Get in touch with our team
Feature image for 25.04.2024


7 min read

Modern Measurement Series #4 – Demonstrating the value of brand media vs performance media

There’s a huge buzz around media measurement and marketing effectiveness in the industry right now, and for good reason. The phase-out of the third-party cookie presents advertisers with attribution challenges that not only make it more difficult to make strategic decisions but also to achieve stakeholder buy-in for marketing investment.

To help you improve your knowledge of the modern measurement landscape and understand the best solutions to embrace user privacy without hindering marketing performance, Impression has launched a series of short videos.

Watch the full series here and gain insights into:

  • The current technology and privacy headwinds challenging digital attribution
  • How to respect user privacy online and implement compliant solutions
  • How to more accurately measure the impact of your efforts through different solutions e.g. multi-touch attribution, incrementality testing and media mix modelling
  • How to communicate the value of marketing measurement to key stakeholders

In part four, Technology Director, Aaron Dicks and Strategy Director, Claire Elsworth explore:

  • How to generate more demand for your brand and overcome the performance plateau
  • How to adopt a holistic approach to measure the success of your generation and conversion of demand
  • How to use insights to deliver a full-funnel brand-led solution

See the transcript of the video below the recording.

Aaron Dicks: So far then in this series, we’ve been talking about some of the technological changes for measuring attribution in the modern world. We’ve also been looking at how we can start to model contribution. Historically, when we’ve talked quite a lot about digital attribution and digital marketing, in many of the activities we’ve been doing we’ve been looking to drive efficiency. The core challenge of driving efficiency is that typically, activity like brand gets overlooked. So what are you seeing with our clients and in the wider industry at the moment?

Claire Elsworth: I think two of the biggest conversation topics at the moment in the industry I think two of the biggest conversation topics at the moment in the industry are hesitation towards brand-focused strategies or balanced brand and performance strategies. The other side of that coin is the performance plateau, so those two things are linked. 

The performance plateau is when typically scale-ups, although it does apply to other types of businesses as well, have enjoyed a high-demand category and have converted that demand with what we would call traditional performance-focused activities or strategies e.g. social and search would be the most recognisable tactics here. When scale-ups launch into the market, they’ve usually done so because they’re answering for a consumer need that isn’t being answered somewhere else so there’s often quite high demand that they can convert efficiently. Now what happens is once they’ve started converting more of that demand efficiently, competitors start getting wind of this consumer demand, they come into the market, more of that demand is being answered, there’s less demand to convert and thus their performance-focused approach starts getting less efficient because it’s harder to find those consumers to convert. That’s the performance plateau. Your performance media rockets up in efficiency and then starts to tail off. Then what do you do? Then it’s about switching to a more brand-focused approach, and that’s because you need to grow demand again, right? So where there was demand existing, there isn’t anymore, you’ve got to find some way of growing that demand.

The problem that we typically see with brands who are faced with this quandary, is that they try and measure the brand activity in the same way that they’re measuring the performance. Performance is a sort of a quick, almost immediate efficiency play. The demand is there and you’re converting it. Brand is going to take a bit more time. 

Aaron Dicks: And it’s a lot harder, isn’t it, to sort of generate and then capture that demand as well, you’re almost having to do a couple of jobs over a longer period of time. I think that’s where some of the modelling really starts to unlock that, particularly for, as you say, those scale-ups, the mid-market, that you know, historically haven’t had access to a lot of this data before. In the market right now, some of the solutions available are helping businesses understand the lag between that above-the-line exposure through to when that second interaction, the purchase or whatever happens. I think looking at that lag effect is also quite an important topic as well.

Claire Elsworth: Exactly, and that’s where a contribution-focused approach to effectiveness is going to end up being much more valuable than just simple attribution. And I know attribution isn’t simple, but attribution, again, has historically been based around the concept that ‘this channel drove this short-term effect’ whereas when we’re looking at increasing demand, what you might call a full-funnel or full journey approach to both growing and converting demand, you actually start looking at the total holistic contribution of your holistic strategy. It’s not about “this drove this”, it’s about your total strategy and how those individual channels are contributing to the success of your generation and conversion of demand. 

Aaron Dicks: That’s going to make it a lot easier, I guess then, for CMOs and CFOs to jump in on more activity, like video or display right through to digital out-of-home and traditional out-of-home

Claire Elsworth: Yeah, and I think the important thing is to remember that they’re not in silo so brand and performance are not these separate disciplines, it’s part of one strategic thought. Critically, I think when marketing teams are determining the right time to start switching gears into a bit more of a brand-focused approach, you’ve got to understand how much demand there is in the market, how able you are to convert that demand, we might call that availability, and then looking at those two things together, are we able to continue efficiently converting demand? Is there enough in there and are we good enough at converting it? 

Aaron Dicks: I think the measurement part can play a huge part there in particular, especially for demand harvesting activity. We’re able to look at where you are in that efficiency curve, on the saturation curve, where are your diminishing marginal returns on that demand harvesting activity when you’re approaching the point of efficiency on that curve. That’s actually when you need to really consider changing your strategy so that you are able to create that demand as well.

Claire Elsworth: Yeah, yeah, totally. It’s about understanding it in the round as well.

Aaron Dicks: A lot of measurement solutions, be it direct digital attribution or more sort of contribution modelling that you might get through econometrics such as media-mix-modelling, obviously a lot of this looks backwards. How does a brand wrestle with the fact that data from the past is giving them insights that X campaign or platform has generated a certain return for them? How does a brand take that insight and then end up later delivering a full-funnel brand-led strategy?

Claire Elsworth: We use a methodology called Growth Dynamics, which maps the level of demand versus your ability as a brand to convert that demand. It’s based on competitor activity as well as what we can see about consumer behaviour and in-market demand. All of that is based on either a moment in time or a historical view. We can’t predict the future, of course, but we can be pretty confident in how we use that data to understand how the market might shift over the next three, six, twelve months. A brand looking at its Growth Dynamics should confidently be able to say that based on what is happening in the market with its competitors, with customer behaviour and the existing demand, the right thing for this brand to cut through and deliver efficiently is ‘this’. And as you’re building out that strategy it is critical to make sure that measurement solution is in place so that you can, over a period of time, understand the short, medium and long-term effectiveness metrics that you’re delivering against that strategy.