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Data Integration Optimizes Advertising Media Mix

6 minute read | July 2010
Correction: On July 13, this version updated the original posting in which a chart was mislabeled, stating the impact of TV and Online provides greater influence in motivating awareness and action vs. “TV alone” when in fact the chart was referring to the impact of the two screen vs. “Online alone.” The current chart accurately reflects the finding in this analysis and demonstrate the power of these two platforms.

by Howard Shimmel, Senior Vice President, Media Product Leadership, and Scott McKinley, Executive Vice President, Advertiser Solutions

SUMMARY: Portability. Rich content. Interactivity. User control. Preferred viewing environment. When it comes to media, consumers want what they want, when they want it. Advertisers can respond to this dynamically changing market by adopting a highly integrated approach to media planning. The key to efficient planning is aligning media inventory with precisely defined consumer segments that go beyond demographics to encompass client-specific profiles and evaluating media from a consumer centric, holistic fashion, to allow you to optimize your cross-platform plans.

Thanks to WiFi and mobile devices, consumers have evolved into anytime, anywhere media mavens, matching media to their viewing preference. TV is still the 800 pound gorilla of media consumption, with viewers glued to their sets over 158 hours per month. In fact, TV viewing has increased more than an hour a day in the last decade, far outpacing any other major media option.

Despite television’s stranglehold on eyeballs, change is in the airwaves. Nearly 40% of people in homes with Internet access reported using the TV and Internet simultaneously at least once each week; multi-tasking online to blog, Facebook, Tweet or to instant message a buddy.

Two Screens are Better than One

Turns out two media are better than one in moving consumers from awareness to action. In a Nielsen  study of direct-to-consumer drug advertising, exposure on TV and online was more than twice as likely to prompt patients to ask their physician about the drug than Internet alone.

The study also found that premium in-stream video ads which aired as part of a full-length TV episode online generated significantly higher levels of ad recall and brand recognition than other Internet video, display or standard TV ads.

Ad Spending

Despite its rising usage, Internet ad spending represented just three percent of all direct-to-consumer drug advertising in 2009. TV ad spending still represented the majority share with a 66% investment across network, cable, syndicated and spot television. One-fourth of spending was allocated to magazines and 4% to newspapers.

In some industries, like pharmaceuticals, the redistribution reflected more than just the recessionary times. Fewer brands advertised in general, fewer new products launched, and revised FDA guidelines prompted heavier scrutiny of product claims and indications. Stricter rules about indication information resulted in longer spots and higher ad costs overall. In fact, the percent of ads launched with a length greater than 60 seconds nearly tripled as a result of the requirement.

Targeting Progression

In the beginning, there was traditional media targeting and media buying based exclusively on age and gender. As advertisers became more sophisticated, progressive media targeting models added additional variables to the mix such as family profile and lifestyle. Today, an innovative media targeting model fuses the best of all worlds into a single, cross-platform view that allows an advertiser to identify the individual media and cross-media allocations that best reach their intended marketing target.

As example, Nielsen evaluated one national pharmaceutical advertiser who wanted to optimize their media mix by effectively reaching the target audience defined broadly as Males 50+. While Males 50+ is the closest match to the core sufferer target, we know that not every sufferer is over 50 and that not every Male 50+ is a sufferer. With innovative targeting available, Nielsen was able to evaluate media against all sufferers, regardless of age. When evaluating the inventory available on cable and broadcast TV networks, a high amount of discrimination was evident; 28% delivers the sufferer target very well—indexing at 115 against the buying target, while 46% under performs—indexing below 95. Having this view of media—in this case national TV—could provide valuable insights to allow an advertiser to optimize their TV buy.

Likewise, take the case of a drug for treatment of a chronic medical condition. Under the traditional media model that relies on age and gender, less than 0.01 rating points separated two prime time network programs in terms of the traditional age/sex buying demo.  Assuming similar CPMs and unit cost, either show would be equally valuable to an advertiser’s TV plan. However, viewed through the lens of the sufferer target, Nielsen found that one show delivered 0.44 higher ratings than the other program, making that show hugely more valuable.

As a first step in determining whether this advertiser could generate greater yield for their TV spend, Nielsen produced an analysis to determine the distribution of available gross rating points based on how the media indexed against condition sufferers. The research found that 36% of all national TV inventory was very efficient at delivering suffers, with a rating index comparing sufferer rating to total rating, over 115, and 14% was very inefficient, with a rating index below 95.

Nielsen analyzed the actual TV schedule and found that since this target are heavy TV viewers, the original schedule performed well, delivering 554 GRPs for the marketing target against 464 demo GRPs. In spite of that strong performance, when optimizing the media buy against the sufferer target, 4% more target GRPs were generated for the same overall budget.

Cross-Platform Reallocation Results

Being that the Nielsen results show the impact when consumers are exposed to a brand message across platform, we wanted to evaluate the impact on the schedule if dollars were moved from TV to online. Because of the size of the overall campaign, moving dollars from TV to online will only generate small amounts of incremental reach and effective reach. The larger impact of moving dollars to online is capitalizing on cross-platform media synergies—the percent of sufferers who were reached on both TV and online more than doubles, from 7.5% of the patient universe to 18.1%.

Consumer engagement proved a critical element influencing advertising effectiveness. Nielsen research proves that when viewers pay more attention to a program (engagement), they also pay more attention to the advertising that airs within the program. Adding program engagement and sufferer development indices into the buying equation, the most effective network TV schedule included drama/adventure, situation comedy and reality programming, which in turn reduced the media cost by 35% per person.

Matchless Model

To each media, its time, place and audience. TV has its greatest influence at the early stages of the decision cycle, making consumers aware, creating interest, and stimulating product desire. The Internet feathers into the buying process when interested consumers gravitate to the web to learn more about the product, investigate size, color, flavor and other options, download coupons, instructions or warranties, and often, to make the actual purchase.

The data integration model reflects the realities of today’s media environment, meeting consumers on the media they view, on the device they prefer, with the right messages, in the right program context, delivering an optimal, overall consumer experience.

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