Seemingly overnight, print advertising has recast what is measurable within its medium, and has done so in a way that is quick, cost efficient and accessible to all advertisers. The impact could be felt across the whole media landscape, including digital.
In an ingenious collaboration that includes RAMetrics and Lumen Eye Tracking, Newsworks has managed to answer some of the questions that have featured in print and digital negotiations for decades. Do people actually look at the ads? Does it matter what size they are? Is image more engaging than text? Is Right Hand better than Left Hand?
But for me, what is key here is what is being measured, rather than the outcomes. And it’s not clicks. Buyers and sellers alike have long bemoaned the prevalence of the CTR as a catch-all measure of success. The fact is that measurement of softer metrics such as brand awareness, perception and intent is simply much harder to do, especially ‘on the fly’, and for smaller campaigns.
The dangers of short-termism in media are a hot topic. A huge part of this is focusing on what can be measured, rather than on what should be measured. Every marketer has targets to hit, and if they are going to be SMART than they need to be measureable. But too often this translates to ‘if it can’t be measured, I can’t justify spending on it.’ Views, likes, shares etc, they all have their place, but are often poor proxies for what really matters.
Whether you believe in funnels or not, brand advertising is an essential part of any marketing mix. But its failure to quickly and easily prove its value has led to a shift away for branding to the more easily measurable sharp end of ‘last click’ performance.
But the tide is turning. Insight and analytics is evolving, and attribution models are advancing. What the Newsworks partnership shows is that rather than relying on proxies, we can go straight to the heart of the matter. Was my ad seen (not just viewable, but viewed), and did it shift brand metrics?
And with benchmarks comes the ability to look forward and plan towards brand-based goals, rather than just looking back and reviewing. Soon we will be able to build plans for their brand impact rather than just reach and frequency.
Now ‘brand impact and engagement’ can be measured, we hope they will. As a publisher we believe (and the research suggests) that highly engaged readers consuming content they love is an effective place to put your advertising.
We are prepared to prove that claim, and our arsenal of tools to do so is expanding at a rapid pace.