Although they’re still a work in progress, the rapid, granular ad performance metrics available in digital media have unquestionably raised the accountability stakes for television, and all traditional media.
One result has been the emergence of new independent media or marketing attribution companies. Alison Lohse, co-founder and COO of one such ad tech firm, Conversion Logic, shared some thoughts about the roles of attribution platforms in the shifting television metrics landscape with Audience Buying Insider.
How would you describe traditional television
Until relatively recently, marketers had two options for measuring impact: audience reach for brand advertising or 800# conversions for direct response advertising. Both provide some data to help gauge the effectiveness of advertising spending, but both also leave a lot of holes, requiring guesswork.
In terms of reach, the industry has long been aware of the limitations of relying on panel measurement to report on how many people tune in. The single, often inaccurate data point has been how many viewers may or may not have seen the ad, depending on whether they were actually watching, got up to get a snack, or changed the channel.
The advent of the DVR and other technologies designed to circumvent ads has made reach even more challenging as a metric. And even when it works, reach measures a value that’s several steps removed from measuring conversions to sales, or other desired customer behaviors. Television advertising is indisputably effective, but it’s notoriously hard to measure how exposure translates to sales — and almost impossible to say which ad, on what date, on what channel, during which show, led to a specific conversion or other action.
In contrast, measuring the impact of direct response TV ads, or infomercials, used to be a clear-cut matter of counting the direct sales generated by driving people to an 800 number.
But the Internet immediately altered that paradigm. Now, even if you manage to get people to watch some of an infomercial, amid the myriad screens competing for their attention, the touchpoints to conversion have multiplied. A consumer may now watch five minutes of a 30-minute infomercial, check out the company’s Web site a few days later, and make the purchase via smartphone the following weekend.
In any scenario, brand or direct response, the impact of TV on sales has become increasingly hard to measure accurately.
marketers and agencies are impatient with excuses like “the paths to purchase have become more complex.” They want greater accountability now.
Marketing executives now expect data and insights from TV advertising to match the level of detail and precision delivered by digital campaigns. Television no longer has “permission” to be a nebulous, high-funnel tactic. And with today’s big data, innovative technology and cross-channel modeling, there’s no reason that TV can’t be as accountable as its digital counterparts.
terms, how do marketing attribution platforms attempt to address these demands for precise, timely metrics?
Today’s technology uses complex data science to determine the correlation between exposure and purchase. Drawing from digital, time series, decay rate and residual effect models, attribution solutions go beyond media-mix modeling to show proven interaction effects between and across all marketing channels employed.
The methodologies and processes are complicated, but the results are straightforward.
Attribution puts new metrics around old media, including channel-on-channel lift; cross-channel exposure; customer journey insights; attributed performance by channel; overall conversion lift; short- and long-term TV spot impact; time- and creative-based analyses; and baseline definition for improved model learning and crediting.
In a nutshell, attribution provides the granularity and the filters to easily understand what’s working in television, where, and for how long, so that marketers can use that information to further improve results.