Ahead of Kantar's 'best liked ads of 2018' reveal, two sessions were hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg on the art and science of media success, with a special focus on finding the right mix of channels and creative to #GetMediaRight.
Monique Claassen, director of media and digital insights at Millward Brown and Jane Ostler, global head of media, presenting at Kantar's Cape Town 'Roadmap to Media Effectiveness' event.
Jane Ostler, Kantar’s global head of media based in their Bloomsbury office in the UK has worked across the media and creative side of business, and spoke first on the evolution that’s needed in media effectiveness strategy in order to generate connection from the current melting pot.
With brands no longer able to rely on a single media platform, they’re undeniably the sum of all experiences they offer their customers today.
That’s why Ostler said connection is the key to success in any integrated marketing campaign, going on to unpack the pivotal role connection plays and looking at the ingredients of winning campaigns such as objectives, audience, creative idea, executions, channels, engagement and customisation.
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In the findings from last year’s annual ‘Getting Media Right’ state of marketing study by Kantar’s Insight Division, it was found that fewer than one in five marketers globally are ‘very confident’ in their ability to integrate data for insights, impacting the ability to measure and prove ROI. The reason?
Disconnects in strategies for reaching consumers, as well as a failure to understand cross-channel behaviour and uncertainty around optimising their media investment.
Does old world media thinking have a place in the new world?
At the time, Ostler said:
Marketers should aim for the best of all worlds: they need to create a framework to monitor impact on business and brand metrics, while harmonising measurement tools and insights to improve performance across all channels. The report is a clear indication that marketers are continuing to struggle with measuring and proving ROI, primarily due to their approach.
That’s why Ostler began with the Jeff Bezos quote, “In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”
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Ostler said the ‘new world’ Bezos refers to is the past decade or so of business, where experience is now first and foremost.
This means that media strategy can’t be seen as ‘one size fits all’. Kantar’s Connect research based on 7,000 SA respondents shows that paid media now accounts for just a quarter of the overall brand impact and importance in ROI, but this changes across categories – it’s highest in telecommunications but drops for automotive, finance and retail, where it’s 25% of that impact.
In fact, the SA data shows retail is on par with the global average. Further meta-analysis drill down shows that just a small proportion of that paid media percentage is TV, showing that there’s much more to the consumer’s brand experience.
Ostler said, “With your consumer hat on, think of all the touchpoints that play a role when you decide if this is the brand you want to use. Definitely not just TV.” This proves why it’s important to drill down through all those touchpoints before deciding on a specific media platform to focus on.
It’s also important to realise that not all touchpoints deliver the same impact and experience across brands. Some, like social media, tend to be well balanced on positive and negative, while UX has huge potentially positive contribution to brand strength, as does TV – each channel should be considered in its own right.
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Asking the million-dollar question then of how brands can break through all the clutter, Ostler said before you focus on the secret ingredients to get it right, you first need to first know how they operate together.
To do so, we need to start with the central connecting idea. A decade ago, agencies would say the big idea was a TV ad, then would simplify that message for OOH and change it up slightly for radio, but it was all quite same-y and at its heart, the big idea used to equal TV.
This meant that most consumers experienced a campaign in a similar way. Nowadays, it’s a lot more nuanced and complicated, as brands need to deliver across multiple channels with creative executions that are continuously adapted in response to feedback.
Why you need to customise the end-product to the specific user behaviour of the channel
This means the individual campaign experience is different and can be fragmented.
This means the burden is on the industry to ensure the campaign really is integrated, even with different agencies working on different aspects of the campaign, as campaigns running off a central idea are the ones that continue to overperform on those aspects of salience, awareness metrics, purchase intention or motivation, and image association with the brand.
It’s more sophisticated than slapping on the company logo as it means customising the campaign for best practice per channel and paying attention to the emotions generated, as that’s how you connect with today’s customers.
Ostler said this continuous evolution of channels and the way consumers connect with each one means we need to pay more attention than ever before to nuances of the platform.
For example, your excellent TV ad may work well online as a digital video loaded to YouTube, but remember tweaks like whether the video is as effective with the sound off – as that’s how most of us watch video on our mobile devices, as we tend to be second-screening at the time.
And when that mobile video is a vertical video on social media stories, consumers are looking for further interaction options, like polls.
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This proves Ostler’s point about the importance of cross-media analysis per channel.
Overall, TV is still on top of the paid platforms, especially when it comes to overall reach, but when you look at channel cost-effectiveness, global data shows Facebook as the winner when considering share of contribution vs share of spend.
