Our clients report that all of the drastic changes in consumer media usage has caused them confusion about how to measure retail mutli-media electronic advertising campaigns.
If you are the advertiser, you may have even already discovered that the old standby measurement tool, the customer survey, is becoming irrelevant due to the fact that your consumer is spending more and more time “virtually shopping” before “actually buying”.
In other words, by the time she finally comes in to your store, she may forget what advertisement media brought her there!
Due to today’s longer Ad Exposure to Purchase cycles, consumers may not able to accurately recall what motivated them to shop your store. This phenomenon is reflected in increasingly higher error rates of retail customer surveys. Case in point. Nielsen, and more recently Arbitron, switched over to digital audience measurement because of massive human recall error in recalling even “Same Day” media use.
We all know that consumers already have a foggy idea of what media they think they are using versus what Nielsen and Arbitron report that they actually use. As such, consumer recall rates of your original television ad may be diminishing due to the dramatic changes in her shopping habits. Clearly, it’s time for a new measurement tool.
We already know that consumers begin all major purchases by viewing the seller’s Web site…but we also know that something motivated them to visit that Web site in the first place.
Make no mistake about it. Television is just as effective, or even more effective, than ever before. Consumers have shifted to using video and electronic media as their media of choice. But new standards of campaign measurement are now necessary since consumers are also “using” television advertising in new ways.
Remember in the 1980’s television ads generated immediate store visits, and then in the 1990’s television ads generated phone calls? Well now television ads generate Web site hits. Today the consumer is beginning her shopping pattern virtually, before physically.
Try it yourself. Tell a friend about a great new store you just found and mosty likley the first question she will ask is “What’s the Web site?”
We also know that once a television message is seen and heard by a consumer, she makes a decision immediately made to act, or not act. Assuming she acts on your television message and perhaps logs on to your Web site that very same day, but then visits your business over a week later, and then returns another week later to actually buy, she may not be able to accurately recall how she originally found you!
So if you are still asking current customers the question: “How did you hear of us?” expect confusion when you sit down to go over the final research data.
So how can you eliminate the human error and begin to accurately measure the impact of these new multiple media television / internet campaigns?
First off, you need to design new measurement metrics. Here are the best metrics for measurement as reported by a mixture of our automotive, furniture, home builder, home contractor, health care, and financial clients:
- Organic (Non-Sourced or Non-Searched) Web site hits
- Overall Website traffic volume during TV Ad Flights
- Click-Thru Rates of linked television station Web site ads
- Positive / Negative Relationships of Incoming Phone Calls to Television Ad Flights
- Closing / Conversion Ratios of Television Leads generated
- Gross Sales during Television Ad Flights
- Net Profitability during Television Ad Flights
- Increase / Decrease in the usage of printed media run during TV Ad Flights
Did you notice that none of these measurement tools involve talking to actual customers?
The fact is that today the consumer is deluged with so many ads each day that asking them what brought them to your business is like you trying to remember what you had for lunch yesterday. Also, the metrics above are easily measurable so you can now build a measurement graph using some, or all, of these campaign measurement metrics
Next, you need to design “measurability” into your television and internet message.
To generate measurement, your television message needs to be promotional in nature and not an image ad. Image ads are not easily measurable as they require a very long horizontal style campaign and most advertisers are not willing to invest this level of television spending without an immediate payback.
In your promotional television message you also should include a clear and bold web site mention both in the middle of the script and most importantly at the end of the commercial. Your Web site address should always be the last thing the consumer sees and hears. Why? Because we already know that interested consumers will go to their computer next! Don’t be passive and make consumers “Google” to find you since your competition will most likely show up on the first Google page as well.
Next, your television flight needs to be planned around the consumer lifestyle patterns so that she can act immediately after seeing your commercial. An example of this is to run high levels of Early Morning news to reach Working Women so that she can see your television “Web Driver” message and then log on to your website at work that same morning.
Lastly, you need to be congruent in the design of your commercial so that it matches the same style and tone of your Web site. Here generous use of video versus text is the answer. Consider airing a television commercial and also launch a Web site that is designed to welcome consumers with a video using the same style creative and the same on-camera talent. This will help build frequency of message along with higher ad recall levels.
In the end, campaign measurement is kind of a bad news / good news scenario. The bad news is that television campaigns have never been harder to measure with traditional methods, the good news is that better metrics have arrived that are much more accurate than customer surveys. Getting accurate feedback about your television campaign is crucial to a knowing what ad concepts and media plans are most effective. Today however, asking the consumer may be the worst place to start.
So in 2007 let’s change our measurement metrics to align with the way that today’s consumer really shops.
Adam Armbruster is a partner in the retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Company located in Red Bank, New Jersey and can be reached at adam [at] esacompany [dot] com.