SBD/November 8, 2012/Events and Attractions

SMT Conference: Brands Evaluating Return Of Digital Spend On Objectives

Members of the Digital Media panel discussed evaluating the worth of digital media
ComScore, panel data and other measurement tools are only a starting point for evaluating the value of digital media, but brands are increasingly evaluating the return of a digital spend on objectives rather than reach, a group of researchers and digital ad buyers said during the ’12 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference at a session called “Sports Sponsorship Investment in Digital Media.” Digitas Senior VP/Media Adam Shlachter said, “Service-side data are great signals in terms of what to expect, but they’re not necessarily good predictors of performance. They’re good predictors of who you might reach. You have to use them to help inform a decision, but I don’t know how you can rely on them to determine what the outcome of a program is from brand to brand.” Universal McCann Senior VP & Managing Partner of U.S. Integrated Investment & Digital Innovation Colleen Soriano pointed to her company’s work with Army and Chrysler as examples of how the importance of ComScore and other measurement services varies from brand to brand. Soriano said that with the Army, digital advertising is “much more about supporting their pillars: strategy, leadership, endurance. They want to bring those to life. A ‘brought to you by’ or shallow vignette doesn’t work for them.” By contrast, she said Chrysler measures the total number of views it gets for a Super Bowl spot on YouTube in the months after the games. Sporting News VP Marketing & Chief Creative Officer Shaun Koiner said that a lot of the difference is rooted in brands’ move in recent years to create and own their own content. Koiner: “Now you have brands who are content creators and the engagement there is different and it’s not measured in traditional ways. You have Army creating content. We’ve worked with UPS to create a specific stat because they’re measuring logistics. … It’s a much deeper experience.”

CREATING A CROSS-PLATFORM MEASUREMENT SYSTEM: Recognizing the limitations of digital measurement, ESPN VP Digital Media Research & Analytics David Coletti noted that ESPN recently partnered with ComScore and Arbitron to create a measurement tool for radio, television, mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers that everyone could use in hopes that brands would have a reliable, cross-platform-measurement system. Measuring mobile traffic has been the most difficult for ESPN and others to do because the device being used varies from visitor to visitor. Coletti said, “It matters a great deal if you’re on an iPhone or Android device. It is something we absolutely have to solve. For example, on an NFL Sunday the last two months we’re seeing a 50-50 split between desktop and laptop traffic and mobile and tablet access. It’s imperative on us as an industry to get the measurement right to the extent we can because, for the ad community, I assume they need justification to make these investments.”

See the conference's full agenda and read more in our dedicated SMT blog.
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