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6 essential ways to measure media effectiveness


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Marketers are spending more on media than ever before. Yet, measuring the effectiveness of those investments and knowing how to optimize across it all (by channel, partner, creative, tactic, and more) to make the most of every dollar, can be dizzying. To truly maximize the ROI of our advertising efforts, we need to aggregate performance data for a bird’s eye view then slice and dice down to more granular insights (and everything in between). Check out the brand marketer’s guide to seeing, understanding, and optimizing advertising performance—in 6 simple steps.

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6 essential ways to measure media effectiveness

  2. 2. Measuring the effectiveness of advertising dollars has never been more critical or more complex. Marketers are expected to spend over $550 billion in 2018 on global advertising and media, yet an estimated 26% of budgets are wasted on ineffective channels and strategies. That means there is over $137 billion dollars that can be reallocated to improve business outcomes. But in order to identify this $137 billion and understand where to use it, brands must collaborate with media partners and agencies to get holistic view of how every decision—big and small—drives brand growth. If you’re responsible for managing media investments, answering these 6 essential question will provide the business-building insights needed to continually adjust strategy, optimize performance and maximize ROI.
  3. 3. 1 Ultimately we want to know how we can best drive sales across all facets of the marketing organization. We do this by stacking up our media buys and measuring their cumulative impact downstream. In this example, we can see monthly media spend broken down by publisher and how sales fluctuated with those changes in allocation. The winners and losers are clear. In January, advertising spend was over 2 times higher than any other month, but sales were lowest. Conversely, the media buys in March and May were the smallest, but the most efficient in driving sales per dollar spent. This gives a quick macro view, so we can expand or drill down to identify correlations between high and low performing months. Try examining shorter date ranges, honing in on individual publisher performance, or looking for correlations between other KPIs and changes in media allocation. Are our media buys driving sales downstream?
  4. 4. 2 To confidently answer the question, “Where is my next marketing dollar best spent?” we need to not only know where each dollar is actually going, but also the non-working media expense associated. Non-working media spend like agency fees, production costs, design fees, etc. is on the rise and is an essential—but often unmeasured—portion of the media budget. It’s therefore essential to include it in our analysis to get a comprehensive view of the true cost of our media. Then, once we have a bird’s-eye view on media allocation and fluctuation in spend ratios by campaign, we can start to compare performance of creative, channels and tactics, and drill deeper to understand the optimal balance of media investments. For example, this percentage bar chart tells us that we spent the most on non-working media for the Holiday and Super Bowl campaigns. From there we can look at overall campaign performance (i.e. cost per impression or outcome), drill into the channels to see which tactic or channel performed the best (or worst), and adjust our ratios for future campaigns accordingly. Where are we investing the most media dollars, including non-working spend?
  5. 5. 3 Which agency is most efficient at generating impressions, engagements, conversions, etc? If you’re working with several agencies, it’s important to see how those partners stack up against one another. Once you’ve pulled all of your agency performance data into an integrated and normalized source of truth, the possibilities are endless. A simple stack ranker like the one above showing CPM is an easy way to quickly see which media buys are garnering the most awareness per dollar. Swap out CPM for any efficiency or effectiveness metric (cost per engagement, CTR, cost per conversion, etc.) to compare how well each partner is achieving each business goal.
  6. 6. 4 Viewability remains a hot topic for marketers, and rightfully so. With average ad viewability estimated to be about 54%, 46 cents out of every dollar spent on wasted impressions that no one ever sees. The good news is that improving the percentage of ads consumers see is easy to do if you have your data integrated into a central marketing performance hub. The example above shows aggregate actual (billed) impressions versus viewable impressions across all campaigns, brands, agencies, etc. for the year. Both spend and viewability were highest in July, however, the delta between the two was also the highest (meaning percentage of impressions wasted). The opposite occurred in January. From here we can slice and dice down to agency, publisher, campaign, ad sizes, etc. to try to find patterns between high and low viewability and performance. As low viewability is identified, there is ample opportunity to close the gap. Recommendations on how to diagnose and respond to poor viewability are covered in Beckon’s 2017 Marketing Truth or Hype Report. What's the difference between the verified viewable impressions and impressions we’re actually billed for?
  7. 7. 5 It’s no surprise that brands and their agencies are quickly shifting more and more spend from traditionally bought media to programmatic. Beckon’s analysis of $16 billion in marketing spend across more than 200 brands found that programmatic media delivers 2x the results of traditionally bought media. What is surprising, however, is how few brands are tracking it. The landscape is changing rapidly, and viewability can vary greatly across channels, ad types, platforms, etc. Measuring what portion of your media is bought programmatically and monitoring the ROI of programmatic versus traditional will give you the ability to respond and adjust how those dollars are being allocated over time. How much of our media is bought programmatically?
  8. 8. 6 This complex but critical question is best solved with a bubble chart because we need several metrics to see the full picture. In our example, each bubble is a creative asset or media type, and we’re using clicks and impressions to measure high (and low) performance—the more impressions we serve, the more clicks we should see. Average performers would fall on the line of best fit, superior performing creative would garner more clicks than average, given the number of impressions served, so we’d see the best creative fall above the line. Spend is reflected in the size of the bubbles. This means we want to see big bubbles above the line (more spend against superior performers) and little bubbles below the line (less spend on poor performers). In this analysis, we can quickly see that the creative represented by the yellow bubble isn’t resonating well and is cause for concern (high spend and low engagement). Conversely, the purple, red, and dark gray bubbles all show higher engagement but lower spend and impressions. So the answer to our question is, “No, we’re not allocating the most spend to highest-performing creative.” It’s a great time to ask our partners to help us understand what we’re seeing, if we should shift budget to our higher performing types or if there’s more to the story. Are we allocating the most spend to the highest-performing creative?
  9. 9. LEARN MORE Maximizing the ROI of every media dollar requires collaborating with partners to experiment, drill down, and roll up to measure success and respond accordingly. If answering any of these essential questions is a challenge, our library of data ownership, agency partnership, and media effectiveness resources can help get you there. LET'S CONNECT Get in touch at