Publicis Addresses Household Targeting, Finds Higher Yield For Brand Vs. Category

Among some important new research and insights unveiled during the Advertising Research Foundation’s annual Audience Measurement Conference in New York this week was one breakout session that may not have gotten as much attention as the main stage acts, but it represents a significant leap forward in understanding the value of addressable TV advertising. And in some ways, it also represents a nod backward to some of the most fundamental precepts of TV market planning.

The research, presented by Publicis Media’s Helen Katz and a team from Nielsen Catalina Solutions, may be the first of its kind to control for the performance of two simultaneous addressable TV campaigns deployed in the marketplace at the same time targeting two distinct groups of consumers: One comprised of consumers known to buy a specific brand and another comprised of consumers know to buy brands in the same category.



Katz said the fact that two disparate campaigns, across separate addressable TV platforms for the same (undisclosed) Publicis client were in the market at the same time, presented her research team with a unique opportunity to effectively test what happens when you target consumers on the basis of brand vs. category.

Katz, who noted that Publicis has been testing addressable TV ad campaigns for more than a decade and has served more than 10 billion addressable TV ad impressions to date, said despite all that learning, the industry still doesn’t understand the full power of targeting consumers on brand vs. category bases. Until now.

“Should I be targeting just my brand buyers, or should I go broader and target the whole category?” she asked ARF attendees while presenting the findings earlier this week, adding: “We were able to answer this question.”

The answer: Targeting brand buyers explicitly generates much higher sales lift, but not as much incremental revenue because it inherently is a smaller, more targeted audience.

Both campaigns were proven to generate significant incremental sales lift, but the one targeted at brand buyers generated significantly more: 29% vs. only 19% for the campaign targeted at category buyers.

On a cost-efficiency basis, the brand buyer-targeted campaign also outperformed the category buyer targeted campaign, generating an incremental sales return of $0.75 per household reached, vs. only $0.55 for the category buyer households reached.

But because there are more category households in the universe Publicis was targeting than households specifically buying that brand, the overall reach of the category targeted campaign generate more incremental sales: $1,061,395 vs. $734,884 for the brand buyer targeted campaign.

Katz said the study represents an important benchmark for agencies and brands to understand the value of targeting audiences with the precision of addressability, but more work needs to be done to refine best practices.

The study is interesting for another reason, because targeting brand users vs. category users is one of the seminal ways brands and agencies have planned -- and allocated budgets -- historically in spot TV advertising markets, which prior to addressability, had been the standard for many brands to determine how much media weight they put against markets.

In the parlance of spot TV buying, the industry called this approach either “brand development index” or “category development index,” and developed rules of thumb for understanding which approach would yield better returns for budgeting spot TV advertising in a TV marketplace.

Asked whether there was any correlation between the Publicis / Nielsen Catalina Solutions addressable TV ad test and historical spot TV “BDI” and “CDI” planning, NCS Chief Research Officer Leslie Wood said she didn’t know but would look into it.

“It’s a good question,” concluded Publicis’ Katz.

5 comments about "Publicis Addresses Household Targeting, Finds Higher Yield For Brand Vs. Category".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 17, 2016 at 12:11 p.m.

    Makes sense, doesn't it. But how do you target only current buyers of your brand, but not those who buy any brand in a category? Isn't there a great deal of spillover? Aren't your users also category users? Aren't the users of most brands in a well defined and differentiated category, fairly similar demographically? Of course, a few brands may position themselves for the price conscious segment ( low to middle income ) while a few cater to the more affluent, quality conscious groups, but is "addressable TV" really able to target all of these segments individually while excluding the rest? Somehow I doubt it?

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., June 17, 2016 at 12:50 p.m.

    @Ed Papazian, I think it depends on the brand, the category and the consumer. But I for one would agree that, generally speaking, there is some overlap.

  3. dorothy higgins from Mediabrands WW, June 17, 2016 at 3:33 p.m.

    Would like to know the cost of each effort. Unclear otherwise. 

  4. Claudio Marcus from FreeWheel, June 20, 2016 at 8:06 a.m.

    From an addressable TV advertising perspective it is possible to use anonymized consumer data (such as NCS) that is matched via a trusted third party (such as Experian) to target households that have made purchases for a specific brand within a category or bought other brands within the category (but not the specific brand). That enables the type of detailed, reliable measurement that is outlined in the research discussed in the article. It is also worth pointing out that related media insights, such as what networks/dayparts/programs better deliver unduplicated reach and/or sales for the brand and/or category buyers can be used in broader TV campaign planning.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, June 20, 2016 at 9:21 a.m.

    Claudio, if you profile types of households based on third party marketing data as being either brand or category buyers, then use set-top-box household set usage ratings to determine which shows index high among each group, that doesn't mean that you are sending commercials exclusively to category or brand users. All you are doing is assuming that this is the case because a higher than normal share of such homes fall into either category. For example, if 45% of all homes are category users and a particular demo subset comes in at 65% it indexes high---144. So you target it. Since you don't have specific informtation about each home in this subset, don't you assume that they all are category users and send all of them your commercial? As a result, 35% of your ads are going to non-category users. Isn't that right?

    Also, how do you know if you are reaching the right person per household since the big data source for TV ratings can't tell you who in the home is viewing?

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