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The Digital Voice chats with Sean Adams from Brand Metrics, and Natalie Dawson from Ozone, about all things measurement and more
September 13, 2021
Brand Metrics, the software platform that measures the brand lift delivered by digital brand advertising, has been working with The Ozone Project since launch, helping Ozone measure their campaigns and drive home the metrics that really matter - particularly those that deliver long term value for advertiser partners. The Drum/The Digital Voice sat down with Sean Adams, global insight director at Brand Metrics, and Natalie Dawson, agency sales director at Ozone to get a better understanding of where digital ad measurement is falling short, and what more up to date solutions can help deliver.
Can you outline briefly the chief problem with digital ad measurement as it stands?
Sean Adams: As an industry we have been approaching measurement in a very disjointed way for too long, which does digital a massive disservice.
Measuring mid-funnel metrics isn’t easy at scale, so when you’re measuring lots of campaigns and need to provide a rapid snapshot of their performance to your stakeholders, it’s easier to rely on the “success” data you have to hand, such as viewability and CTRs, so you can quickly move on to the next thing. The alternative - working with the insights team, uncovering bespoke data and so on - can be difficult to achieve and time consuming, especially if attempted at scale.
But by pigeon-holing success measures, we ignore the multi-dimensional impact this advertising can have with consumers. It ignores the effect of that campaign in driving upper funnel measures like awareness and consideration and it ignores the power of messaging in relevant contexts in driving what consumers think.
Where does the responsibility lie for a wholesale change in digital ad measurement?
Natalie Dawson: From our conversations with our agency partners, it’s clear that the responsibility is a joint one between themselves and media owners like us - on behalf of the advertisers we work for. We both want a quality, competitive media market that delivers great results for these advertisers, and therefore we have to be able to offer alternative measures that clearly demonstrate what each individual channel delivers. That’s why Ozone has closely partnered with Brand Metrics for the past few years - it allows us and our customers to understand more about how we impact brand measures like awareness, consideration and preference.
The likes of Google and Facebook do a great job at showcasing what they do, and in particular how they impact on advertising conversions. The challenge facing many quality digital channels is that, broadly speaking, performance - and therefore success - has become a by-word for clicks, in many cases disregarding the many other outcomes advertising can deliver.
We know the quality, editorially-governed, high attention sites that Ozone represents deliver great results for advertisers and that’s why we continuously aim to demonstrate these brand-building capabilities through our relationship with Brand Metrics to our clients - while also hitting their KPIs!.
But the age-old approach to measurement hasn’t held digital back, has it?
ND: It certainly hasn’t - in fact it’s these very same measures that have helped fuel the growth of digital advertising across the board. The challenge has been that as the market has matured and become more sophisticated, the metrics haven’t really evolved at the same pace. So now we often find ourselves in the situation where the campaign objectives - for example driving consideration or shifting perception - don’t really align with success measures like click-through rates or viewability.
SA: Advertising techniques are becoming far more sophisticated - it’s no longer just banner ads and pop ups - but as an industry we should be ensuring we are making the very best use of every single opportunity. Measurement is now evolving in line with advertising methods, tools and tech, and the industry needs to catch up across the board.
So what is the answer? Is it simple?
SA: Oh far from it, but there certainly needs to be a more healthy discussion around an alternative, more effective measurement technique for digital ads. We need to close the gap between what is measured and the impact it has. Only then can we start to see the real benefits of digital advertising effectiveness and not just a limited perspective, viewed through a two-dimensional lens.
Essentially publishers should be offering consistent measures that relate to business success, rather than ones that just focus on advertising exposure.
How has increased regulation impacted measurement of digital advertising? And do you think it is ultimately a good thing?
ND: While regulation may be seen by some as a blocker, at Ozone we believe that if it’s good for the consumer, then it should be good for business too. Privacy regulations, alongside moves such as the phasing out of third party cookies, gives the consumer more control when it comes to the digital advertising they see. A ‘happier’ consumer is more likely to respond better to advertising, which should deliver better results for both advertisers and publishers.
Can you explain some more about the Ozone Attention Index?
ND: The Ozone Attention Index is our own proprietary measurement technique that uses a combination of six easily accessible advertising measures to give a much better gauge of the levels of attention that an ad receives - as opposed to some of the more rudimentary measures usually used to gauge campaign success. Having consulted with almost 100 different customers on the measures they thought were most appropriate, we devised the Index in a way that it can be reported on every single campaign that we run, as a complement to reporting the client’s KPIs.
This has been a really important first step for us - especially as numerous studies have shown that quality sites like Ozone’s receive more attention that translates into ad impact. Being able to show this on a campaign by campaign basis, is allowing us to introduce the concept of an alternative way of measuring success.
How does The Ozone Project complement what Brand Metrics offers?
ND: Because our sites deliver extremely well on those upper funnel metrics - like driving awareness and consideration - without a partner like Brand Metrics it would be incredibly difficult to demonstrate the impact of many of our campaigns. What’s particularly useful is being able to gauge the performance of a given campaign against Brand Metrics’ category benchmarks and demonstrate positive impact on a broader scale. At the moment we’re analysing the correlation between high Ozone Attention Index scores and positive shifts in Brand Lift, to help us understand more about the performance of the media versus the impact on the advertiser’s business. All very exciting!
SA: Meanwhile, from our point of view, initiatives like the Ozone Attention Index help drive the conversation forward because it’s the publisher side taking the lead and helping to showcase the impact of advertising in their environments. Effective measurement starts to become a conversation that happens every time rather than just when the advertiser asks about it.
What should clients be considering in terms of measurement in 2021 and beyond?
SA: As campaigns are put together, measurement is key and something that should be written into every budget. Brands should also be adopting a test-and-learn mindset, trialing what is going to work best so they are in a position to hit the ground running in Q1 2022. Now is the time to do it. Digital advertising is primarily an accountable medium and, with powerful tools at our disposal, there is an opportunity for real innovation and creativity to drive further effectiveness in future.