While the Eicoff agency is best-known for direct response TV, its client base also includes more general advertisers that use standard reach and frequency metrics to evaluate television ROI.
Still, they all look to the agency for a “performance-driven” approach, in the fundamental sense of a focus on achieving ROI and KPI objectives, says SVP/media group director Eileen Bousquet.
“Our DNA as an agency was in DRTV, and that’s still a big part of what we do, so even with more general advertisers, we always look through the lens of how we can quantify how we’re spending the client’s money and what they’re getting in return for it,” Bousquet stressed in a recent interview with Audience Buying Insider.
It follows that “data driven, extremely targeted platforms” that have performance “granularity” built in “have been, and continue to be, of interest to us and our clients,” she says.
No surprise, then, that many Eicoff clients are eager to explore the potential of both addressable television and “programmatic” TV options — the latter, in this case, being defined as targeting within broadcast (non-addressable) television through use of enriched consumer data.
On the programmatic side, while the automated buying aspect continues to evolve, Eicoff clients are attracted by the potential for “modeling out” precise profiles of their target prospects. “How do we define them, and how do we use data to fine-tune that and hone in on them?” sums up Bousquet.
“We’ve tested programmatic quite a bit for both our DR and more general market clients in the last few years,” she reports. “For general clients, we see benefits both in reach extension and building that customized target through data. For DR clients, where we already use a long-tail approach, and we’re assessing based on whether the targeting yields a higher rate of conversion to sales, reach extension is also a significant benefit.”
Eicoff’s clients have seen “some success” in the programmatic environment — including evidence of higher conversion rates —says Bousquet, who confirms that testing in the programmatic arena will continue.
However, over the past year or so, the agency’s clients have been doing more testing in addressable platforms than programmatic. “At this point in time, we’ve found that addressable platforms may be a better fit for some of our clients, and they have an appetite for testing addressable, in particular,” she says.
“With addressable, probably even more than with programmatic, the overall CPM going in is much higher [than traditional broadcast TV] because of the targeting,” she continues. “But in addressable, we’re definitely seeing that the higher expected upfront cost is being offset, to varying degrees, by [higher] conversion rates.”
Direct-response clients, in particular, have an advantage in the form of their rich customer databases. “It makes perfect sense that we’ve found that first-party data is key in building customer profiles, and both addressable and programmatic vendors seem to be stressing that clients seem to see the most success by using first-party data,” she notes.
“Obviously, through continued testing and fine-tuning, we hope to arrive at the best formula for using addressable for a given client, so that it becomes competitive with, or better than, what they can yield with linear TV or other media” — at least on a cost-per conversion or ROI basis, she says.
She adds that although the addressable household universe is growing quickly, and expansion by players including Comcast and Time Warner should accelerate that growth this year, addressable is unlikely to reach the scale of broadcast or replace it. Still, the goal is to hone clients’ addressable strategies and practices so that “we can scale up use as the addressable universe expands,” Bousquet says.
At this stage, neither scale nor pricing issues “would drive us, as an agency, away from testing advanced TV platforms because our clients are looking for ways to use them,” she sums up.
Enabling ‘Halo Effect’ Research
Beyond potential conversion enhancement and reach extension, Eicoff clients see benefits in addressable’s ability to help them explore and better understand the “halo effect” of television, because of the one-to-one trackability factor, Bousquet says.
“We’ve always known that DRTV has an effect on sales that’s not directly trackable back to the advertising — sales and other behavior beyond that we see through the ad’s direct-response device. With DRTV spots, which tend to be longer and more educational, if the message was relevant, the viewers now have those familiarity and education factors and likely some kind of predisposition to take an action when they’re [subsequently] exposed to the product through another channel,” she says.
“So, if you go in with a list of identified consumers, perhaps taken from the client’s database, and serve them messaging in an addressable environment at a predetermined frequency, you can begin to look at how it affected their behavior. Did they become customers through direct mail? Did they go into the client’s site for information, or to make a purchase? That kind of information is very valuable to our clients. It will take a while, but we’re hoping that addressable can help us answer those questions.”
Full Speed Ahead
While clients in the insurance and financial categories have generally been first to test and build on success within addressable, “in the near future, we’re looking to test it with clients in other categories, including home improvement,” Bousquet says.
“A lot of clients are interested, and we do believe that we can use these platforms to reach a more desirable consumer. The numbers look like they have the potential to prove that out. It’s a matter of figuring out the specific pieces — exactly who you want to reach, the best lists or sources, the most efficient way of going about it. And we’re learning with each new test.”