Ad effectiveness: Les Binet / WARC webinar

Effectiveness in the digital age was hosted by Les Binet from adam&eveDDB, part of the WARC 2017 Toolkit series.

The content was so good I’ve been mulling it over for 3 months trying to work out all the implications.

Binet uses the IPA databank to understand ad effectiveness, essentially examining how 1000+ campaigns led to measurable business results. He’s spent 10 years isolating the role of creative & media so we don’t have to.

I love all this stuff as it gives you the meta level view of what works. It both confirms and develops hunches you’ve had from many years working project by project.

There’s loads of interesting stuff to go at, but for me Binet was most compelling on strategy: isolating cause and effect and the synergistic effects of media.

There are two distinct jobs for marketing

Binet framed effectiveness around two competing marketing paradigms: reach (tell everyone) and targeting (focus your efforts).

Two ways marketing works

Reach is about brand building

  • Who: the aim is to speak to all potential buyers not just those buying right now.
  • What: “Your goal is to make people feel good about you so more likely to buy when they next see you.” Brand building creative should be emotional, entertaining, memorable
  • Why: it makes firms grow (‘builds long-term equity’). Reach is biggest predictor of ad advertising effectiveness. “Marketing is a numbers game…you need to reach as many people as possible…”
  • When: It is future oriented, an investment. It’s about building up memory structures, preparing the ground. Time horizons are long. That means if you’re selling cars you should reach even those who haven’t learnt to drive yet.
  • Sales effects: slow burn. Effects are small in the short term, but they last a long time. There is a stepped effect: each exposure increases base level of sales.

Targeting is about immediate sales activation

  • Who: give those in the market for your product right now compelling reasons to buy
  • What: You’re converting: rational persuasion, offers and a response mechanism – classic BTL DM/digital approach
  • Why: immediate sales effects. These are bigger and more immediate than those seen when brand building, but also more short term and decay quicker (e.g. 6 months)
  • When: now!
  • Sales effects: large, immediate, but more short term and quicker to decay (e.g. 6 months)

Targeting only works because of reach

  • Or to put it another way reach is what makes targeting work. You need to set them up (awareness, positivity, trust etc) before you can knock them down (offer, promotion, response mechanism).

Use the right media for the right job

Think synergistically

  • The evidence shows campaigns combining mass media and digital sales activation are more effective. Synergistic cross media effects mean the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Digital gives a “kicker effect” – boosting effectiveness.

The kicker effect of digital.png

Evaluate & prioritise your budgets (aka ROI is illusory)

  • The balance between long term building and short term sales activation should be around 60/40. Getting the time-frame for evaluation wrong means you over prioritise sales activation – and end up in a self-defeating short-term cycle of neglect. This is the illusory nature of ROI.
  • It’s about the strategy, the right job using the right medium.
    • When you’re brand building people are not particularly interested in what you have to say right now – they are busy doing other things. David Golding from adam & eve DDB talks about “creating culture through campaigns that generate fame, talk-ability and memetic power.”
    • When you’re converting you’re easing the path to purchase. Programmatic interventions online are a good example: identifying, micro-targeting and influencing people just as they are about to buy.

Binet also made great points on how the network effects of digital platforms have different rules and how millennials’ media choices are slightly different.

But it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry. Go listen yourself.

About Simon Shaw

I'm a Director at an insight consultancy. I'm interested in marketing, market research & consumer psychology. The views expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.
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