Indeed, the ability to measure meaningfully at all is challenging and, in terms of accuracy, may be too specific in individual cases, such as influencer campaigns, to translate back to a framework that makes results comparable or useful in developing initiatives aimed at other audiences.
The very speed at which media is evolving can mean that agencies are constantly chasing and trying to define the impact of new expressions if not varieties of media and trying to fix measurement on them either in narrow terms that make them non-comparable or by taking established metrics and applying them in ways that might not be deeply informative.
The Measurement Mix
The search for new measurement frameworks is ongoing. In a Harvard Business Review article, “A New Gold Standard for Digital Ad Measurement?” Julian Runge, a behavioral economist, data scientist and assistant marketing professor at Northeastern University, Harpreet Patter, part of the global marketing science team at Meta I, and Igor Skokan, part of the global marketing science team at Meta in London, note that the difficulty in measurement particularly across different media had revived the use of marketing mix models to generate more useful measurement frameworks.
Yet, the models don’t immediately translate into the current market. As such, the authors conducted field studies focusing on digital marketers to look at how they have been experimenting to develop modernized versions of such models. Among their determinations in moving forward is calibration is necessary including, in one example, launching experimental marketing campaigns in one market and looking at results in a comparable market where the campaign didn’t run, then compare the results to what the model suggests the outcome should be. At that point, a calibration can be made.
The effort is particularly important given changes in privacy rules. The combination of marketing mix models and experimental calibration could become standard procedure, the authors note, especially for measurement in data-constrained digital markets, providing a defined, reliable measurement framework until tools such as differential privacy and interoperable private attribution provide new capabilities.
Such an example of the effort being put into measurement frameworks underscores the point that creating effective means of applying numbers that accurately represent today’s marketing campaigns is very much a work in progress.
A Complicated Issue
In a “Road to TMRE” video chat with All Things Insights’ Seth Adler about “Measurement Frameworks,” Jonathan Stringfield, Vice President, Global Business Research & Marketing, Activision Blizzard, points out that the industry hasn’t been able to come up with a standard even after a couple of decades of trying and has been trailing the diffusion of media significantly. “Things are getting more complicated than simple,” he says.
In the video, Kerry Bianchi, Global CEO, APEX Exchange, says the lack of recognized frameworks is an ongoing problem and one that is even more complicated when trying to develop connections to specific designated audiences. The more certain of an audience, given how specific marketing demands can get today, the smaller it is likely to be and the more expense is necessary to define and find that audience.
Marketing as it developed was a mass enterprise, Stringfield points out. However, the increasing specificality of marketing initiatives means that either the audience is likely to be more diverse than the real target, so many messages will go to people who aren’t targeted, or the size of the audience will be limited and defeat the purpose of reaching as broad an audience as desired. In either case, however, determining the impact of the message on consumer behavior should be part of measurement, however it’s eventually framed, but that can’t be a solid consideration when no agreed pathway to simply reaching the right audience is available. An initiative can establish measurements within its own context, but that isn’t necessarily compatible with a typical media plan.
When it comes to programmatic and that approach to the market, different models produce unique results but eventually reconciliation is required, something similar to the calibration mentioned in the Harvard Business Review article. So, when it comes to multicultural marketing, for instance, applying standards can be specific to the model developed. Yet, some points of comparison have to be available for companies to make business decisions about commitments and investment.
In a “Road to TMRE” video chat on “Programmatic Progression,” with Adler, Jennifer Garcia, SVP, Strategy & Insights, Publicis Media, says the establishment of benchmarks can be one way to move forward for agencies. Although brands and media organizations may be employing programmatic as well, when it comes to agencies, benchmarks need setting so as to establish a broader framework that can be more comparable at least in a general sense so they at least create a common ground of consideration. Because no common standard or template exists, the use of benchmarks can provide an interim solution to meet immediate needs on the way to more unifying principles that allow more substantial definitions and comparisons.
Still, organizations already exist where ideas about topics such as multicultural marketing and how to develop better ways of solidifying ideas around approach and reconciliation are under consideration with the intention of establishing a more informed way of investing in and increasing the efficiency of initiatives.
Finding the Right Solution
Agencies need to develop an approach to measurement frameworks that includes clients but also service providers that might be using different models based on unique perspectives to help create a common ground on which discussion and the establishment of principles and benchmarks can begin. From the perspective of multicultural marketing, an understanding of how it fits and compares with other areas of consumer outreach. Population dynamics are making multicultural marketing more vital. As population diversity increases, that ability to compare and contrast the results of marketing initiatives becomes more important in that it can identify where efforts have been effective and direct further endeavors, so they have the best effects over time.
Video courtesy of Sprout Social