Measuring Campaign Accuracy– There’s No Escaping the Math

Over the summer, there’s a natural tendency to let the mind wander from some of the more rigorous and demanding parts of the digital advertising world. Whether on vacation or at our desks, when the weather is warm the last thing some of us want to focus on is math.

But at eXelate we don’t have that luxury, and now that summer has reached its symbolic end with Labor Day it’s time for everyone to face some hard truths that aren’t changing anytime soon. In case you missed it, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings released their latest set of Benchmarks or “norms” in August.

These norms help marketers evaluate their campaign effectiveness by benchmarking their campaign accuracy against campaigns with similar targeting criteria.  Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings benchmarks take results from prior campaigns that used Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings and creates an average result for campaigns within various “zones” or audience parameters. This helps provide guidance as to accuracy expectations for a broad campaign targeting, say “all Women” versus a more narrow campaign targeting “Men 18-24.”

What’s interesting about the norms is that they provide a good measure of targeting efficiency between varying types of campaign targeting.The latest norms break down as follows:

Zone Zone Description Gender Target Span Avg of % on target
Zone 1 Broad, All Genders Persons >30 year span 84%
Zone 2 Broad, Single Gender Males, Female >30 year span 54%
Zone 3 Medium, All Genders Persons 15-29 year span 58%
Zone 4 Medium, Single Gender Males, Female 15-29 year span 41%
Zone 5 Narrow, All Genders Persons <15 year span 44%
Zone 6 Narrow, Single Gender Males, Female <15 year span 32%

One key takeaway is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to gauging campaign effectiveness. Any marketer that is spending on digital advertising expects perfection, and our goal at eXelate is nothing less. At the same time it’s interesting to see how elusive perfection can be, even with the broadest of campaign targets. How you target, who you target, what data you use to fuel your campaigns: all of these factors are going to determine how successful your campaigns are in reaching their audience goals.

Another takeaway is that marketers can do better. As an industry, the results above should concern us because there’s simply too much inefficiency here. While the targeting methodologies that make up these norms surely differ, there’s no escaping the fact that marketers won’t put up with campaigns that fail to hit their targets over and over. A key promise of digital is accuracy of measurement and delivery, so it’s time for us to make good on that promise, or we’ll be doing a lot more make goods.

We take campaign ratings very seriously: quality data is at the core of our business. That’s why we spend so much time measuring our data quality with the same tools marketers use, like Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings. We validate our own data so that when marketers use our data to reach their intended audience, they are successful. Summer, fall, whatever – there’s no avoiding the math.

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