Understanding Your Brand in the Digital World Is More Than Impressions and Page Views The approach that Fresh Intelligence Research takes to understanding a brand is one that employs the eponymous Digital Fresh Intelligence (DFI), a form of analysis whose connected consumers are real shoppers – college students working as part-time waiters, sports fans, Tweeters, and Facebookers. Corrine Sandler Peter Skrastins
By 2016, advertisers will spend almost $77 billion online, making up 35 per cent of overall ad spending. Rich media ads such as online video are increasing in prevalence. These mainstays of most websites will see a surge, hitting nearly $28 billion and a 37 per cent market share of online ads by 2016. (The statistics cited here are taken from a Robert Hof article, “Online Ad Spend to Overtake TV by 2016,” which appeared in Forbes magazine in 2011 and is available at www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2011/08/26/online-adspend-to-overtake-tv/) Online ad spending will continue to ramp up. Brandfriendly ad formats such as banner ads, sponsorships, and video ads are all growing even faster than search engine marketing spending. This year, video ad spending is estimated to grow 52 per cent (according to an Erick Schonfeld article, “eMarketer: Online Ad Spending Expected to Accelerate This Year to $31 Billion,” which appeared in TechCrunch in 2011 and is available at http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/08/ online-ad-spending-31-billion/). Spending of $28 billion in online video deserves a dedicated measurement tool that delivers engagement metrics and measures of return on investment beyond just impres10
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sions and reach. Fresh Intelligence Research Corp. believes that it can answer the need with Digital Fresh Intelligence (DFI). DFI goes beyond current measurement of online media by capturing the change in perception of a brand after viewers have been exposed to online advertisements. This article explains Fresh Intelligence’s proprietary methodology, which combines online interaction with websites and online survey design in order to evaluate the impact of online campaigns on the following metrics: reach, brand recall, lift in brand awareness, equity perceptions, emotional impact, purchase consideration, and other call-to-action metrics. DFI is designed to measure any type of online media, including banner ads, pre-roll video, and rich media. Learning from VW’s Fanwagen Campaign
Let’s take a look at a recent innovative digital campaign: VW’s “The Fanwagen,” which combines social media and digital video. “Choose, build, and drive away with it” is the slogan for the Fanwagen campaign. In the Netherlands, Volkswagen invited its fans to vote for their all-time favourite model.
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As a reward, it rebuilds this model in a one-of-a-kind edition: the Fanwagen. Whether fans vote for the classic T1 van or the Beetle, the winning car will be equipped with a myriad of features that avid Facebook users will instantly recognize, making it the most social car ever. A campaign like the VW Fanwagen can be measured using many free tools. We went to Topsy Labs, for instance, and typed in “Fanwagen”; the site revealed that there were 120 daily mentions at 12:31 a.m. on November 1, 2011, and 779 mentions at 12:41 a.m. on November 2. Based on our search, we were able to identify what the input terms had been and how influential those terms were. For the Dutch agency Achtung, which developed VW’s campaign, it was fairly straightforward, from a technological standpoint, to obtain metrics based on monitoring brand mentions, fan counts, or video shares – which is why we see so many vendors offering these metrics. However, different methodologies are required if you want to measure the impact that a brand’s Facebook fan page, Twitter profile, or online video has on brand equity. Despite all the hype, social media are just another marketing channel. Marketers need to demonstrate the effectiveness of social and other online media in order to justify allocating company resources to them. Fortunately, social and other online media outlets are measurable – and use of DFI to combine existing mentions, fan counts, and video share promises to leave no stone unturned.
Image 2 (below) shows the exposure to a live, real-time website, allowing a time limit for the respondent to surf as usual.
Essentially, DFI employs a hybrid methodology of passive and forced exposure to stimuli. Forced exposure is commonly used for testing the effectiveness of offline media such as print and TV advertising. However, key differences exist for the environments in which respondents are exposed to the stimulus. In measuring TV and print ads in tracking studies, respondents are exposed to the ads only in a controlled survey setting, where there is only forced exposure to the ads. In that kind of static environment, online advertising cannot be truly
Image 1 (below) represents a snapshot of the DFI reach simulator. Based on respondents’ answers in the study, the DFI reach simulator models the data to show the optimal combination of websites if ad placements are to maximize reach for any target consumer group, however speciﬁc that might be.
