MediaPost Insider Connect: The Road to Montauk — Part Two

While those attending MediaPost’s TV & Video Insider Summit are likely wishing for a continuation of this unseasonably warm weather, one could forgive Sara Johnson and Ashley Evenson for looking ahead to brisker days.


Johnson, integrated marketing manager for Mall of America, and Evenson, director of emerging media and ad solutions at agency Ciceron, are working on the second iteration of a campaign aimed at boosting holiday foot traffic in the nation’s largest mall, with over 520 stores.


Last year, the 5.6 million-square-foot property benefited from a cross-channel initiative, targeting women 25 to 54 and their families. The campaign spanned social, digital, and connected TV inventory that met objectives of improving shopping traffic by 1% during November and December—which also yielded a 2% increase in sales.


Along the way, the executives discovered there was a correlation to advertising efforts and the weather. The campaign and MOA drove better results when it was cold outside—between 32 and 50 degrees. Evenson, who noted that ad frequency increased on such days, told us that consumers who were exposed to messaging on programmatic channels, including connected TVs, Kargo, and Spotify, were more likely to visit under such conditions, rather than when it was “nice outside.”  Added Johnson: “Cold weather inspires hotter foot traffic.”


At the Summit, which will be held at Gurney’s Resort & Spa in Montauk from Oct. 20-23 with a focus on the burgeoning direct-to-consumer arena, top marketers and agency buyers will gather to identify the OTT channels that proffer contextual and behavioral opportunities. They will also assess the various forms of video and storytelling that have resonated thus far with consumers. Panels and case studies, like Mall of America’s, are also on the agenda. Others will examine the role first-party data plays in locating prospects across various video screens and the means by which planners are melding metrics to best measure against campaign executions and KPIs.


As mall foot traffic and frequency of visits improved, the campaign, which earned some 33.8 million impressions and sent more than 158,000 visitors who had seen the ads to the venue, also helped generate a 20% uptick in traffic to Mall of America’s website.  In addition to growth in digital advertising efforts, there were respective increases of 21% and 9% on organic search and direct. Socially, MOA garnered more than 3,000 Facebook fan page additions.


The five-week campaign also provided data in which Mall of America got a read on daily visits. People exposed to the ads on connected TV, Kargo, and Spotify were most likely to visit the property on Thursdays (19%), followed by Friday (17%) and Sunday (16%).

Evenson told us that display drove the most visits, while Spotify was the most cost-effective at 22 cents per visit. “Spotify audio made a difference in creating attention,” she said.


Meanwhile, connected TVs, which included spots that ran on Hulu, Sling TV, Roku, and Pluto TV, carried higher CPMs and prompted a better return in terms of in-mall visit rate percentage.


“Connected TV had higher costs, but more people who saw the ads came to Mall of America,” said Johnson.


She told us that the platform will play a more prominent role in the upcoming campaign and that results from last year’s efforts around the temperature ad-frequency, will inform MOA’s more traditional local media schedule of TV and radio ads during the upcoming holiday period.


Although the budget at press time called for the focus to remain on the local market, Johnson said to stay tuned because Mall of America’s tourism unit is assessing whether to extend the campaign and funding to the 11-state region from which it draws visitors.  


Those attending the Summit in Montauk can expect more details and lessons learned from the executives’ presentation, as well as data from a spring-break campaign that involved many of the aforementioned tactics and also succeeded relative to foot-traffic gain, sales, and other key metrics. “Thanks to innovations and creative solutions in Advanced TV, we’re continuing to see more and more brands exceeding their goals on significant business KPIs like lift in sales, foot-traffic, online traffic, and more,” said Stephanie Scheper, senior director of sales, Tremor Video.


“We’ll be focusing on the role of video a lot at the Summit,” said Evenson. “There aren’t many agencies and clients using video to track offline attribution for this kind of client. It’s exciting to be working with the biggest mall in America.” 


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