The State of Media and Measurement in 2018

Written by Damon Samuel Posted on March 9, 2018 at 8:31 AM

At last week’s 2018 ANA Media Conference in Orlando, there were plenty of examples of attractive and impactful creative. This year, the #alltreesarebeautiful campaign (by REESE’S) was a highlight where poor execution of product design was turned into a marketing win. But underneath the self-congratulatory pronouncements of great creative, effective campaigns, and incredible innovation was a list of concerns shared by advertisers. Today’s new technologies and changing consumer behaviors, especially among younger generations, are leading to fractured audiences, fragmented measurements, and lost trust.

Finding your target audience has become increasingly difficult as media (and content) continues to splinter (particularly into new digital channels). Gone are the days where paid search and Facebook account for the majority of digital impressions. Even Amazon and Target have carved out space for themselves as ad channels.

This media fragmentation is a double-edged sword. It’s great if your target is niche and you can easily find them. One of the biggest challenges marketers face today, however, is trying to reach a mass audience efficiently across numerous channels. Audiences are more and more fractured by their media consumption habits. Today’s younger generations are harder to reach on TV while print and radio remain the domains of older segments. Toss filter bubbles into the mix and it’s easy to see how difficult getting the right message in front of the right consumer has become.

Measurement of these marketing efforts remains challenging as data is either too aggregate or not reflective of the big picture. Walled gardens in the digital space still prevent full insight into individual touchpoints which is only further complicated by the lack of a persistent, omni-channel user ID (which likely won’t change any time soon). Market Mix models continue to be maligned by purveyors of multi-touch attribution which have yet to deliver. Researchers are still looking to identify and apply the best methods to the campaigns and channels they can, knowing that perfect is the enemy of good. Even P&G’s Marc Pritchard stated how good old fashion DMA tests, like other tried and true techniques, are still valuable.

Trust remains an issue. While the Media Ratings Council has helped establish ad viewability standards, many publishers still aren’t accredited. Bots and click fraud contribute to the lack of trust among marketers regarding their advertising purchases. Organizations are also increasingly concerned with brand safety and the content their ads appear next to.

In light of these fractured audiences, fragmented measurements, and lost trust, marketers are being held ever more accountable for their budgets. It was clear from last week’s ANA conference that there remains no silver bullet to solve these issues. The best treatments remain due diligence with data, methods, and executions surrounding campaigns and vigilance against stretching insights beyond what they truly support. 

News from the conference was not all gloom and doom... In addition to better standards and accreditations of data, there are cracks appearing in the walls of the big gardens. TV publishers are reacting to digital threats and are chasing custom targets over mass aggregations. The analytics front continues to evolve through new tools, techniques, and leverage of new data sources such as the Open AP from ComScore, Nielsen, and IRI.

The State of Media and Measurement remains challenging for marketers in 2018. That said, intelligent execution and appropriate application of measurements can still lead to success. 

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