Jyoti Rambhai
Jul 11, 2024

Is the industry in a ‘paralysis’ of measuring everything?

With hundreds of tech and tools out there, marketers need to find a measurement framework that helps them drive value for the brand and not just measure everything.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

With Google’s cookie deprecation and the emergence of AI, the industry is changing rapidly. Add to that the cost-of-living crisis and global inflation, and marketing budgets have been squeezed for the past year, so it’s no surprise that everyone is looking at measurement in a bid to prove their worth.

I attended Advertising Week Europe a couple of weeks ago, and among the hundreds of marketers that participated in, the hot topic of discussion was measurement. Tony Miller, chair of the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), said in his session that more than 189 measurement tools are available, so “how can anyone get their head around what is meaningful within that?”

The tools fall into four categories measuring business effectiveness, brand, campaign and response.

“I think there's a proliferation and an undressed balance of 69% of everything that we measure is down in the depths of campaign measurement and response metrics,” Miller points out. “We're forgetting about our brands and business. I think when we look at growth opportunities and where the UK as an industry needs to be focused, what really matters are those brands and business metrics.

“We're in this paralysis of measuring it all and we're not really seeing the woods through the trades and it's causing, I believe, a detriment to where the business and industry is going.”

Five to ten years ago TV, radio, out-of-home (OOH) were used more broadly, to reach vast amounts of consumers at a given time and location. With the rise of streaming platforms such as BVOD, AVOD, CTV; programmatic; and digital out-of-home (OOH), even traditional advertising channels are becoming a point of measurement.

Andy Beames, VP enterprise partnerships at Samba TV, told delegates a few years ago there was “something like 1,200 new to TV advertisers that entered the market that year” which “I assume are brands that were previously advertising in the digital and social environments, probably because TV was financially out of reach for them”.

But when TV moved into the realm of digital with addressable linear, different ways of buying and targeting audiences emerged, and these outcome based metrics, Beames said, are familiar to those brands and allowed them to “dip their toe in the water with TV” and that resulted in an influx of new advertisers.

And of course, these new entrants to the market bring with them the expectation of measurement— the need to know what channel will bring them the best ROI—hence the abundance of tools.

Beames added: “[Now] we’ve hit this virtuous cycle of investment, where because measurement gets better, more money comes into the ecosystem.”

Thinking outside of the (search) box

But more importantly, better measurement is fuelled by the rise in the use of AI to optimise campaigns. Google hosted a session on brands using its AI tools to not only achieve more effective measurement, but build deeper customer relationships and produce relevant creative at scale.

Every day, 15% of the searches on Google are completely new—that’s searches the tech giant has never seen before in its 25 years. It’s a huge amount of data and “AI is the only tool that allows you to achieve personalised relevance at unimaginable scale”, explained Sophie Neary, retail MD at Google.

She said: “We’ve been through technology shifts before—to the web, to mobile and even to voice technology. Each shift expanded what people can do with search, and led to new growth. We’re seeing a similar shift happening now with AI. People are embracing all of the new ways to search like voice, text, circle, scribble, and even humming. As a result customer queries have never been more complex.”

A blockbuster challenge on a smaller budget

For example, Odeon Cinemas Group UKI used AI to simplify the structure of their campaigns which resulted in their conversion rate jumping by 43%.

Pippa Ward, senior marketing manager for the Group, said: “The cinema landscape has changed enormously post-pandemic and guest journey and behaviour saw a massive shift to digital-first. 

“We used to rely on walk-ins for the majority of ticket sales but now we see half of our movie-goers pre-booking online. Industry nuances including a massive spike in streaming and the 2023 actor strike has led to a general decline in marketing spend for today’s releases so we really needed to make sure our marketing channels worked as hard as possible for us.”

Previously, Odeon’s strategy was built around volume, targeting the many while keeping spend low; whereas now they have a streamlined AI-powered structure which focuses on value rather than volume.

“By using Google AI smart bidding, then integrating first party data and contextual signals, we reach higher value customers and move away from broad keyword targeting,” Ward added. “Our AI understands nuance at scale—for example if someone is looking for a movie after work versus a family day out on the weekend.

“People are looking at AI like it’s quite a scary thing but our results show that we should definitely listen, be bold and give it a try.”

A matter of priority

It’s clear that measurement is key for marketers; for many their KPIs are based on that and for brands, it’s all about investing in channels that maximise their ROIs. But how do you know which is the most effective?

Well as Miller puts it, it’s finding the “measurement framework” that will “help you drive value” and not measuring everything and anything. And AI can help with that.

Neary added: “With AI-powered tools increasingly available to help brands take advantage across their media, measurement and creative, the work we all do is being fundamentally remade, so if 2023 was the year that AI captured people’s imagination, 2024 is the year for practical action.”

This article originally appeared on Campaign's sister site, Performance Marketing WorldJyoti Rambhai is its premium content editor.
Jyoti Rambhai profile and articles at Campaign Live UK

Performance Marketing World

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