Getting measurement right is increasingly important for all brands’ marketing efforts. But CPG marketers have a secondary hurdle in this landscape because their products are sold at partnering retail locations, meaning they don’t always have access to the crucial first-party transaction data.
This is where measurement partners like Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) come in. They help CPG brands, as well as brands in other industries, measure and calculate their incremental sales and return on ad spend across campaigns. NCS provides CPG marketers with in-store sales data from nearly 90 million US households, which is calibrated with Nielsen Homescan to be nationally representative of all-outlet US CPG spend. When measuring video marketing campaigns, NCS can compare the in-store purchase data with ad exposure data to measure how the campaign impacted sales at the register.
Recently, our CMO, Jeff Fagel, caught up with Carl Spaulding, executive vice president of product and strategy at NCS, to chat about the state of video advertising measurement. In a wide-ranging interview, we discussed the best practices for executing omnichannel video campaigns, the role of personalization in CPG marketing and what the industry is doing to make it easier to compare digital performance to linear television.
Jeff Fagel: NCS spends a lot of time quantifying the relative effectiveness of different traditional and digital media channels. Based on your research, what role should digital video play in an omnichannel marketing strategy?
Carl Spaulding: We take an agnostic approach to the different types of media that our advertiser clients are interested in buying and our publisher clients are interested in selling. One of the strengths of NCS is that we have more media data than any competitor in our space in the United States, which allows us to be able to measure not only digital video, but also mobile, linear TV, addressable TV, print and radio.
For a couple of years now, advertisers have been opening up their linear TV budgets in order to fund increasing amounts of Facebook and Google advertising. In order to help them identify the right media mix, we’re going to need cross-media, cross-platform studies that look at the overlap between these channels and the amount of synergy that is driven by that overlap.
Fagel: Advertisers have struggled in the past to compare their digital video performance to linear television. What are some things NCS and other organizations are doing to create a common set of metrics that marketers can use across these two channels?
Spaulding: There’s going to be more and more coordination in the industry between TV and digital video, particularly when it comes to the debate over how many seconds are needed for an ad to count as a video view. We’re working closely with viewability vendors like Moat and Integral Ad Science to create what is, in essence, a new standard for what qualifies as a non-fraudulent, viewable impression. That’s going to have an impact on the perceived CPMs for digital versus linear TV. Intuitively, you realize that if a digital video isn’t seen or isn’t real, it’s not going to result in any sales.
This effort is going to help sort out the relative efficiencies of digital video versus linear TV so that we get to a point where the two are in balance. The end game is that advertisers will be able to make choices based on the complementary nature of having both types of video as part of their overall communications suite.
Fagel: Let’s talk a little bit about strategy. When considering cross-channel video strategies, what are the hallmarks of effective campaigns?
Spaulding: The number one headline is the power of creative. What we’re seeing is that when there is a coordinated message strategy between digital and linear TV, the executions work significantly better. You have households and people reached only by linear TV, you have a much smaller number of households and people only reached by digital, and then you have the households and people reached by both, and the degree of synergy between these groups seems to be correlated to the quality and the consistency of the creative message. That’s what I would say is the number one headline in terms of what drives incremental sales based on the overlap of different media type exposures.
Fagel: When it comes to creative, are there any specific tactics you think marketers should be using to create digital video ads that inspire people to make a purchase?
Spaulding: The message and the creative that reflects it have to be aligned with the marketing strategy. If you’re a brand and your goal is to increase the purchases among existing buyers, you’re going to create an entirely different message than you would if you were trying to go out and conquest new buyers that are loyal to your competitor. It’s a different objective with a different creative need.
What we see all too often is that there is a mishmash of creative out there that is neither coordinated nor is it being delivered to the right audiences. It’s generally a wasted impression to deliver creative designed to enhance brand loyalty to a non-buyer and vice versa, so the strategy becomes a combination approach: You need to be able to segment the audience into relevant groups of consumers, but then you need to deliver the right advertising at the right time to those consumers.
Fagel: Where does geolocation technology play into all of this? Is there a way for the CPG brands you work with to personalize their messaging based on where the user is when they receive it?
Spaulding: Hyperlocal is going to be very, very important for auto brands, for example, where the stratification of different types of car- and truck-buyers is correlated to geography. I think that’s probably less so with consumer packaged goods products because people are not generally as engaged with making a decision about a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of shampoo as they are about buying a car. But by having the advertising dynamically respond to your location by showing nearby retailers, you’re able to push results beyond the norms.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.