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When it comes to effective frequency, broadcast media rule with radio slightly topping TV, but Ostler says the size of the channel and the cost effectiveness isn’t everything.
Scale it back to the brand impact per person reached, and you’ll notice that cinema also has a massive role to play, especially in awareness-building as it has become the only media channel you consume exclusively without second-screening.
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Ostler ended that there’s an ongoing debate on the role of digital, but every channel can have a role in brand building – measuring clicks shouldn’t be the only measure of success.
When briefing your agencies, Ostler says to figure out the specific objectives per campaign, as almost any channel can deliver what you want.
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Monique Claassen, director of media and digital at Kantar, concluded the morning’s session by picking up Ostler’s thread in sharing local insights into whether TV is dying, with digital fast snapping at its heels.
There’s lots of give-and-take in TV and digital, especially in SA, as there’s a bit of global panic at the moment about the need to invest in digital video assets, but as Ostler’s presentation proved, that doesn’t mean your brand should pull away from investing in TV, especially if it’s a platform that works for you as the majority of South Africa still watch large amounts of live TV – almost double the global average.
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So there’s still an opportunity for great awareness and association if the ad involves great creative, but Claassen questions whether brands are capitalising on that.
TV advertising is definitely becoming less effective over time, as the rise of DStv Catch-up and streaming means we’re getting accustomed to skipping ads entirely.
But looking at live TV in particular, research shows that for 2019 YTD, only one in five TV ads cut through based on spontaneously verifying the ad, unprompted.
Our ability to recall what we see on TV is affected by the TV-watching context: Most of us see TV time as a way to tune out after a long day, and tend to second-screen, tapping away on our phones and other devices as we supposedly tune in.
Most memorability for these types of TV ad
For linear, live TV, the category with the most memorability is that of carbonated soft drinks. This means soda brands have a harder job cutting through, followed by fast food, creamers for coffee and tea, groceries, dental and alcohol brands.
DStv Catch-up and streaming are not taken into account for this as they’re not part of the live TV mix, but Claassen said this makes up such a small percentage of the overall SA TV-viewing percentage that it doesn’t change the results.
Looking at the bottom end of the memorability scale, Claassen mentioned the categories of games and toys, jewellery and watches, sporting and camping equipment, security firms and agriculture or gardening.
She said this talks to the creative impact of these categories, as it’s easy to get siloed in the specific category or in the media channel but as consumers, you see it all: The car brand next to the soap next to the beer in a single ad break, but what do you take out of that?
Claassen says to stands out you need to find the creative sparkle. And it’s no good your consumers recalling your beautiful story if they don’t recall the brand behind it.
This goes beyond the specific category and media channel to the consumer’s mental space of ignoring advertising.
Skipping ahead to digital video ads, Claassen said these tend to perform the same on memorability as TV ads, but the interactive format options that give the user control are far more favoured over others.
That’s why mobile app pop-up ads and unskippable pre-roll are least liked, while mobile app reward videos and social ‘click to plays’ do better.
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Yet most consumers still skip them. Hello, ad blockers.
Context is everything for grabbing attention, no matter the platform
All the distractions of 2019 mean that in the digital video space, you only have the first three seconds to grab their attention.
That’s why reveal ads just don’t work as consumers lose interest if they’re not instantly intrigued. Unlike in TV, branding in those first few seconds is twice as likely to cut through and show lift in ad recall – not the static brand logo though, Claassen is speaking about the brand cues and identity.
That’s why she says brand content designed to reflect consumers’ in-feed behaviour works well – we tend to scroll through social media while ‘second screening’ and don’t necessarily want a blast of sound to interrupt our own main experience or others around us, which is why mobile ads designed to be just as effective without sound playing have three times more lift.
On YouTube, we also tend to be actively searching for something so interruption-based ads are less effective. On Facebook, we tend to be in relaxing or ‘time-wasting’ mode, so we’re more likely to be receptive to relevant ads in our news feeds.
Length also matters, with shorter ads generally doing better on ad recall and brand awareness, especially for mobile.
That stands for traditional TV too, with Claassen sharing that there’s no difference in recall across ads that are 15-seconds, 30-seconds, 45-seconds and 60-seconds in length.
The overall result shows the consumer doesn’t remember the ad scene-by-scene. Instead, the 5-seconds of creative magnifier or ‘Aha moment’ stand out, where something made them feel something.
That’s why Claassen says both TV and digital have merit, especially if you follow the following template:
Include a strong connecting idea
Pick the platform that makes sense for the brand but integrate across channels
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