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6 min read

Modern Measurement Series #1 – The current media effectiveness landscape

This article was updated on: 15.04.2024

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 one, Strategy Director, Claire Elsworth and Paid Media Specialist, Sam Cooper uncover: 

  • Why media effectiveness is currently front-of-mind of marketers
  • How marketers should determine the best measurement solution for their business 
  • The part that media effectiveness plays in a wider strategy 
  • Who will get the most value from reassessing their current approach to measuring their marketing efforts

See the transcript of the video below the recording.

Claire Elsworth: This is the first in our series of conversations about marketing effectiveness. I think it’s fair to say that it’s really taken off as a conversation in the past few years. Obviously, as a discipline, it’s quite well-established but in the last couple of years maybe, it’s become a really hot topic. Why do you think that is?

Sam Cooper: Probably the biggest causal factor is the deprecation of cookies that’s looming on the horizon. There are also Google’s Privacy Sandbox changes which are all going to be rolled out over the next year or two.

The other side of this is marketing budgets are getting tighter – there are definitely budget purse strings being pulled because the market downturn post-COVID is in effect. This means people are interrogating their marketing budgets more and seeing exactly how effective each channel is, is more important to them. I do think that this is a conversation that’s a bit overdue, too. I think we need to shine a light on how we measure these channels better than how the channels want to measure themselves. 

Claire Elsworth: We did a survey recently and one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge that marketers called out was understanding how to effectively measure the impact of their spend. Everybody is finding it really difficult. It’s such a saturated market with loads of solutions out there. How does a marketer begin to navigate this? Do they need MMM? Do they need an attribution model? How would you help a client who’s going through this?

Sam Cooper: It depends on client size, for one thing. Obviously, the more budget you have,

the more channels you have in the mix and the bigger a solution you can implement, the better really. A marketing mix model might be great if you have lots of channels and contingent factors impacting each other and you’re operating in retail / e-commerce etc. 

If you’re on a much smaller budget, activating across only one or two channels, maybe an MMM isn’t suitable and you want to do some smaller-scale testing. I think it’s a case-by-case basis thing. If you engage with media effectiveness dialogues, it’s something that you need to start thinking about and it’ll become clear over the course of our series where you sit on the spectrum of small-scale testing on one side or an entire MMM on the other.  I think that ultimately, there’s no one answer either, no one solution is the perfect solution.

And this is probably something that we’re going to end up talking about a lot going forward, too. Because if we say, well, okay, cookies are going away, we need to start thinking about other ways of measuring, it’s not really to say that the old ways of measuring are gone. There is tons of marketing content around “attribution is dead” but it’s not really dead, it’s more “attribution is dead, long live attribution” kind of thing, because it’s still useful, we’re just starting to recognise some of its shortcomings now. It’s never really been the solution we wanted it to be, but we always trusted that it was. 

Claire Elsworth: Yeah, that’s typical of our industry, probably most but marketing especially. We love a trend, we love a bandwagon, we love throwing all of our eggs in whatever the latest basket is, so I guess, that’s something for marketers to be wary of. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that is right for everyone just because we’re all talking about media effectiveness, it’s a toolbox, with lots of different tools in it. You’ve got to find the right configuration for you as a business. 

Sam Cooper: I think that’s probably one of the difficult things right now, like you said earlier, the market is getting saturated with products that are solutions to these problems. I think there’s a danger that if you grab a tool that will do an MMM for you, maybe it’ll make recommendations, but it doesn’t come with any of the insights or statistical analysis knowledge that you might need to understand what it means or what you should infer from it, so maybe you don’t make the best decisions off the back of it. 

Ultimately, what media effectiveness as a discipline going forward needs to do, is draw all the disparate channels together. Right now, there are so many moving parts in marketing, you’ve got business goals on one side, overarching strategy on another side, and channel activators somewhere over here, and they’re often siloed into individual channels. Media effectiveness could just be another aspect of this if you grab a tool off the shelf and start using it. It needs to be something that you integrate more and I think it might be able to act as an anchor really, it’s something that can pull all these things together. Do it right and it can be the linchpin of making a good decision about where and how to invest.

Claire Elsworth: Who do you think is going to get the most value out of starting a marketing effectiveness conversation? Who is going to get the most value out of the kind of content that we’ll be talking about here?

Sam Cooper: I’ve got a bit of a cheeky answer here, which is basically everyone. There is a spectrum of what you use and how you use it. There are lots of brands that still use last-click attribution, for example, and for them starting to think about media effectiveness beyond last-click attribution is a really big step and this series matters for them and this discussion matters for them. Even if you already have a complex media mix analysis, starting to interrogate it more and build more complicated or smarter models is really important, too. Having the conversation about media effectiveness is something that needs to happen everywhere and probably all of us need to get better at understanding how it works, whether you’re just a junior marketing analyst or in the C-suite. Thinking about media effectiveness is going to be a very, very key to making smart, strategic decisions over the next few years.