Does Measurement Matter to the Media Mix?

18 Feb

measurement rulerIn the digital age, marketers are racing to measure everything. That makes sense, given that digital platforms are increasing their capabilities to capture consumer data. In fact, a few months ago, we discussed the degree to which audience ratings are becoming obsolete.

Well, a recent study from Kantar Millward Brown has found that the degree to which a channel can be measured does not seem to impact its presence in the media mix. So, if marketers aren’t relying on measurement—i.e. ROI, reach, etc.—to determine a channel’s efficacy, how are they deciding to allocate their budget dollars?

It turns out that a lot of that is based on past performance (still measurement), but also based on their target audiences’ preferred channels. Of course, this is not different than previous methods for determining media mix. In the good old days (i.e. pre-internet), channels were most frequently chosen based on demographics. If I knew my customers were aged 25-54 and lived in a metropolitan area, I knew which media channels could best reach them.

Today, however, we segment audiences based on a much wider variety of factors besides demographics, and we have a lot more media channels to choose from. And many of those channels are still quite new—or at least don’t have a long history to backup efficacy, such as TV and radio do.

That said, measurement is not something most marketers want to just throw out entirely. It’s just that some channels are easier to measure than others. One from last summer, for example, found email, paid search, and display advertising among the easiest to measure for results, while content marketing and video marketing are among the most difficult channels to measure. This makes sense, given the level of control marketers have over who sees those marketing messages, when they see them, and where.

measurement chart

So, to get back to the question in the title of this blog post: Does measurement matter? In our minds, the response should be a resounding YES. Allocating budget to channels that are harder to measure does not preclude actually measuring them. After all, it’s good to know at least a little bit about whether your marketing messages were effective, right? Things like reach and engagement are still important for some channels, even if ROI or purchase attribution isn’t obvious. And while sales is really the most important metric, so is brand engagement, brand affinity, brand awareness, and brand recall—all of which are in themselves more complex things to measure regardless of channel.

If you need help determining how well your media mix is working, we can help. Contact us to arrange for an audit and some expert recommendations about what’s working and what could work better.

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