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Five New Measurement Priorities for the New Marketing Normal

Between toilet paper shortages and increased demand for products such as trampolines, the novel coronavirus has clearly had an impact on consumer behavior. And whether it’s the shift to CTV or new product consumption models, those changes continue to evolve.

Advertisers have historically relied on measurement insights from previous campaigns to help inform their ad buys. But in this new normal, with consumers shifting behavior rapidly, marketers need to embrace new models of measurement.

And the data-savvy ones are doing exactly that, and in doing so, they are maximizing the impact of every ad dollar spent, says Michelle Hulst, exec vice president of global data strategy at The Trade Desk.

“Marketers are being asked to do more with less,” says Hulst. “For most of those advertisers, it means prioritizing ad opportunities that are both measurable and comparable, while also verifying their performance with the CFO.”

Hulst shared her comments during The Trade Desk’s Groundswell Digital Marketing Festival. She was joined by Nishat Mehta of IRI; Brett Schnittlich of Lucid; and Jessica Hindilian of Nielsen.

Here, we share five takeaways from their discussion.

1. Every six months is not enough

Because of the new dynamics of consumer behavior, brands must measure more frequently — i.e., every four weeks versus every six months — just to keep pace.

“The consumer has not changed more often in any previous year than they have in this one,” says Nishat Mehta, chief product officer and president of IRI, a measurement company that specializes in the CPG space. “Even today, six months after the beginning of the pandemic, we're still looking at situations where a month from now, things are going to be wildly different than they are today.”

2. Now is not the time to stay on the sidelines

Brett Schnittlich, President at Lucid, a market research company that captures consumer sentiment, says shoppers are also changing their opinions at a rate “we’ve just never historically seen before.”

“Consumers are changing their opinions constantly because of what’s going on around them,” says Schnittlich. “But then certain advertisers are definitely throttling back on ad spend. In a world where sentiment is changing so rapidly, the importance of making sure each impression matters is now more important than ever.”

Marketers that opt to stand on the sidelines and pause their ad spend are also likely missing out: The average brand saw between 30 percent to 40 percent of their customers in March and April as first-time buyers, according to Mehta, the IRI exec.

“There’s no amount of advertising spend that you could have spent to get the kind of trial you’ve seen in the last two to six months with consumers,” adds Mehta. “If there’s ever been an opportunity to take advantage of anything about this year, this would be it.”

3. Measuring the impact of advertising on business performance

Although brands are advertising amid a global pandemic, they’re making sure their ad dollars are being tied back to business outcomes, perhaps more than ever before, says Jessica Hindilian, senior vice president of product management and advanced video advertising and identity at Nielsen.

“There’s a need to maximize investment and that’s only accelerated under Covid-19,” according to Hindilian. “We’re seeing the market shift to a more demand-based model, especially in advanced TV, where advertisers are really looking for increased flexibility with their investments.”

“That also means an increased focus on measurement,” Hindilian adds.

4. Last click attribution is not enough

The industry has for far too long relied on a last click attribution model, which doesn’t provide marketers with a complete picture of which portions of their ad spend actually worked. Nearly 80 percent of buying decisions, for instance, are usually influenced prior to the “last click” being made, according to Hindilian.

“Business outcomes occur at multiple levels of the consumer journey,” adds Hindilian. “It includes everything from building awareness to signing up to a website or test driving a new car that ultimately led to a purchase being made.”

Marketers who only focus on the last click can quickly lose focus as to how they can build and nurture the process of acquiring new customers.

5. The cutting edge: real-time measurement

Marketers are measuring more frequently, but the most sophisticated media buyers are measuring in real time — which wasn’t necessarily needed prior to Covid-19. The Trade Desk, for example, is able to provide media buyers real time data signals that allow companies such as Lucid to make better buying decisions in the moment — and not 30 days from now.

“We have the ability to perform better, in real time, when a campaign is actually in flight,” says Schnittlich. “Actually having the results come back in real time, and not some Power Point 30 days after it ran, allows you to make adjustments with your media mix on the fly.”

Watch the full session here.