October 1, 2015

The Future of Ad Performance and Effectiveness

Aaron Fetters Aaron Fetters
Senior Vice President, comScore Marketing Solution

At the inaugural comScore Industry Summit, I hosted and moderated a panel made up of some of the brightest data-based marketing visionaries out there. Our panel was titled, The Future of Ad Performance and Effectiveness – quite the topic, and one that could go in many directions.

Historically, advertising effectiveness has involved analyzing data, creating reports, charts, etc., and ultimately providing a summary on how well the advertisements performed. Today, all of that analyzing and summarizing doesn’t cut it. Marketers want you to take that data and DO something about it, RIGHT NOW. This means as an industry we are being pushed to jump from data straight to activation, and I wonder: Are we missing something along the way? Are we missing the insights that can and should be gained through measurement and analysis? In short, do we have a better perspective of advertising performance and what drives effectiveness because of all the data and ecosystems in place today, or are we taking some blind leaps?

Getting Creative: Opening the Conversation to the Whole Team
I set the stage with this discussion which led to perhaps one of the more memorable lines of the day from Steven Wolfe Pereira of Oracle Data Cloud, “Data is a commodity. The premium goes to creative.” 

Interestingly the topic of creative consumed more of our discussion than I had anticipated. It’s clear that this is an underserved component of advertising effectiveness in our data-driven world. Steven noted, “There are no true creatives in this room – and that’s a major silo. Creative people are not talking to data people and technologists.” Furthering this perspective Jon Suarez-Davis from Krux added, “Big brand marketers are not designed to be nimble enough to take data and inform their insights, and the creative process.” Clearly, there are many opportunities for data to become the science that informs the art of creative moving forward.

The Role of Data
Building off the energy our “creative” discussion generated, our group went on to talk through the various benefits and potential pitfalls offered by our data rich, tech dependent industry today. We touched on data and scalability, which is an ongoing conversation with many perspectives around first and third-party data, and walled gardens in particular. Anneka Gupta of LiveRamp said, “Walled gardens have advantage in mobile, but there’s still a lot out there to personalize.” Ted Prince of Neustar added in respect to scalability that, “You can stitch together identity, and scale will build over time.”

It was generally agreed that while more data, at a more granular level is available today, without proper analysis and application we potentially know less about consumers than in the days of phone or even door to door surveys. It was suggested that in order to truly be “effective,” advertising needs to create a positive brand impression and/or persuade consumers to take action. The ideal scenario will have companies applying data in ways which optimize both the messaging and placement of an ad to make that impact. Kyle Antoian from Epsilon pointed out that, “As an industry we have a lot more data, but we don’t know which data is better.” The answer to that is that we need all of the data, and we need for it to be comparable so that we can analyze across it all to better understand outcomes from advertising.

Here’s to the Future
As advertisers and publishers alike ask, “What is the future of ad performance and effectiveness?” those of us at comScore can confidently say that we are well positioned to guide them into this future with tools and services across advertising channels.

Four years ago while working for a large advertiser, I was asked to present our digital measurement strategy to the heads of the company. In a stroke of good fortune, my use of Moneyball as an analogy to what we were trying to achieve went over extremely well. Perhaps my favorite take-away from that analogy is that it’s not just about winning – it’s about changing the game. That’s exactly what I see here as I now sit on the comScore team – we’re not just winning, we’re changing the game. Here’s to that – cheers.

 

Visit our Industry Summit page for photos and more insights from the conference here.