For too long, media executives have been forced to rely on indirect information to judge a campaign's post-buy effectiveness. If sales or awareness goes up, things must be working (though nonadvertising factors affect such measurements). If all gross rating point goals are fulfilled, spending is a success (though it only proves people saw the ads).
These metrics are important. But it's also critical to look at what advertising is meant to impact: consumer behavior. Thanks to the world of cross-media analytics tools, reliable measures that can calculate true payback of media investments finally exist.
In the new world of media analytics, on- and offline data are married to create an amazingly accurate picture of what a campaign is accomplishing. Site analytics, competitive media buys, ad server stats, CRM, store sales information and traditional ratings results are integrated with the agency's media purchase data to create multisource insight into campaign effectiveness.
New, dedicated analytics products let researchers and planners not only evaluate campaigns post-buy but also monitor them as they unfold using near real-time data. That same information can be used to model alternatives, demo hypothetical buys and make effective mid-campaign changes.
Web analytics play a key role in the new cross-analytics paradigm. But it isn't enough to look solely at the client's Web site activity. As many as 20 discrete data sources may be necessary to generate the insights that contribute to effective changes.
To evaluate and determine the drivers of consumer activity within the media mix, advertisers need access to granular data across disparate systems to formulate a perspective on creative and messaging effectiveness.
Advertisers are already benefiting from online/offline data integration. In one case, a major health care services provider targeted $100 per lead to reduce the cost of obtaining qualified leads through advertising, decreasing its cost-per-lead by 21% in the first month and maintaining an average 13% decrease over the next four months.
The cost-per-lead improvement, combined with a more effective local television buy, produced millions of dollars in additional revenue. Measurement of lead flow and prediction of future revenue generation as the leads flowed through the conversion process garnered further efficiencies. That's the kind of result clients hunger for—and agencies can now reliably generate with the right technology.
Today's multisource analytical tools also provide objectivity and credibility for media personnel. Instead of planners analyzing media buys—a potential conflict of interest—these comprehensive, exhaustive solutions are neutral. All anyone wants is the simple truth about how well a campaign is performing or whether a shift in strategy is warranted. Advanced cross-media analytics can finally provide both.
John Bauschard is COO of MediaBank, a provider of integrated procurement technology and advanced analytics to the advertising industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.