Disconnect: Nielsen Finds No Relationship Between Clicks And Sales

In case there was any confusion, Nielsen reiterated this week that it has found virtually no relationship between clicks and brand metrics, or offline sales.

Hammering home the point, it just released a case study on a campaign for an unnamed household product, which attempted to demonstrate the disconnect between marketers’ short- and long-term campaign goals.

Targeting women 25-54, the secret consumer packaged goods advertiser was only able to reach its intended audience 27% of the time. Worse still, Nielsen found high frequency rates for older demographics, including both males and females.

“The advertiser was understandably concerned about the percentage of audience reached, and the disproportionate number of impressions delivered to older demographics and males,” according to Nielsen.

What went wrong? Perhaps its overreliance on -- or bad taste in -- ad networks, Nielsen suggested.

Indeed, while many marketers assume that ad networks are positioned to serve the most addressable advertising to specific audiences, most precision marketing is based on statistical models, which inevitably have some degree of error. 

“It would be a mistake to assume that all ad networks or demographic models are created equal,” according to Nielsen. “It’s critical to measure the efficacy of delivery using campaign reporting to ensure the tools and audience are aligned with the premium pricing charged for that model.”

Nielsen also analyzed the brand impact of the campaign to gain a more complete view of the effort’s success. One concern was “message association” -- or the degree to which a respondent can associate a campaign message with the advertised brand -- which is often a challenge due to clutter.

Yet across the board, the campaign performed well on this metric, particularly in its core demographic, which indicated effective creative.

Also of note, purchase consideration was impacted less than message association. Per Nielsen, this is fairly common, since purchase intent is further down the sales funnel -- and requires an actual change in thinking or behavior.

Meanwhile, one of what Nielsen called its “more enlightening findings” -- the cost per person within the higher CPM sub-demographic of women 25-34 -- was actually less expensive than the demos outside of the intended audience. 

This was likely due to the quality of the creative itself and its ability to impact the intended audience, Nielsen surmises.

In addition, this finding could have showed that the increased frequency to the non-core demographics is even more wasteful than previously believed. In other words, each impression served outside of the core demographic has a higher cost per person.

2 comments about "Disconnect: Nielsen Finds No Relationship Between Clicks And Sales".
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  1. Pamela Tournier from Focus: Productivity, Inc., November 11, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.

    We find it hard to attribute reaching only 27% of the intended target audience to modeling error.

    It takes a pretty bad model to achieve that low.

    Especially with a broad audience (W 25-54).

    That kind of ad placement sounds like guesswork, not modeling.

    Likely the ad network(s) slotted the client's ads "wherever," perhaps giving lip service to the W 25-54 target, but also giving additional exposures -- a lot of them -- elsewhere.

    Misrepresentation of the product/service. Good for Nielsen (and you) for making this kind of marketing malpractice public.

  2. Mark Martel from Google, November 18, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.

    When possible, please link to the original source's web site for the benefit of others interested in digging into the details further - thanks!


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