target consumer. However, it is not always possible for brands to get clear answers as to whether their digital budgets are being efficiently spent, or if campaigns are in fact reaching their target consumers. Over the last three years the digital advertising industry has simply described its technology as being ‘segmented’, and brands have had to accept that response as to why their is lack of clear insight. Those days are now coming to an end however, as brands now demand to know whether their mobile and display campaigns are working in unison and how they influence each other. Irrespective of where brands are buying their media, they need to work with technology providers that allow them to measure the performance of every ad exposure.
Due to the fragmentation of today’s media plan, brands often work with multiple suppliers and programmatic platforms. But how do brands know if their message is colliding across suppliers? As an industry we’re so focused on the right message, in the right place, at the right time, but do we ever stop to think about whether it was actually the right environment? Ideally, digital advertising needs to be served in a contextually relevant environment as the target consumer is then more likely to engage with the advertising campaign. There are three main factors brands need to consider when analysing the performance of their campaigns: contextually relevant insight, attribution and additional metrics.
Contextually relevant insight
Whether you’re a global brand looking to run activity in eight different countries, or a smaller brand focused solely on the UK market, you need to work with partners who are able measure your campaign performance and provide detail on the contextual environment. Measurement and verification technology companies, such as IAS, work hard to connect the dots between purchasing media and campaign measurement and analytics. We feel so strongly about the ability to measure across the entire media plan that we recently launched our mobile open source SDK. We have made this open source code readily available to everyone in the digital ecosystem, including other verification companies. The code allows publishers to measure their mobile inventory without having to integrate multiple SDKs from various partners. This will benefit brands wanting greater measurement and insight into the true ROI of their mobile campaigns. The initiative ensures that we are democratising mobile measurement in order for the whole industry to benefit.
We are seeing the increasing trend of brands beginning to take real ownership of their data, either by tasking their agencies, or in some cases in-house teams, with understanding and utilising their first party data to gain greater insight into their customer base. Through the use of DMPs, brands are intelligently stitching together their first party and outside third party data to have a well-rounded view of their digital media impact, enabling them to get a true understanding of what is performing and what isn’t. Whilst it’s great that brands are starting to utilise their data more robustly, in order for this to be truly successful the entire digital industry needs to address the fundamental problem that exists with attribution. For example, if brands do not take ad fraud and viewability into consideration when assessing campaign performance, they run the risk of rewarding suppliers who have served ads to non-human bots, or served ads which aren’t in fact viewable to the consumer. In order to avoid this, brands need to work with third party verification providers to ensure they get actionable data insights.
In 2016, we saw brands recognise the importance of brand safety, fraud and viewability as major factors impacting campaign performance and attribution, but in 2017 brands must also recognise the importance of other campaign metrics such as; ad clutter (how many ads were on the page? How does this impact a brand’s share of voice?), ad collison (were there other similar campaigns on the page?) and contextual relevance (was the advertising placed in an environment that enhances or detracts from the brand messaging?).
The idea of getting the right message, in the right place, at the right time is still valid and correct, but we should aim to be even more ambitious. Share of voice, total exposure time and other performance metrics should be added to the mix in evaluating campaign success to ensure that each and every pound spent, across the entire media plan, works as effectively as possible.