News publishers are working harder than ever to deliver campaign results to advertising partners.
Acknowledging current challenges and considerations — such as the death of third-party cookies and data privacy concerns — executives from South China Morning Post, The Times Group, News Corp Australia, and Globe Content Studio shared their strategies for measuring and reporting advertising success during the What’s Next for Advertising Sales Master Class in September.
South China Morning Post
The more we know about our audience, the better we are able to serve them content, information, and advertisements that are more relevant to them. That’s the idea behind the South China Morning Post’s focus on first-party data.
Ian Hocking, vice president of digital, is encouraging other media companies to not just collect data, but to build off of individual identities of its audience themselves so they can take control of how they serve them.
SCMP focuses on what it calls exclusive targeting when it comes to who sees which advertisements.
“If it could possibly be them, we leave them in,” Hocking said. “Then we’ll let the optimisation pick the best performing people, segments, and platforms within that. Having great data isn’t about pinpointing individuals and talking to them individually. It’s finding the right mix between scale and price so you drive the best possible results and use the technologies you have to optimise it to the best possible click-through rate.”
The Times Group
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, news media organisations often heard the same thing from advertisers and marketers: They have limited resources and want to understand very clearly their return on investment.
Partha Sinha, president of The Times of Group in India, acknowledged that ROI is important, but added that it shouldn’t be an obsession. Instead, he talked about “Return on Ideas,” and suggested that could be measured in different ways. Ideally, a campaign will be designed at the outset around an idea that can elastically accommodate brand and activation ideas — in other words, a brand response campaign.
In general, emotional metrics are more likely to predict long-term success, while rational metrics are more likely to predict short-term success.
“We don’t see too many brands that are measuring long-term success,” Sinha said. “They are all measuring the here-and-now, short-term success. So I think it’s imperative on us to be able to ask the questions. Many times I have been successful when shifting the focus from return on investment to return on ideas.”
News Corp Australia
To help deliver stronger results for advertisers, News Corp Australia has been focusing on what really matters: audience attention.
“We know our advertisers don’t want to buy impressions and clicks — they want to buy outcomes,” said Suzie Cardwell, general manager of data and ad product. “They want to buy meaningful advertising formats that really drive effectiveness and help achieve an outcome through the funnel.”
With that in mind, News Corp Australia began looking at how to evolve its offerings in a way that provides guaranteed engagement. And that began with re-evaluating the metrics used, focusing on attention. Although impressions have been the industry standard for online activity, Cardwell said not all impressions are created equal: “The sweet spot is between five and 20 seconds.”
After 20 seconds, the effect begins dropping off. But knowing how critical that 15 seconds of attention is, News Corp Australia set out to reimagine how it engages its audience and how it connects them with advertisers. About seven or eight months ago, it introduced the News Corp Attention Suite, which comes with an engagement promise to advertisers.
Globe Content Studio
Measuring performance is key to the success of any campaign, said Tracy Day, managing director of The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio creative studio and ad innovation. To raise the game of the branded content arm and deliver the level of service required, the team constantly asks its customers how they performed. This helps them identify areas for improvement.
The customer success measures the team uses include:
- Customer insights.
- Campaign performance — did they achieve or exceed the expectations and KPIs?
- Production and process, the ease of working with the studio.
- Service levels — responsiveness, flexibility, optimisation, reporting, and insights.
“Success comes from one really good thing and that’s empathy,” Day said. “Empathy in understanding what clients need, and it’s empathy within the whole organisation as a team. That’s key for success.”
A list of upcoming INMA Master Classes can be found here.