Cross-media measurement is not a new trending topic anymore. It is increasingly bedding into the daily activities of the media industry and is now more business-critical than ever before. In this article, you can learn how to embark on your cross-media audience measurement journey and how it will generate business value along the way.
The current media landscape holds challenges for everyone involved. First of all, it is extremely difficult for media buyers to get a 360-degree view of the audiences they are reaching across digital and linear TV. It is frankly very complex to pull it all together when campaigns run in multiple digital channels and inside various walled gardens. And there is still no industry-wide cross-media audience measurement currency.
However, despite the absence of an established currency, cross-media measurement solutions are available today. We are one of them.
Now, whilst the available cross-media measurement solutions can help buyers navigate their audience investments in the fragmented media landscape, it’s important that one does not rush headlong into measurement and expect instant audience insight ‘nirvana’. Audience measurement generates a lot of data, so knowing what you are looking for before you start measuring is crucial!
On the other side of the ‘transaction’, i.e. for media sellers, we see audience measurement primarily helping them overcome challenges of value perception with buyers. There are some excellent content and audience offerings in the digital AV space, but until they have third-party audience measurement, buyers may be hesitant to maximise the media investment these media may deserve.
For example, we are seeing emerging/developing CTV platforms embrace audience measurement, as it helps them verify their audience offering in the ‘language of TV’, which in particular appeals to advertisers seeking quality and accountable reach on top of linear TV.
How to start
Before you embark on your cross-media measurement journey, the first step is to know your destination – i.e. what you want to gain with the measurement. This is actually often simpler for the sellers of AV media because their aim is nearly always to prove their (video) reach is additive to a TV media plan.
However, for buyers and marketers, there may be several different outcomes that are being sought – more reach, lower overall price per reach point, better on-target percentage, increasing effectiveness, and of course, more sales! As mentioned before, we encourage buyers to pick one primary KPI to focus on initially.
Based on recent conversations with brand marketers, data accuracy is a growing focus as their initial reason for measuring digital audiences. And this interest is currently heightening as they are acutely mindful of how data will (or will not!) work in the cookieless era. In other words, marketers and buyers are asking: is the data we use accurate? Are the audiences we are buying actually who we are reaching? And to what extent?
This is a simple yet potentially very valuable starting point because marketers can quickly benefit from the measurement data. By understanding which impressions reach the desired audience and which do not (so are wasted, arguably), savings can be made by reducing campaign pressure on low indexing data sets or publishers and optimising to those delivering the right audiences. Once advertisers and agencies know that they are using accurate data and on-target publishers, it is natural to look at optimising the overall on-target reach of the campaign across as many channels as possible.
By improving the overall reach of the desired target audience and looking at the cost of that reach by partner/channel, business-shifting optimisations can be made. Ensuring maximum exposure to the widest possible and most relevant audience at the best possible price is marketing 101. We’ve seen clients enjoy material reductions in overall on-target contact price by measuring cross-media audiences and planning campaign optimisations based on those learnings.
And on the other side of this, CTV sellers and publishers who prove the strengths of their audiences through measurement attract more ad dollars.
What to measure
When deciding what to measure, the key is to define what is important to the advertiser or agency.
If you have a product that anyone can buy, for example, a broad household insurance product or a product like toothpaste, the most important thing is likely to cost-effectively reach the maximum possible number of consumers with your message. If a consumer has somehow never seen your ad, it’s extremely likely they will never buy the product because they don’t know it exists. Therefore, the question is: which partners are helping me find new consumers who are currently not seeing our advertising?
The outcome is understanding which media partners are adding incremental reach to the campaign, thus improving the chances of new customer acquisition.
If your product targets a more specific audience, for example, female beauty products, it is probably best, initially, to look at the accuracy of the media and data you are using to reach the female audience first.
Half of the adult population is female, so measurement can be used to optimise the percentage of the ads reaching the female population. If data is used, but the in-target reach is under 50%, something is very wrong! The aim is to improve the on-target percentage from 50% upwards through a program of measurement, analysis and optimisation.
When to stop
The end of your measurement journey depends on your goals, but we would (perhaps obviously!) say that the journey has no limit. More optimisations are always possible with further measurement, even in the simplest use cases such as accuracy. The principle is really the same as an athlete who doesn’t just stop training when they beat their last record – they always want faster, higher, stronger, so they train and improve even more!
For instance, one of our clients used measurement to verify they are achieving 88% in-target reach for the age groups 25-44, measuring just their digital audiences, which is pretty good accuracy! They then found a significant additional 13% incremental reach by measuring and optimising TV + (relevant) digital AV campaigns. You can find more information about our customer success stories in our cases section.
Once the ‘basics’ are mastered (accuracy, incremental reach growth, optimised price per in-target reach point and so on), the natural next frontier is effectiveness. After all, reach, accuracy and optimised media price are really just diagnostics and levers in the overall implementational machine of marketing, the aim of which is nearly always to sell more stuff!
So understanding the intent-and sales-driving effect of better optimised media activations is where our clients tend to ‘travel’ next, often using brand and sales lift studies on top of their reach measurement program.
Also, we are seeing client multi-layer insights by working with a few different measurement specialists for further marketing calibration and optimisation. A very natural cousin to reach measurement is attention measurement – thus applying deterministic quality metrics to the reach measurement – because reach can only really be effective if people see enough of the ad!
A win-win for everybody
In our opinion, the whole ecosystem benefits from cross-media measurement and the data and insight it throws up.
Sellers can better understand, market and proof-point their audiences, marketers can optimise investment and sales, and agencies and consultancies can analyse the data and use their expertise to turn it into business-shifting advisory.
And for those of us building today’s audience measurement systems, we enjoy rising to the challenge of innovating on top of long-standing market research techniques in a privacy-first and highly fragmented marketplace!
Want to learn more about cross-media measurement and start planning your journey? Then reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.