Measuring Success From The Big Screen

Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar national ad campaign or a few weeks on local cable, TV is a huge piece of many travel marketers’ advertising strategy. In either case, it isn’t cheap. And knowing that, we should be asking, is it effective?

Sources predicted an ad during this year’s Super Bowl cost around $5 million. Obviously, the Super Bowl is an exception to the average cost, but that doesn’t change the fact that TV is a hefty investment for advertisers. 

To make the most of those investments, brands need tangible ways to measure the success of their campaigns. 

Fortunately, with the convergence of video content across devices and the innovations we’ve made in the TV and digital advertising market, we now have the tools to connect the dots and measure success throughout the entire sales funnel—from the abstract brand awareness to the hard-lined sales metrics. 



Brand lift 

It’s important to remember that, when used as a brand-building mechanism, TV campaigns don’t always result in an immediate conversion. But that doesn’t mean we can’t measure success. 

Automotive ads are a great example—many sources estimate that people purchase a new car only every four years or so. That means there are about three years and six months when a Ford ad isn’t going to result in a consumer making an immediate, on-lot car purchase. Yet, in order to keep Ford top-of-mind for that consumer, the brand needs to continually invest in brand-building initiatives. 

The same logic applies to travel brands. 

This month, both Expedia and Turkish Airlines purchased one of those previously discussed, highly expensive Super Bowl ads. And while many viewers of the big game probably are planning a trip for the immediate coming months, there are also many that aren’t. It’s important for Expedia and Turkish Airlines to remain top-of-mind to all those consumers who will eventually need their services, even if they don’t need them immediately. 

In these cases, brands need a way to measure the intangibles. To do so, they turn to brand lift studies. Using these studies, advertisers can measure things like: Did viewers remember my ad? Do they view my brand more favorably after seeing my TV campaign? Do they prefer my brand over a competitor? 

By digging into the measurable metrics that occur between the first touch and the final conversion, brands can evaluate their strategies and make informed decisions about how to optimize their plans. 

Sales lift 

Conversely, many TV ads actually are meant to drive an immediate response. This category of advertising commonly referred to as “direct response” is less frequent in TV campaigns but can be very impactful in driving revenue. 

Imagine an airline running an “end of winter” promotion or an amusement park offering tickets at discount for a certain three-day holiday weekend. In these situations, the brand is looking for immediate online conversions and needs a way to determine if their TV campaign caused those conversions to happen. 

Two traditional ways people have done this are using surveys and unique destinations: 

  • Surveys: Using a questionnaire at the time of conversion, brands can ask consumers where they heard about the specific promotion they’re purchasing. These surveys can be as broad as just asking about the channel (online, TV, mobile), or as detailed as asking which specific television network they saw the ad on. In either case, the brand is receiving measurable data for determining ROI. 
  • Unique Destination: Another simple way of measuring ROI from a TV campaign is to send consumers to a unique destination that is listed only on that specific ad. Whether it’s a phone number or an original URL, creating a destination that only one ad points to is a way of confirming that specific ad drove the conversion. 

Now, with the advance in technology and innovation, we can apply more sophisticated techniques to measuring granular cross-screen exposure and success. 

Brands can now use unique consumer identifiers to identify the same person on multiple devices—including their TV and the PC or mobile device where they made their final conversion. In this case, the brand can pull their own data to determine the path to purchase. 

For instance, a hotel brand could see that someone booked a hotel on their website and then use technology to know if that person was first exposed to their TV ad campaign. 

Using these more advanced solutions, brands can attribute different value to the different channels where an ad was seen before the conversion (multi-touch attribution). They can also employ more complex measurements such as whether or not a consumer actually visited a location. 

Regardless of the tactic, measurement is key to optimizing advertising strategies. And with today’s offerings, it’s value left on the table to not measure your efforts.

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