Manuvering Three Challenges to Measuring Media ROI


Some in the marketing industry might compare measuring a media campaign’s return on investment (ROI) to finding the holy grail. “ROI is a noble quest — if you have faith. But finding it is a rare occurrence.”

That comparison is incorrect, and may point to an incorrect measurement approach. While it does require a group effort between agency and marketer, by addressing three main challenges in media ROI measurement, proving out campaign effectiveness is a realistic and achievable task.

1) Implement a Holistic Measurement Approach
Measuring media ROI in a vacuum can lead to inaccurate conclusions and result in poor decision making. For example, when tying media back to incremental sales, it’s important to note that media is only one of several consumer touch points that help generate a sale. The quality of the creative, product, distribution and customer service must also meet expectations for a campaign to drive business results. Applying consistent rigor for quality across all consumer touch points helps ensure a media ROI analysis is valid and reliable.

2) Get Complete Data Transparency
Clients requiring agency partners to analyze their contribution to business results must be willing to share their own fast data. This includes sales, all marketing activities, competitive activity and any external factors like the economy that may impact the client’s business. Without a willingness to share data, agency partners are unable to provide a complete analysis, leaving many unanswered questions.  In the cases where the data required for a sound ROI analysis aren’t available, there are other options.

3) Understanding the Limitations of Analysis
In today’s increasingly fragmented environment, there is no single, proven methodology for determining media ROI. Each marketer must take into account different variables. But there are plenty of good methodologies that help us continually improve our media campaigns.

Marketing mix optimization, attribution modeling and matched panel tests are all examples of media ROI analysis that can inform and improve future media executions. Each of these examples have limitations, but if the agency and client are working together, everyone will understand the pros and cons of each methodology. This ensures mutually realistic expectations of the campaign analysis and avoids any “over promise and under deliver” situations.

ROI measurement needs more than a one-size-fits all approach. Working together, agencies and clients can overcome the challenges described above, create their best approach and  prove out the success of a campaign.

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Dan Mayer
Dan Mayer

Since joining Empower seven years ago, Dan has helped many leading brand marketers with new product development, sales forecasting, media effectiveness research and website analytics. Dan’s career started at Nielsen BASES where he designed, managed, analyzed and presented a wide variety of custom research in support of new CPG products.