Effect Trumps Audiences

I’m yet to come across an advertiser interested above all else in buying rating points or impressions. Advertisers advertise in order to make more money, it’s as simple and as obvious as that.

Of course audience data is an important step along that long road. Quite apart from providing a degree of accountability, not to mention newspaper headlines, the numbers produced help in decisions on where best to spend the money. But in our world this is a means to an end, not the end itself.

Over the years we’ve all learned that more audience, more times tends to equal a greater return but it’s still a proxy for what really counts. And what really counts is understanding what works and then doing more of it.

A million years ago in the UK the then-still-young commercial TV industry invested in a huge panel study called The Television Consumer Audit (TCA). Panel members kept a diary record of what they had bought. They threw any packaging in a special bin; every week the interviewer would reconcile what was in the bin with what was stated in the diary.

Combining this data with commercial audience data provided some basic correlations between money spent by advertisers and money spent by consumers.

The thought behind the TCA was that the TV medium had to justify itself to its advertisers by proving effect.

Advertisers needed to be convinced that the medium worked, so the broadcasters set out to provide the evidence.

Compare and contrast with today’s digital world.

Today it is assumed that advertising on digital platforms works. Why? Because loads of people spend a great deal of time on these vehicles.

But then I spend a lot of time each day eating, and yet to my knowledge no-one has yet suggested advertising on cutlery (no doubt Mary Meeker, the queen of the argument that time-spent-doing-something-equals-money-to-be-spent-advertising-on-it will pick up on this sooner or later).

… read on at bjanda.com

Originally posted by Brian Jacobs on The Cog Blog at BJ&A
11th August 2016