Ad Measurement: Collaborate to Win

By Vijoy Gopalakrishnan, Principal, Media Center of Excellence, IRI 

I have come to the point where I can barely remember the last time I was watching TV and not continually distracted by text messages and social media feeds coming through my mobile and tablet devices. This is true even when watching in a group setting (we’ve all got our heads down, scrolling and swiping).

While CMOs know their campaigns are under scrutiny for better return on advertising spend (ROAS), measurement techniques that quantitatively demonstrate whether 1) consumers actually saw the ads and 2) if that led to the desired action haven’t kept up.

This has not gone unnoticed. Advertisers have started talking with their dollars, as some of the world’s largest CPG brands have reduced or reallocated ad spending. Shockwaves spread through the ad world last summer when P&G announced it had cut $140 million in digital advertising in the previous quarter partly because of “ineffective ads.” Despite the cut, P&G still grew its business (which seemed to validate their concern about ineffective ads). JPMorgan Chase slashed the number of sites its programmatic ads run on from 400,000 to just 5,000 and saw “little change in the cost of impressions or the visibility” (of those ads), according to the company’s chief marketing officer.

Despite these challenges, digital ad spending is here to stay – and grow. Advertisers still spent much more on digital than traditional TV in 2017, according to Magna, the research arm of media buying firm IPG Mediabrands. Digital ad spending hit $209 billion worldwide (41% of the market) while TV ad spending brought in $178 billion (35% of the market).

The constant challenge is, how do advertisers make sure their ads do what they are supposed to?

To successfully navigate the highly fragmented media landscape, decision-makers must arm themselves with new media solutions that provide the insights to:

  • enable 1:1 personalization between the advertiser and shopper
  • effectively connect the dots between consumers’ multiscreen viewing and omnichannel shopping habits
  • improve the quality of shopper targeting
  • capture shopper attention with highly relevant, high-value messaging
  • deliver comprehensive and prescriptive results quickly, allowing for in-flight adjustments to messaging, media and other campaign elements

Collaborative Thinking and Common Goals
Media partners must align on improving ROAS as the core objective for measuring the impact of ad spending. Taking maximum advantage of new measurement and optimization models requires advertisers, publishers, networks and agencies to update their internal processes with the objective of increasing transparency and laying the groundwork for improved collaboration.

Ad measurement techniques urgently need a facelift to stay relevant. Marketers must know which specific campaign elements are most effectively activating their target audiences and be able to tie those audiences’ media exposure to sales. Marketers also need real-time insights in order to make adjustments while a campaign is happening to improve overall performance.

If you and your partners are doing this, you already have the ability to tap into new opportunities as they arise. If you’re not, you are very likely throwing some of your advertising dollars straight out the window.

To learn more about how to improve return on advertising spend through more dynamic media campaign measurement, read our paper here and/or contact me at

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