What Next In Integration?
A new slant on measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns run across multiple touchpoints.
By Chris Sloane, Ohal
I’ve noticed recently that someone is following me. He was there when I waited for a bus this morning, and I glimpsed him at the station on the way to work. Even whilst watching TV at home I can see an angry blond man wearing a tuxedo. He seems to be everywhere I go and I’m pretty sure it’s not a coincidence.
In fact it isn’t. It’s the latest integrated marketing campaign advertising James Bond’s adventures in ‘Skyfall’ and evidence that even as the media landscape becomes ever more fragmented, the desire to run an integrated campaign across a range of touchpoints pervades. In many (most!) ways this is a good thing – numerous pieces of research have indicated that the impact of running a campaign across multiple platforms tends to result in higher overall sales and a superior return on investment (ROI). It does, however, lead to increased difficulties in splitting out the impact that individual elements of the campaign are contributing to its overall success. To solve this conundrum, we need some clever thinking.
Many companies now use some form of econometric (or marketing-mix) modelling in an attempt to attribute their sales between different levers - both those factors over which they have control and those which they do not. Econometrics is an established measurement technique which has been used for over 40 years. In many cases it can give accurate and useful information regarding the key drivers of sales using a simple representation of how media impacts consumer purchase intentions, for example an ad-stock transformation or similar.
However, whilst econometrics can be a great way of identifying the impact of each of the separate levers used in a campaign, this becomes more difficult when a message is communicated across multiple channels at similar times. There are several measurement challenges which need to be overcome in a more integrated world:
- First of all, when examining how consumers might be responding to an integrated campaign it’s hard to attribute causality as the data often “look” the same. If Daniel Craig appears on TV, Bus Sides and The Tube all at once how can we say which exposure has made me buy a ticket to the cinema on Friday?
- Secondly, the confidence we will have in each of the estimates of media effectiveness often falls below a reasonable significance threshold – this means that there is more uncertainty about the true impact of each media and we can be less confident in taking action based on the results.
- Finally, and this is true of most measurement techniques, marketing levers against which spend is low can be difficult to split out from their bigger spending cousins - this doesn’t mean that these activity have no impact, it’s just that we can’t be sure what that impact is.
At Ohal, we have developed a more nuanced methodology by using a model of advertising that allows for an effective frequency approach to media consumption. Frequency theory suggests that consumers will respond to an advert after a certain number of exposures have been seen. For the marketer, this is useful information because we can estimate this frequency requirement through econometric modelling and provide a framework in which the laydown of a single media schedule can be optimised for a given set of constraints.
However, using frequency theory in a multimedia environment is more complex because it means trying to work out how exposures across different media can be compared. For example, it seems unlikely that reading a small print advert is equivalent to viewing a 60 second TV spot, or that an individual exposure to a radio campaign would be identical to one outdoor impact. We need to make an adjustment to the model to ensure that frequency theory remains a useful and attractive framework.
Our approach is to weight the input data of the different media, e.g. GRPs, and test for the effectiveness of each channel (and the overall frequency requirement) in an econometric model. As individual consumers have a range of exposure to different media, each member of the target audience will receive more or less exposures based on their propensity to consume different media, which can be calculated based on media consumption surveys. The range of estimated weights and overall frequency that most closely fits the actual sales response gives us a model of how advertising works within our target audience.
There are many advantages to the marketer in this approach to measuring an integrated campaign:Measurement
From a measurement perspective there are two obvious benefits. The first is that by testing for a response that best characterises real-world behaviour, we can accurately deconstruct the sales uplift into its constituent parts and individual media can be measured and ROI tracked no matter how integrated the campaign. The second is that it better accounts for the impact of low levels of media expenditure, giving the marketer a better chance of understanding the impact of small scale tests.
* Integrated marketing campaigns present particular challenges to a marketing mix modelling agency.
* These can be solved using an approach to measurement where different media combine in a joint coverage approach to frequency theory.
* The marketer will benefit through a clear understanding of each media’s ROI and an improved approach to planning and optimisation.
A joint-coverage approach to integration explicitly identifies the synergy that exists between media. For example it can become more efficient to use a secondary media as it is possible to generate additional reach to consumers who will never gain high levels of cover through one medium alone. Planning & Optimisation
By explicitly taking into account how consumers are reacting to the joint exposure of an integrated campaign, we can plan more efficiently across different channels and calculate optimal spend levels and flighting across the media mix.Social Media Understanding
As our understanding of campaign integration is built up from an individual level, it allows for the inclusion of social media advertising into the approach. If we can simulate the type of network that a message is being propagated through, we can include social media activity in our joint approach, and test for the impact of this activity on sales.
The further integration of advertising is a positive development, both from an agency and client perspective. Clients can hope to see an increase in their ROI from running joint campaigns, and agencies can be at the heart of an approach that is delivering better value for their customers. For those tasked with assessing marketing effectiveness, the possibilities are numerous: by embracing the new ways in which consumers are responding to advertising there is an opportunity to increase the value of their insight and provide a holistic understanding of media accountability. The key is moving away from a simple ‘ad-stock’ or single media frequency approach of media effectiveness, to a joint coverage perspective that explicitly takes into account the importance of media interactions.
And that angry, blond, tuxedo-clad man? Eventually he got me. I’m going to see Skyfall at the weekend having been exposed to just the right combination of media. He’ll be expecting me. Author
Chris Sloane, Partner. Ohal
Chris joined Ohal in 2004 and has modelling experience in a variety of markets, including the US, UK and Eastern Europe.