How Are You Measuring Your Upfront Investment?

What location intelligence tells you about TV effectiveness

Upfront season 2019 is going to be different. The typical ways of buying TV inventory are being turned on their head, as new options – from data-driven targeting to connected TV to programmatic buying – are starting to influence just about every media sale.

But as digital upends the game in TV buying, a big question remains: What are you doing to change the way you actually measure the success and impact of your TV media buys?

And, assuming that the goal of your campaign is actually getting the person seeing your TV ad to take an action and buy a product, what are you learning about the journey and behavior you’re inspiring?

The impact of premium content

The upfronts have been the way networks transact ad sales for decades. They bring in their top execs and star personalities to make splashy presentations to media buyers, showing off the content they plan to release over the course of the year. It’s the opportunity for brands and media buyers to figure out what shows or channels they want to invest in.

And they’re not going away. No matter what anybody says, TV is still the foundation of many media plans. Whether linear or connected, it is still the safest and most effective way to reach engaged audiences. Brands need premium platforms and premium content to share their messages.

That’s why the guarantees of inventory for premium content – the essence of the upfront process – are critical to the media planning process. Over the coming weeks, budgets will get set and cross-channel programs that combine TV with digital, social, out-of-home, audio and print will be devised.

What does success look like?

As part of the planning phase, brands and media buyers should be coordinating how they’re going to measure the impact and ROI of their campaigns. Measurement and attribution are vital – that should hardly be a secret to any marketer.

Unfortunately, many attribution solutions don’t serve TV well because they’re focused almost exclusively on digital measurement. With so many purchases still happening in the physical world, it is critical that ad buyers see the offline impact of linear and advanced TV investments. This will both help buyers evaluate their campaigns and prove and validate TV’s buying power as the ad ecosystem continues to evolve.

The good news is that there are a variety of tools available that do this well.

Let’s start with footfall attribution. Today’s ad buyers can start using location data to see the behavior and movement of people exposed to an ad. Did someone who saw a specific ad visit a store? Footfall attribution can document that. You can then link that visit to an actual sale. That provides the answer to the question that every TV buyer asks: Is my campaign working?

This kind of location intelligence can provide the kind of insights that let media buyers optimize the impact of their TV campaigns while proving the ROI to justify future spend. They can see how their upfront commitments are performing – not just in terms of viewership or demographics but directly at the cash register. They can then use this information to adjust their spot market buys, adjust creative executions or find other ways to ensure performance.

At Cuebiq, we’ve developed a TV attribution solution that lets buyers leverage this kind of location intelligence. It provides granular insights on advertising performance, which can be broken down by program, network and day part. The reporting is paired with visitation insights, such as visit uplift and visit rate, walk-to-rate, time spent in stores, and most visited days and hours. It also provides buyers with full transparency, giving them the ability to understand the methodologies used to measure success.

This allows marketers to close the loop on cross-platform advertising by measuring ROI and incremental lift, optimizing the media mix based on consumers’ offline behaviors and understanding how each channel impacts the others. Remember, in this day and age, no TV campaign exists alone.

So, as you enter the upfronts, let yourself get wowed by the comedy of late night hosts and the power of prime time stars. Pay attention to all the new digital targeting capabilities. Enjoy the sizzle reels. And remember that everything ends at the cash register.

Brad Piggott (@BPCubed02) is the EVP of enterprise revenue strategy at Cuebiq.