In the era of programmatic and big data, the need for better measurement and analytics has came up over and over again. In last week’s agency poll by RSW/US, marketers stated the lack of foundation in analytics is the #1 deficiency. Dave Morgan proposed in a recent blog postthat the old phrase “medium is the message” should now be “measurement is the medium.”
Today’s programmatic brand advertisers are finding it critical to build upon the four waves of development in analytics and measurement. These waves include the current viewability and quality efforts, the work in audience buying, big data powering and validating programmatic initiatives, and the movement from dashboards to real-time measurement by industry experts.
Let’s go over each of these waves in detail.
Viewablity and Quality
Viewability has established a foundation of quality by ensuring that consumers actually see the ads, but this building block is just the start. Beyond viewability, measurement includes interactions and interaction time. The latter captures the average length of time the ad holds the consumer’s attention. These metrics really matter to brand advertisers and are helping connect ad exposure to back-end data for a more complete picture for brands.
Buying audiences and inventory transparently in real-time has driven a lot of the programmatic brand buying today. This subtle shift from buying content and publishers to audiences has been lauded as “it’s the audience, stupid” too many times over the last year. The big change, however, is the analytical ability to move from sample-based research to real-time validation based on audience data and third party measurement sources by start-ups and measurement companies alike. Analytics have also enabled audience buying with paid media, earned, and owned media. Thanks to this effort, measurement is now redefining what earned and owned media now means to brands.
Measurement is taking on a new role in light of big data driving programmatic brand advertising. Making data science simple for brands and agencies is the key. Data scientists, data management platforms (DMPs), and analysts have done a good job building dashboards of amazing data, but brand advertisers do not need data dumps. They need scores and measurement to help them tell stories and measure campaigns. The leaders prefer progress in big data to perfect data in dashboards. With brand advertising, you do not want to fix things that do not matter, but measure the key performance indicators (KPIs) and sales attribution that drives outcomes. Actionable insights that come from data surfacing (predictions and trends) are the goal, rather than straditional data mining (single pieces of data) used in direct response. Big data’s promise in programmatic is linking all the media channels together and looking for broad outcomes.
A new wave of analytical experts and companies are working on measurement solutions that work in near real time for brands. Real-time advertising companies that specialize in delivering superfast algorithms that buy advertising impressions in less than 200 milliseconds have become a reality. This electronic media trading is driving the automation of advertising as automation did in the financial markets in the 1980s. Now Madison Avenue needs simple, transparent and very fast measurement or analytics platforms to optimize, validate, and increase the return on investment for brands.
Programmatic brand advertising will further reshape the media business if the industry can measure results better for management of the exponential growth in ad spend. This is only manageable if it is measurable. The wave of spending continues to grow due to automation savings and exchanges that lower media pricing, but measurement and analytics need to catch up -- or the ship will sink in the perfect storm of programmatic brand spending.