OPINION9 March 2015

10 questions insight managers must ask about ad effectiveness


Detailed understanding of how and when people multi-screen is vital for ad effectiveness says Millward Brown’s Amanda Phillips.

Brands need to ‘join the dots’ with the data they receive on how audiences consume ideas and messages, and respond to the ads they see, along today’s non-linear, multi-screen path to purchase.

There are 10 critical questions insight managers should ask their research agencies to ensure they ‘check in’ with target consumers at key stages of a campaign – from strategy development through to evaluation.

  1. Which platforms do our target consumers use, when, and in what order? A typical UK multi-screen user consumes almost seven hours of screen media daily, with smartphones and laptops dominating daytime use and TV in the evenings (Millward Brown’s AdReaction research, 2014 ). A detailed understanding of how audiences consume media means campaign elements can be optimised to construct a cohesive brand experience in their minds.
  2. When consumers multi-screen, what’s driving it? Twenty-four per cent of users globally ‘mesh’ to search for information about something they’ve seen on TV, while 42% ‘stack’ to fill time during ad breaks. Knowing why your consumers multi-screen will inform effective media placement, and also strategies to achieve reach and engagement.
  3. How do they consume ideas by demographic? Are they mega multi-screeners, digital dynamos, or passivists? Segmenting key audiences by their behaviours will unlock new opportunities to connect with them and to ‘flex’ the execution against the media plan, depending on where the ad will run and who will see it.
  4. Which screen/media works best for each task? And, even more importantly, which channels perform best in terms of your brand? How hard have they worked for previous campaigns in delivering brand engagement, building associations and driving motivations, and how cost-efficiently was this achieved?
  5. Will this idea have cross-media effectiveness? Planning campaigns holistically with all screens in mind will ensure creative can be flexed for different channels. Post-campaign evaluation will ensure future investment in the combination of channels which works hardest for your brand.
  6. Will the campaign drive predisposition? Early-stage testing can be used to evaluate an ad’s long-term impact on the brand, by measuring attitudes and opinions. An approach that combines direct questioning with neuroscience and qualitative methods will provide a really deep analysis.
  7. Will the creative deliver against the task? Quantitative direct measurement before a campaign launches will measure brand predisposition, associations and engagement with consumers and offer opportunities to optimise multi-channel creative.
  8. Will the creative be noticed and remembered? The quality of creative accounts for 50-75% of campaign impact. Online ads with 100% brand logo presence outperform those that only feature the logo partially, or not at all – critical when you can’t guarantee the viewer will stick around to view the entire frame rotation.
  9. Does the ad generate a positive emotional response? The strongest brands have associations in all three areas of knowledge, experience and emotion. We need a variety of direct questioning and implicit techniques to understand the overall emotions felt, and those that consumers find difficult to articulate or don’t realise are influencing them.
  10. What part did the creative and media choices play in purchase decisions? Measuring post-campaign impact in a way that tracks performance concurrently across all touch points is vital to understand what each channel added and how they worked together. It should evaluate the effect the ad had on consumers’ attitudes and opinions, as well as their behaviour.  

By asking these questions, insight managers will be able to provide marketing teams with the pieces of the puzzle they need to refine media plans, based on a deeper understanding of target audiences and the most potent combination of creative and media. The outcome will be ad campaigns that travel seamlessly across media, build the brand and deliver real business results.

Amanda Phillips is head of UK marketing at Millward Brown

1 Comment

9 years ago

An excellent summary Amanda and thanks for sharing some of the hard data in this area. I am sure you guys are down the track on implicit testing techniques. Just wondering how facial emotional testing is performing as an indicator of campaign effectiveness?

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