For many brand marketers and agencies, springtime kicks off oneof the most exciting and challenging seasons of the year: the TV upfronts. It's that time when advertisers place their highest-profile and most expensive bets, as they begin to draw up a game plan for the coming year.
According to media watchers, brands will commit something in the range of $20 billion to network and cable TV ads during the next few months of negotiations. If you're one of those brands considering locking in premium upfront commitments—to the Grammys, the NFL, "Young Sheldon," "This Is Us," or new projects from Amy Poehler or Dick Wolf—you should also be thinking about offline measurement.
As witnessed by that continued flow of upfront dollars, television remains the king of reach and engagement, especially through these top properties. But is reach and engagement enough? Is your TV advertising—linear or addressable—actually driving customers to your stores?
In the digital age, we shouldn't have to rely on vague metrics like viewership when assessing TV's value. TV advertising needs to be held more accountable for delivering results—and it's no more important than when discussing those big, expensive upfront buys. Now that advertisers can buy TV inventory based on audiences, rather than the more generic demographics of the past, the last piece of the puzzle is the ability to connect viewing to offline activity.
For the past two years, the industry has been talking about effectively measuring TV's impact in the offline world. Now it's no longer talk. Footfall attribution provides the missing link in understanding how your TV campaigns are performing against your target audiences. Although we live in a digital world where e-commerce is growing, the vast majority of purchases still happen in brick-and-mortar stores. Footfall attribution uses location data to map TV viewership to real-world visits.
Footfall attribution allows brand marketers and agencies to look at the offline impact of both linear TV and addressable or smart TV programming. Footfall attribution can help determine brand uplift, or what is known in offline measurement as an increase in the number of visits to your stores following exposure to your ad.
At Cuebiq, we recently launched our TV Attribution solution. One of our very first campaigns came from a leading QSR chain, which used our solution to identify TV programming—in this case, Spanish-language and weekend programming, specifically movies—to understand what was most efficient in reaching consumers who then actually visited its restaurants. Our solution revealed that those TV buys were connected to visit uplift, converting viewers to visits. This type of TV measurement gives buyers the ability to prove the value of their investments and to identify the best types of TV inventory that drives in-store visits for future campaigns.
But in measuring the link between TV ads and offline activity, it's also very important to weed out fake visits by measuring "dwell time." The most accurate and reliable way to count visits is through a double-verified approach (an approach we use at Cuebiq). First we leverage the accuracy and precision of our privacy-compliant location data to establish a visit to a brand location. Then we determine the dwell time for each visit to filter out the noise of other consumers who may be merely passing by in order to weed out fake visits.
For example, five minutes at a coffee shop might be a true visit, but five minutes at a movie theater is not. A double-verification process gives an advertiser a more accurate picture when measuring ROI. Understanding that consumers are actually spending time at a location—versus just passing by—is key to effectively measuring offline impact.
One last thing to consider as you view upfront presentations and enter into negotiations: Make sure to maximize your investment by holding these big TV buys as accountable as possible. Consider the value of an independent measurement source, one that is network-agnostic, neither promoting nor selling TV time. A true third-party and network/media-agnostic measurement partner will provide unbiased result—giving you a true look at your TV investments.
Measuring the offline impact of your TV ads can complete your cross-channel view of the offline consumer journey by assessing the impact of the full media mix—digital, out-of-home and now TV. This new level of cross-channel measurement is also giving TV networks a new way to prove their offline value, and marketers like you a chance to employ a more digital approach to buying and evaluating the impact of TV time.