As television advertising measurement evolves from probabilistic to deterministic, it’s sparking a related evolution. The end result could be called high-speed marketing mix modeling (MMM) on cruise control.
“I think we’ll get to the day where it’s always on, real-time measurement,” says Bob Ivins, Chief Data Officer of NCC Media.
Not that long ago, MMM was the sole answer to advertising/marketing attribution, when sales were seen as a function of everything. “Distribution, price, promotion and TV activity. You would get all of the data into one spot,” Ivins says. “You would harmonize it and then you would run regression models against it and that would be a year-long project, and that would cost a lot of money.”
Now activity data—ranging from ad exposure, website visits, point-of-sale transactions and more—are passively gathered at scale. “So it’s not a modeling exercise but a lining up exercise and making sure you can attach ad exposure at a household level to an activity.”
Asked about partners with which NCC works on determining ad attribution, Ivins cites TVSquared among others. “Especially for the DTC space or to advertisers that want to drive people to an online activity, they’re a fantastic partner.”
As for the differences between local versus national advertisers’ goals, Ivins says they are pretty much the same, with the exception of scale. If Ford Motor Co., for example, wants to send out a national brand, it wants to drive awareness, traffic and sales.
“If I’m a local car dealership, I want to drive awareness, I want to drive traffic and drive sales. They’re just doing it at a different level. So it’s a different part of the same campaign, but it’s at different stages of the customer journey.”
NCC Media is the national TV advertising sales, marketing and technology company owned in partnership by Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox Communications. Because it reaches some 85 million U.S. households, the ongoing election cycle is of particular interest.
“I think there’s going to be a big pot of money that’s going to be spent early next year. I think that will put pressure on inventory as we think about advertisers trying to squeeze themselves into the pressure coming from the political arena,” Ivins says. “Unless the economy falls apart, we should have a good year both the Olympics and the political year.”
On a macro level, he thinks the traditional TV industry recognizes the need to neutralize the competitive advantage that digital media have in data, targeting and measurement.
“NCC Media feels that we need to work together as an industry to make this happen rather than have a walled garden.”