By Brad Beiter, Managing Director, Performance Marketing, Havas Media
Any CMO who’s worked through global financial recessions, wars and now a pandemic will have developed a performance-centric worldview. While all good business executives focus on optimizing ROI, these crises prompt a sharpened focus on making media spend work efficiently and effectively.
The following questions will start to float through marketers’ minds: That TV spot was great, but what was the ROI? My display ads seem to be highly targeted and efficiently invested, but how many consumers did I truly influence? Showing up at the top of Google is great, but how many leads did my investment generate, or how many sales did I drive online and into my stores? Not to mention, are any of these results truly incremental?
These critical questions, backed by Havas Media’s ongoing “ Meaningful Brands Study ,” have shown that 83% of brands could disappear tomorrow and U.S. consumers wouldn’t really care. When the pandemic first hit, insights extracted from the “ Meaningful Media in the Time of Covid-19” report unveiled how consumer behaviors evolved and shifted. For example, since the pandemic, Google searches related to grocery shopping have grown 124% year-over-year, with home improvement related searches increasing 84%. Knowing this information, how do buyers make their clients’ media more meaningful for consumers? How do they critically tie it to actual business outcomes?
Connect media investments to business outcomes
Traditional media metrics such as traffic, clicks, impressions, share of voice and CPM might prove helpful, but media buyers must think beyond these standard media metrics. While these insights help to manage media buys, the correlation to business outcomes remains somewhat tenuous. To take media considerations to the next level, media buyers must prioritize helping clients become—and stay— meaningful in the minds of consumers, especially as attention spans continue to shift and fray.
Metrics such as sales volume generated, foot traffic driven to physical stores, accounts opened and funded and prescriptions written, among others, reveal the true efficiency of media investments. At Havas Media, we prioritize these qualitative, yet measurable, business outcomes to ensure we drive holistic growth for clients. The continued impact of the pandemic throughout this year has made connecting media investment with these business outcomes more important—and attainable—than ever before.
Historically in the CPG and pharmaceutical verticals, media investments have remained one step removed from business outcomes. Recent changes in consumer behavior have allowed for more informed media measurement. For example, online grocery shopping and telemedicine have seen recent spikes, opening the doors of performance marketing typically reserved for direct response marketers. For one CPG brand, new performance media investments within online marketplace platforms like Walmart and Amazon has led to increased sales at a highly attractive return on ad spend (ROAS) metric.
Within the retail sector, the pandemic has accelerated the preexisting shift from in-store to online shopping. However, many retailers still consider in-store a core business component. For these types of brands, omnichannel metrics must take precedence over a siloed media approach. Havas Media has enacted this strategy for one major retail client, and it has driven foot traffic into the brand’s 6,000 locations, while also optimizing ecommerce sales. This approach ensures that we target the right audiences and individuals in support of customer lifetime value. Instead of simply looking to close a sale or generate an order, media experts must question whether the investment at hand generates the lifetime customers that clients want.
Shift strategies to include performance channels
Many traditional media channels have begun to evolve toward tracking meaningful business metrics in some fashion. Original digital direct response performance channels—including paid search, SEO, affiliate marketing, conversion optimization and now commerce media—remain some of the most meaningful and measurable media channels available. Each one offers a unique level of audience targeting, insight generation, real-time business outcome measurement, activation and optimization, with scaled automation underpinned by global technology partnerships with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
No matter the marketing objective—from awareness to consideration to conversion—performance channels should remain a core element of the media experience. For those brands rapidly evolving toward the future of commerce and retail, both online and offline, these performance channels are going to remain a core element of any Meaningful Media plan far into the future.
Brad Beiter joined Havas Media in May 2018 and now leads the performance marketing practice for North America. Prior to Havas, he spent over 13 years working in various roles within the performance marketing space at companies such as Google, DoubleClick and Performics.
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