Using Opportunity To See, Engage As Primary Campaign Metrics

Brand and demand: Throughout my entire career in media and marketing, I have viewed these as two sides of the same coin. You identify an audience, you target them, and then you deliver a message that you hope will resonate. 

The way you evaluate performance depends on the metrics you choose, but tactically you are using the same types of media. Some metrics are more focused on branding, and some are more focused on demand generation. The actions you take are derived from those metrics.

In a digital world, we overlook two important metrics for brand development that have downstream impact on demand generation: the opportunity to see and the opportunity to engage.

I wrote about these metrics many years ago, and to be honest, I forgot about them. These days, I find myself resurrecting the discussion around these two metrics as important ways to evaluate brand campaigns in a digital world.

Opportunity to see (OTS) is the number of exposures that a particular audience has to see a specific message in a campaign. It is a good barometer of your estimated coverage against a specific target audience and is a better metric than simply looking at reach.



You calculate OTS by looking at gross reach (the total audience) divided by the net reach (the number of people you reached once). This takes into account a measure of frequency and can help you understand whether your targeting was too narrow or too wide.

The number you come up with enables you to understand how you should adjust your media buying to allow for frequency. I personally like to look at OTS across all digital assets. 

OTS is a standard media metric. I also like OTE, or opportunity to engage -- a more creative metric and one that is not widely adopted by marketers. To me, OTE refers to whether your frequency is high enough to allow your audience to engage with your campaign over time.

If you have a low OTS or low frequency, you are not giving your audience the chance to engage, because you are relying on the message itself to drive an immediate interaction. 

Standard best practices for online and digital state that the optimal frequency to get audience to engage is around 6x.  A frequency of 2 or 3 means your creative has to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

To do that, your creative needs to be controversial, disruptive or loud enough to garner attention immediately. 

You may not be looking to drive a click, but your brand message wants to be noticed, and digital is a cluttered environment.  You need frequency.

OTS is a straight-up media metric. OTE is a media + creative metric and is admittedly more subjective. It requires you to evaluate whether your message is subtle or disruptive. It requires you to establish a point of view on whether you think the creative can drive engagement with a lower frequency or not. 

Whether you are running a brand, demand or brand response (combo) campaign, these are metrics you can use to help you evaluate what is going on. They create insights, and insights are used to drive actions.

And actions are what you are paid to do, after all.

4 comments about "Using Opportunity To See, Engage As Primary Campaign Metrics".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 15, 2021 at 12:25 p.m.

    Good points, Cory. The problem is that without an indication of attentiveness your media planner is dealing with lots of bogus "ad exposure" or "frequency" information. For example a 2-3 frequency in a digital media buy---say for a month---actually is too light to be effective,especially when, in reality, it's really a zero frequency---almost none of the people "reached" paid the slightest attention to any of the 2-3 ads they were "exposed" to. Not that the same problem doesn't apply to TV. It does. A typical brand may think its getting a 65% reach per month with a 260 GRP buy---which translates into an average frequency of 4. Not bad. Right? But in the real world, that buy attained only 100 ad viewing GRPs which generated a 50% reach and an average frequency of 2. Not so good.

  2. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, September 15, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.

    I'll just wait for Tony Jarvis to chime in as regards what OTS is...

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, September 16, 2021 at 5:43 p.m.

    Yes OTS is a key measure.   But I think a stronger correlate to 'action' is LTS (Likeihood-To-See), especially with ever-increasing volume of advertising across a wider range of media.

    OOH is a great example.   How many times have you been in a mall, and walk right past those panels (static or digital) and paid them no attention.   Or driven to work using the same route as every other day and not noticed the billboard.

    Just being in proximity (visibility, audability) is insufficient, but it is a good starting point.   LTS overlays the importance of 'contact'.   Yes you did see that ad, pass the sign etc and made visibile or audible contact.   LTS can not be higher than OTS, but it is a better metric.

    The next layer is 'attention'.   If you don't pay attention then the contact is of diminished value to the advertoser.

    But 'attention' to an ad is not the responsibility of the media owner as they have no control of the quality of the ad rendered on the TV, billboard, radio station., newpaper, magazine, website etc.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 16, 2021 at 7:50 p.m.

    John, while I agree that it's not the duty of the media seller or the medium to get people to be influenced by an ad---one way or the other -----and that the creative hook that is used to capture attention is also out of the medium's control, the way the ad message is presented can influence attentiveness. For example, it's well known that certain positions in a magazine---facing the TOC, for example---perform better than run-of-book ads---and, of course, the sellers often charge more for such space. And in TV the issue of in-break clutter is always at play. The more  messages they cram into a break, the lower the attentiveness per message---even if the execution of the commercial is very clever and engaging. 

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