Shedding Light on Digital Campaigns In Progress

By: Monica Brown & Phil Ripperger

The click is dead. While it was an important measure in the earliest days of the commercial Web, it has become meaningless, if not a negatively correlated data point. During the past year we’ve had multiple opportunities to present on the subject of how online ads are moving sales in store. Core to these presentations is work we’ve done with several of our advertising technology partners using panel measures to course correct campaigns.

Since moving product off the shelf is a crucial metric for CPG digital marketing campaigns, IRI has developed the capability to help media buyers, publishers and CPG marketers see how their online campaigns are impacting sales while their campaigns are still underway. Our approach shows how sales from households exposed to a campaign at a single point in time may have resulted from a digital campaign, and allows decision makers to modify their tactics to improve near-term ROI.

IRI segments sales lift across any number of campaign tactics such as audience segments, ad creative, publishers, formats (e.g. display, video, search, etc.) and frequency. The statistically tested indices demonstrate which tactics may impact household purchases during the campaign period. Also included in this analysis is a directional read on the total campaign performance.

IRI can complete an analysis in approximately 7-10 days, enabling teams to refocus a campaign still in progress. While ROI studies are valuable and provide deep insights, they can take weeks to complete, and by the time results are in hand, the campaign can be over.

Campaigns we measure typically vary in length from a few weeks to a year. At least 50 buyers should be exposed to campaign tactics. If multiple publishers are involved, we will want at least 50 buyers per publisher. If one or more publishers haven’t accumulated at least 50 buyers, that in itself is useful to know, especially if the other publishers have accumulated 50 or more.

We also look at impressions generated versus purchases. If several publishers deliver approximately the same number of impressions, but one publisher isn’t generating buys, there’s value to probing deeper. This might indicate the manufacturer should stop buying from the one publisher, or it could simply mean that publisher started its campaign later than the others.

Let’s walk through an actual campaign for a manufacturer’s breakfast food product.

Multiple Measures Offer a 360° View

The food analyzed is a year round product, so our measurement period was the four weeks of the campaign versus the four previous calendar weeks. Our buyer sample included nearly 600 of the 11,000+ exposed panel households.

A quick snapshot revealed that dollars per household for the exposed (test) group increased $0.08 compared to the non-exposed (control) group. There were also increases in penetration (17.5 percent) and dollars spent per occasions (6.2 percent).

Creative optimization analysis revealed that of the three ad creatives, creative A was the most effective, over indexing when compared with total targeted in dollars per household and penetration.

Demographic analysis revealed that Hispanic households were impacted slightly more by the campaign than the rest of the households targeted.

Clearly, from this abbreviated example, directional changes to this campaign might include increased focus on Hispanic households, and potentially an increase in spending on creative A.

Our campaign optimization capabilities offer a very valuable snapshot that can demonstrate if sales are moving in a positive or negative direction, enabling decision makers to adjust their strategies mid-campaign, potentially resulting in improved ROI from a post-campaign, fully modeled (i.e. controlling for price and trade activity) analysis.

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