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measured in order to determine its real impact. In reality, consumers are exposed to ads on websites with a plethora of other links, ads, articles, images and videos, all of which compete for consumers’ attention. Therefore, when testing a campaign on CNN.com, the respondent will be taken to CNN.com in real time. DFI measures not only viewership, but also retention – true reach. It further measures in-depth emotional responses to a campaign and the motivational structure of its target. It provides trends and drivers of campaign success, emotional engagement, and a reach simulator that calculates the optimal combination of websites in order to maximize reach. Unlocked Measurement Capabilities for Online Media
DFI provides marketers with the ability to track recall over time and evaluates the efficiency of their online media spend, based on the number of impressions and the amount of recall that these impressions are actually generating. DFI’s integration of live online website stimulus with an online questionnaire allows analysis of key metrics by consumer segments to be limitless. Respondents can be asked any number of additional questions in order to uncover respondent information that cannot be generated through Internet Protocol (IP) address tracking, including identification of their primary grocery retailers, category consumption levels, household composition, and mobile phone usage. Marketers are now empowered to evaluate more fully how their online campaigns are breaking through with their target (however specific that target is) and unlock more of online media’s ROI. But there remains the need to understand the new breed of online video viewers, the ones who seek out new experiences, engage with content, and expect things on their own terms. The environment in which consumers view online videos is similar to its offline predecessor, television. Users seem to like nothing more than curling up on the sofa at home: in 2011, fully 97 per cent of all video content was viewed at home, and 68 per cent of respondents said they had been using laptops to view that content. Desktop viewership, however, was considerably lower, at 52 per cent (see Chris Worrell’s September 2011 article, “A New Breed of Online Video Viewer,” on ReelSEO.com, available at www.reelseo. com/online-video-viewers-more-engaged/) It is also striking how closely daily viewing patterns for online video follow those of television, with a dip of 10–16 per cent at midday, rising to 70–74 per cent by late evening. These patterns raise questions about online video’s relationship to more traditional viewing habits: Is it a supplement to television, or a substitute? 12
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As high-quality wireless becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the proliferation of connected devices may mean that the commute will be to online video what breakfast is to morning television. For marketers, then, online video represents a large opportunity to reach audiences. The increased usage of user review sites and social networks by the modern consumer means that individuals are building up comprehensive profiles of their interests. These help provide relevant advertising to engaged consumers, who have an interest in what they are being shown and have the means to act upon it. All of this needs to be taken into account when a metric is put in place to measure digital campaigns. The ratings and circulation metrics that marketers take for granted when planning broadcast and print advertising have not made their way to digital media. Panel companies like Nielsen and comScore have developed demographic and population estimates for digital publishers; however, traditional ratings, and circulation metrics (e.g., gross rating points, target rating points, and cost per point) have yet to become a standard part of digital media plans (see Schonfeld’s article at http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/08/onlinead-spending-31-billion/). Digital media plans are missing the denominators required to calculate brand metrics, which in this case are the size of each demographic (or psychographic) group being targeted. Thus it is impossible to know if a media plan achieves the planner’s campaign goals or if a competing plan has greater merit. This deficiency is not simply an oversight or the result of some conspiracy. To understand the problem, you have to consider how people’s use of the Internet differs from their consumption of other media. Recommendations to Marketers
Remove silos and barriers to measurement across channels by centrally tracking as much of your advertising as possible, and be open-minded to new, innovative tools. According to Dictionary.com, one definition of engage is “to occupy the attention or efforts of a person or persons.” And so, to all the digital advertisers out there: Test (comprehensively) before you invest. Engage your audience in your campaigns. Drive your return through the use of thorough digital audience measurement.
Peter Skrastins is research manager at Fresh Intelligence Research Corp., and Corrine Sandler is the CEO. You can get more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 342-8228.