It is no secret that the last year drove significant changes in consumer behavior. It transformed the way we shop, with 75% of U.S. consumers saying that they have tried a new shopping behavior. And most intend to continue that behavior after the pandemic. During this period, consumers also spent more time on digital media, streaming, digital audio, and online gaming.
Despite consumers’ demand for more content—and the increasing complexity of multi-channel distribution—most media companies are still in the early stages of transforming their operations to take advantage of these new realities. And many brands are not confident they can measure results accurately and completely across media types. That’s especially true in the growing connected TV (CTV) and gaming channels.
Additionally, there’s the ongoing need for diligence around brand suitability through solutions that thread the needle between protecting their clients’ brands and driving media effectiveness. Instead of relying on rigid blocklists, evaluations of brand suitability should examine and understand page activity along with context to address continuous content evolution.
All those changes in behavior lead us wondering—how well do we really understand today’s consumer? We need to continue to ask questions about the true impact of ads. We need to ask what we are getting in terms of attention, what messaging resonated with whom, do we know if somebody is paying attention differently on one platform versus another, and what media channels drive sales and store visits.
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently polled marketers to understand which media KPIs are most important. It’s telling that half focused on ad effectiveness. Proactive marketers are taking steps to understand this campaign performance information. These steps include:
Optimize baseline verification measurement
Verification is the baseline to evaluate ad effectiveness. This includes validity and viewability (e.g., is a real ad served to an actual person who can see a relevant ad)? Ads need to be in a suitable environment as defined and controlled by each brand. And ad fraud is a challenge all brands face.
As an example, we recently exposed a publishing site that appeared to be redirecting traffic to three hidden domains with completely different content that is not safe for work (NSFW). The site leverages domain misdirection and context spoofing to commit blatant ad fraud and subvert brand safety measures.
Track engagement and impact
Once you connect your campaign to datasets that reveal meaningful impact, things rightly center around attention. To succeed, marketing campaigns new measures and metrics suitable for gauging cross-channel impact past the baseline of verification. Human, viewable, and brand-safe impressions still set the standard for core measurement. But true brand effectiveness requires deeper evaluation.
Measure across channels
Fluid media consumption habits change how we reach and capture audiences. This shift requires both robust content and multi-channel dissemination. It also calls for the ability to understand how consumers actually pay attention across emerging formats to uncover what real viewing means.
Innovative marketers who plan and experiment with formats beyond traditional social media posts and editorial-style content learn much more. That’s because verification alone won’t tell you about impact post view. To get this insight, marketers are using measurement to evaluate key metrics including:
- How many impressions were relevant?
- How many uploads of the same ad ran to the same viewer?
- Did anyone pay attention?
- Did you capture your audience in the environments where they spend their time?
Evolve and achieve
Effective measurement is a constant evolution. Undoubtedly, results from each campaign can help you continuously refine your digital strategy toward better outcomes. However, without additional insights, advertisers will have performance blind spots regarding true measures of campaign effectiveness.
Proactive measurement and tracking key KPIs will enable advertisers and publishers to determine if viewers are paying attention to an ad (via time on the screen and engagement). Armed with this information, they can establish custom metrics based on business need, and use analysis to help shape future programs