Behavioral Trends Shape Marketing Spends

THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN Retail Merchandiser Jan/Feb 2015

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By David G. Becker

You’d have to be living on Mars to think that the advertising tactics of yesterday are the same tactics that reach and engage the youth of today.  It’s important to be aware (it’s almost impossible not to) that the media landscape is changing before our very eyes, that young consumers are in complete control over their content, that audiences are consuming their information through multiple screens, and that an engaged consumer trumps an exposed consumer.

So, how does this apply to driving consumers in store to buy your product? Well, if you’re a buyer, no matter what category you’re buying, you are concerned, and rightly so, with how your on-shelf products are being marketed.  

In today’s fast paced, high stakes, consumer retail environment, smart marketing pays off. And not so smart marketing can siphon your marketing dollars and eat away at your bottom line.

For products perched on the toy and consumer electronic shelves, and when targeting today’s youth, we are clearly living in a TV/ Digital world. According to Kantar Media, in 2014 alone, Online Video spend was up 229%, while Banner spending was up 1.4%, with advertising dollars clearly shifting from TV to the new formats.  Ignore it?  Or embrace it.

Within your media mix (the media touch points you use to reach your targeted consumer), it is important to measure each medium and analyze how your advertising message reaches, connects, engages and, ultimately, drives your target audience to the retail environment to buy. You can assign attribution modeling to determine which touch point gets credit for the conversion or sale. 

Does It Count As An Impression If It Doesn’t Make One?
Before we can get the consumer to buy, however, we first have to reach them and engage them.  But how can we engage them, if they don’t see our message? What I’m talking about is viewability, a close cousin to measurability, and a critical term in the forefront of today’s marketing vernacular.  A Viewable Impression, as defined by Wikipedia, is “a metric of ads which were actually viewable when served (in part, entirely or based on other conditional parameters)”.Understanding the term can help you to drive ROI.   Ignore viewability, or turn a blind eye, and you might be flushing your media money down the toilet.  Whatever media you choose to embrace, remember that viewability matters.  It is measurable metric, and a reliable one, providing you slow down long enough to take its temperature, measure it, and adjust your spending.

While you might believe that your campaign is generating X number of targeted impressions, your viewability metrics might tell a different story.  While impressions might look good on paper, a look under the hood might reveal that the messaging you are paying for is not actually reaching your audience.   Your digital units (banners and videos) might be fraudulent in click reporting or simply living beneath “the fold”, never to be seen by the audience that you are paying to see it. 

There are numerous accurate measuring tools that actually measure which ads are being viewed and which ads are not.  Your media agency should be subscribing to these tools.  If they are not, you might be seeing only half the picture.  Imagine if a video is playing beneath the fold, on auto play.  On paper, it looks as though that video was viewed by your target consumer.  But the reality is they never saw your video. Unfortunately, you paid for it.  And you are now working off a false set of delivery metrics.  It’s no wonder your click through rate is low.  They never saw your ad!

Google Says What?
Google recently shocked the trades with a report that “more than 56% of ad impressions are not seen and that an ad served does not necessarily equal an ad viewed”.  Yikes!  ComScore reports that “more than half of display ads , 54% to be precise, do not have the opportunity to be seen by a consumer”.  These are startling, sobering numbers.  But with the right tools, and the right team, you can optimize your campaign, in real time, and lessen the units that are not viewed and optimize them to more viewable placements.

Viewability is not limited to Digital.  It is alive and well in Television, too.  Just because your audience is measured doesn’t mean they are tuned in to your message.  While TV spots control 100% of your screen, TV viewers are sometimes distracted, multi-tasking and disengaged.  This is yet another reason why multi messaging advertising, across platforms, is pivotal to a successful marketing campaign.

When it comes to marketing to kids (and moms, too), TV spots are delivered in terms of ratings, measured by Nielsen.  Now audience viewing is place shifted and time shifted.  Recent ratings on most of the kid networks are down, while overall audience levels are running steady.  This is because more screens have come into play, as our kids are watching the same content from TV to PC to Tablet to Mobile to Console Gaming Systems, to the device of the moment.

When building your next media campaign, remember that “behavioral trends shape marketing spends.”  Cheap impressions are not always the best impressions.   Focus on the tightest targeting possible.  Reach and engage your audience with highly targeted, multi screen messaging.  Prioritize impressions that reach a real user and have a chance to make a real impact.  Take the temperature of your campaign….and adjust.   Your product sales will be better because of it.