New frontiers in integrated measurement

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A review of innovations in integrated campaign measurement from Ebiquity UK’s Managing Director, Reputation, Karen Prichard.

Consumers don’t receive messages from brands in an isolated, siloed fashion – some tweets there, a TV ad over here, a company blog post over there. They build up their impression of what brands mean and stand for by absorbing and integrating messages from multiple channels simultaneously, and cumulatively, over time.

The problem, of course, is that too many organizations are still siloed. While they may have good intentions and talk the talk of integrated brand communications, too often they plan and execute campaign activity in discrete, disconnected pockets. Departments work with agencies, and multi-agency teams meet more often just to tick a box than to work as real partners.

When it comes to measurement, most businesses are even worse. This is ironic, given the increasing availability of tools and techniques needed to assess the relative and absolute impact of different channels. The trick is to start with a channel-neutral, open mind and to analyze the individual and combined impact of the many different activations that go to make up a modern campaign.

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Consider these five examples of integrated measurement in practice.

  1. Messaging alignment

Working with a leading mobile handset manufacturer, we recently looked at how aligned messaging about product attributes was between manufacturers and across shared, owned, paid, and earned media. We showed our client that their creative obsession of one particular feature was not relevant to the conversations consumers were actually having about their phones and about the market in general. The feature was largely ignored by the market, but our client was making it the mainstay of their communications, meaning they were wasting money by pushing a non-issue. Consequently, they were not influencing the debate.

  1. Consumer research, advertising spend, and earned media volume

By overlaying weight of spend in advertising over the course of a year, trends in earned media conversation, and prompted brand awareness, we were able to show another, FMCG, client how paid media was driving peaks of awareness, while earned media conversation was helping to sustain awareness once the peak had been achieved. This enabled our client to amend the timing of its social activity to capitalize on the impact of its above-the-line activity.

  1. Geolocation

There are several, really effective tools available today which can pinpoint the physical location of where consumers post to social media – provided, of course, they have privacy settings switched off. By overlaying geolocation data with big outdoor advertising builds or special advertising installations – particularly at airports and other transport hubs – we can immediately associate the impact of paid for communication on social.

  1. Eye-tracking

Working in partnership with eye-tracking experts Lumen Research, we’ve found a significant multiplier effect of editorial on advertising. Consumers pay more attention to editorial about a brand when they have (just) been exposed to editorial about the same brand. This suggests that PR and advertising teams would be well advised to ensure they coordinate their above- and below-the-line campaigns together. By harnessing the power of eye-tracking software, we can understand the relative attention – technically ‘dwell time’ – that consumers pay to both editorial and advertising.

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  1. The Holy Grail: integrating multiple channels

Our own analysis of the impact of retailer marcomms activity in the run-up to Christmas 2015 considered the widest variety of inputs, outputs, and outcomes of any analysis we have seen. We looked at creative, messaging, media spend, social and PR amplification, news media coverage, and how consumer attitudes and spending behavior were affected by the major retailers’ activity.

We found that spending big did not guarantee success – particularly when the messaging did not resonate with consumers in social: when they found the central themes of the advertising to be discordant to both brands and the season. By overlaying the results of consumer attitude and awareness research on weight of ad spend and volume of social media commentary, we have shown that, although John Lewis may have won the sales war, there is an altogether different story in consumer sentiment around its Christmas campaign.

Only 30 percent of online conversation around the Man on the Moon ad was positive, compared with Sainsbury’s 82 percent and the Co-op’s 62 percent. As a result, the Sainsbury’s ad has been watched over five million times more than John Lewis’ on YouTube – the second year running it’s won that battle.

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What this means

Experts in innovation and strategy repeatedly show that breakthrough innovations come about by experimentation in response to weak signals. These five examples of integrated measurement in action show what we’ve learned from bringing together outcomes from different channels and different disciplines. They show – among other things – how to fine-tune messaging in paid media to get the biggest bang for your buck in earned media, as well as how to achieve more with less.

Integration has been a buzzword for more than 25 years. Yet because of the fractured and siloed ways most businesses are structured – exacerbated by the advent and ascendancy of digital – integrated planning and execution has only been a reality for a few brands and a very few years. Perhaps now, at last, we can start to live the dream – including in measurement and evaluation.

Karen showcased innovations in integrated measurement at PRmoment’s PR Analytics conference, earlier this Spring.

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About Author

Head of Reputation, UK

Karen spent a substantial period (15 years) in the global ship broking and ship management industry as a Senior Manager/Trainer, working with both the MOD and NATO during this period. Karen joined Ebiquity (formerly Echo) in 2005, managing the Utilities, Government and Environment practice with an extensive portfolio of clients including government departments, oil companies, EADS, Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium and Cassidian, Smiths Group and Rolls-Royce.

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