OPA branding research

Interesting article last week on Silicon Alley Insider, commenting on recent OPA/comScore study designed to help the advertising world get beyond the click. This topic is near and dear for me and I have written on it previously. Now, I don’t always agree with the OPA (for example, I’m not sure I would have gone with “The Silent Click” as a title for the research – sounds like a bad Meryl Streep movie), but in this case they are right on. Clicks don’t equal sales. Period. (Sales don’t equal ROI either, by the way). The research (slide 11) showed online ad exposure increased online sales by 7%. We’ve seen the same dynamic looking at offline sales as well; those exposed to online advertising buy more of the advertised product in offline retail stores. This is an even more powerful result than the online data presented by OPA/comScore because nearly 90% of all retail spending still occurs offline, even higher in key brand categories like CPG. Interestingly, the OPA deck stops short of presenting any actual correlations (or lack thereof) between CTRs and the other variables they discuss. So I will pick up where they leave off – in our offline sales lift results to date we have seen no correlation between CTR and ROI (offline sales lift vs. media spend). What drives ROI is a mix of Cost/HH reach and quality of content environment where ads are shown. Clicks might be useful for something, but not as a proxy for ad effectiveness.

P&G’s “Passion for Digital”

P&G is the largest marketer in the world.They are also one of the most successful. This recent article in Ad Age gives us some insights into why.

The article quotes Marc Pritchard, P&G’s global CMO:

“I’ve got a lot of passion for digital. It really is such an incredible way to connect with consumers and really have much deeper ongoing relationships with them… Our media strategy is pretty simple: Follow the consumer. And the consumer is becoming more and more engaged in the digital world.”

It’s that last part that’s most insightful for me. Keep it simple, follow the consumer. This is very good advice, as it seems too often marketers can get so focused on the dizzying array of niche products and capabilities online that they lose sight of what they are really trying to accomplish, which is exactly that: reach consumers. Lots of them. In the right environments and with the right messages. This is something near and dear to our hearts at Brand.net, because when done well it drives strong, measurable results.

The discussion of online spend ramping to the point that marketing mix models can begin routinely reading it is also an important one for 2 reasons.  First because the 5% threshold they mention for an MMM read can represent a real inflection point for online spend for the CPG category – an extremely important category for the long-term health of the online ad ecosystem.  Secondly, the discussion highlights that fact that marketers want to think of online as a medium in line with other media at their disposal.  Online media is often sold as “special” or “different”, but the path to higher spend isn’t in forcing marketers to learn and embrace new technologies and metrics.  Nor is it in driving marketers into niche strategies like BT or custom executions that are flashy, but have negligible reach and impact.  Increasing online spend will undoubtedly involve new technology and learning on both the buy-side and the sell-side, but to focus on technology for technology’s sake is to miss the point.  The path to long-term, significant, sustainable increases in digital spend will be paved in large part by helping marketers leverage the skills and tools they already have to better follow the consumer – a consumer who is becoming more and more engaged in the digital world.

People Eating Advertising?

There is a well-written and entertaining article on Grape Nuts in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. It included a fantastic quote from Carin Gendell, senior brand manager for Grape Nuts in the ’80s. “Grape Nuts,” she says, “was people eating advertising.”. The same could be said of many, many foods today.

I have personally had discussions with more than one processed food company where they are viewing advertising as a raw material input to their finished product – much in the same way as grain, corn syrup or cardboard for that matter. While it’s not necessarily appetizing, it’s undeniably true and brings up an interesting point. Effective advertising has become as important an ingredient in many products as the raw materials from which the actual product itself is made. It’s important to note that Carin says “was” and not “is,” because Grape Nuts has lost share dramatically since those heydays – another important reminder of what can happen to a brand if it loses touch with its customers.

I am actually a big Grape Nuts fan – I happen to like “the rhythmic crunching that reverberates around your skull” – so I hope the current $5M campaign moves the needle.

Thoughts re: Today’s WSJ article on Yahoo!’s APT

Jessica Vascellaro’s WSJ article this morning on Yahoo!’s display ad platform, APT, caught my attention. The problem Yahoo! is trying to solve with APT – (quoting Jessica) “that it remains a big pain today for advertisers to buy display ads across multiple sites and for publishers who have lots of online advertising space to sell to find demand for it” – is exactly the problem we founded Brand.net to solve. Continue reading “Thoughts re: Today’s WSJ article on Yahoo!’s APT”