Turn and Friends 'Bring Sexy Back to Measurement'

Turn took over the penthouse of the Hudson Hotel on March 27 to present its first event in New York City – Turn Live: Advertising’s Got Measurement. One hundred-plus Turn customers and partners braved the early-morning commute to Midtown for breakfast before settling in for a friendly debate about the how, why, and what next of advertising measurement. The event was sponsored by Datalogix and Precision Market Insights from Verizon. Precision Market Insights from Verizon's data will be available through Turn in June 2014.

“Bringing Sexy Back to Measurement”

Chris Smith, Turn Emerging Media GM, served as MC. He got the crowd warmed up before introducing moderator Maureen Little, Turn SVP of Corporate and Business Development, who promised to “bring the sexy back to measurement.” A tall order, perhaps, but Maureen was raring to go. She kicked off with a quick history of ad measurement, identifying three challenges – buying logistics, creative format, and measurement – that initially made it tough to move big brand dollars over to digital. With new viewability metrics, devices, and formats, though, she said change is on the way. Turn partners Nielsen, Datalogix, and Moat were there to show us how.

Turn Data Partners x Three

Nielsen’s Tom Eaton, Client Services VP, took the floor first, describing Nielsen’s “3R Framework” for measuring digital ad effectiveness based on reach, resonance, and reaction. Tom pointed out that Nielsen focuses on giving marketers one consistent metric across screens, devices, and media. “What's really important,” Tom said, is measurement “across all screens and operating systems, across paid, owned, and earned media…around the globe.”

Joe Zito, Head of Client Development for Datalogix, turned the conversation from how you measure to what you measure. Acknowledging that all marketers are constrained by limited time and resources, and asked his audience if they had one dollar to spend on measurement to prove the success of their marketing, what would they spend it on? In their shoes, he said, he would ask, “Has this ad actually driven sales?” Even for brand marketers, he noted, “it's sales that keeps my business, your business, all these businesses, in business.”

Next up was Aniq Rahman, President of Moat, a search engine for display ads that focuses on measuring brand advertising online. Aniq agreed with Joe Zito that CTR is inadequate as a metric for branding. Brand marketers, he said, should be measuring the true currency of online advertising: attention. “We live in a world where we've got smartphones and tablets and 10 tabs open on our browser, so attention is really the scarce resource that marketers are trying to get out of  consumers,” Aniq said. He drove the point home by displaying heatmaps that compared consumers’ responses to two ads, showing how “a slight difference in creative can have dramatically different results when it comes to performance.”

What Marketers Really, Really Want

After a short break, the group reconvened for a conversation with Julie Fleischer, Director of Media & Consumer Engagement for Kraft Foods; Alex Andreyev, Director, Omnichannel Marketing at Neo@Ogilvy; and Magna Global’s VP of Programmatic, Veena Rayapareddi, offering them a chance to hear first-hand about what keeps these three top marketers awake at night.

Moderator Paul Alfieri, Turn Marketing VP, kicked it off by asking Julie about how the challenges posed by different measurement systems affect the way “you go to market, the way you organize your teams, the way you have to think and, and even report about the effectiveness of what you're doing."

Julie identified her top three challenges as differentiating between “correlation and causation;” achieving what she called “real-time-ish” optimization of advertising; and cross-media attribution. Veena agreed that for her clients, “the goal is to have that one unified cross-platform media by allowing campaigns to target consumers on whatever device they're using or whichever ad format it is.” Alex compared his role as an agency omnichannel lead to that of a hacker, applying multiple solutions to solve the data puzzle and “really understand how we get the user to the final sales point."

Other themes touched on the challenges of channel (and therefore marketing) fragmentation; the search for the “Holy Grail” of omnichannel measurement; and the evolution of marketer-as-data scientist. All agreed that whatever marketers feel about data, it’s here to stay.

The conversation was far-ranging but didn’t cover every inch of measurement ground. When Paul asked if brand health is “really a heat map or something more,” Julie pointed out that in fact her most important branding metric is penetration, “but that wasn’t even part of the conversation.” There’s always next time.

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Jonathan Gardner

Vice President, Communications