Make Smarter Marketing Decisions with Media Mix Modeling

Every brand wants to pre-optimize their campaigns for success right out of the gate, with parameters in place to quickly attribute success to specific channels, audiences, and creatives. However, as we look toward a future without the simple attribution offered by cookies, we need to get back to our statistical roots of traditional media strategies, those without the easy button involved. That’s why marketers should lean further into the value that’s offered with media mix modeling.

What is Media Mix Modeling?

At a high level, media mix modeling is a way to define optimal budget allocation for media channels by looking at previous campaign performance. It requires analyzing sales-related data and media metrics (Coegi’s data and technology team recommends 2-3 years worth) to make predictions and strategy optimizations that will, in theory, improve future campaign performance. 

Why is media mix modeling superior to attribution models? Or do they need to work together?

In short, these models should be considered and analyzed alongside each other, as they both offer valuable insights from unique perspectives. Attribution can give you quick, real-time information about how specific media parameters are impacting your business goals, information that is useful when making mid-flight optimizations and short-term reporting. Media mix modeling, on the other hand, zooms out to give a bird’s-eye view of how all the pieces are working together to affect long-term strategy and performance. Each model informs the other, but tells different stories. 

How can marketers build strategies from modeling learnings?

It is crucial to fully understand the data you’re analyzing, not just the standard media metrics from campaign reports. What are all of the factors that may have contributed to performance fluctuations? Creative? Messaging? Audience strategy? Seasonality? Knowing the context surrounding the numbers will give you a strong foundation from which you can build future strategies.

Using that context as the framework, determine what story the data points are telling you. The numbers don’t lie, but the numbers alone don’t always tell you the whole story. By asking the right questions, and maintaining a test and learn mentality, you will ensure strategic decisions are based on multiple factors rather than just one KPI.

How do you know your media mix is working?

A media mix model makes predictions, but it is not a crystal ball – just because Facebook performed well in campaigns historically does not mean that it will continue to do so into the future. That said, it is important to develop a continuous learning agenda to design your models. Test your assumptions based on historical performance. For example, what will happen if you increase the budget for programmatic channels? Do overall business results change? The only way to know for sure is to strategically make the budget adjustment and measure incremental results. From there, you can make more informed decisions about your channel strategy and budget allocation. 

Priming your MMM for success: 

  • Keep business goals at the center of your strategy and analysis 
  • Gather quality, historical data to be able to measure actionable results. 
  • Establish context with your data early on to understand all factors impacting your results and gain more accurate, actionable insights.
  • Consider your sales cycle when designing your tests – a longer cycle needs more time between strategic adjustments. This ensures you see the full impact of those changes without being misled by seasonal ups and downs. 
  • Share the details and context of your strategies across teams. Seemingly trivial aspects to the marketing team may impact how a model is built, so consulting with every team involved with executing and measuring campaigns will be crucial to building an effective strategy. 

Further Reading:

 

  • Data can be easily (and accidentally) manipulated to tell an inaccurate story. Think critically and apply business acumen to make sure you have sound methodology. 

5 Social Advertising Trends for 2022

How to Win at Social Advertising in 2022

What social strategies should your brand be focusing on 2022? Here are the trends we are seeing that could impact your brand’s social advertising strategy this year.

#1: Growth of Social Commerce

The pandemic-driven need for ecommerce availability drove accelerated growth in social commerce in 2020 and 2021, a trend that is predicted to continue on into 2022. 

What you need to know:

Tips:

  • Stay on top of platform updates and feature launches, including those on emerging platforms like TikTok. Build room in the budget to test and play to see which tactics drive the most conversions for your product.
  • Continue working to build trust and prove legitimacy with your social commerce efforts. How can you show your audience that they can trust the process? What platforms do your audience trust the most?

 

#2: The Rise of Micro- and Nano- Influencers

A major component to social commerce that should not be ignored is influencer marketing. Marketers are dedicating budgets to this multi-billion dollar industry because it is an increasingly effective and, in the case of micro- and nano-influencers, a cost-effective and trustworthy way to build awareness for your brand. 

What you need to know:

  • Brands increased influencer marketing spend by 42% in 2021, for a total of $13.8 billion, with spending in the US expected to rise 12.2% to $4.14 billion in 2022.
  • 56% of social media users would rather follow normal people than celebrities because of the authenticity of their content.
  • According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “49% of Consumers Depend on Influencer Recommendations.” 
  • Micro and nano-influencers (between 1,000-100,000 followers) are gaining traction due to their affordability as compared to macro influencers with 100,000+ followers. Data from HypeAuditor shows influencers with smaller audiences (1,000 to 10,000 followers) charge around $100 per post on Instagram, while macro- influencers typically ask for $1,000 or more.

Tips:

  • Concentrate on finding and engaging micro- and nano-influencers whose content aligns with the interests of your target audience and whose followers look most like your core consumer. 
  • Incorporate your influencer marketing into your overall digital media plan for omni-channel consistency and efficiency with other tactics – don’t isolate it from the broader strategy. 

 

#3: Building an Effective Video Content Strategy

Video creative has and will continue to be King of Content in 2022.  

What you need to know:

  • Video will continue to dominate the creative space. In 2021, the average person spent 100 minutes per day watching online videos.
  • Short-form videos are what consumers want to watch – whether on TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, or Snapchat Spotlight. The social media giants know this and have shifted their algorithms to prioritize and incentivize users who utilize these features.
  • Animoto surveyed 580 consumers, 93% of which said video is helpful when purchasing a product while 71% have purchased a product or service after watching a brand’s video on social media.
  • GenZ shoppers cite YouTube as their mostused platform for researching products, indicting that video is an effective 

Tips

  • Lean into video content – it’s what the people want to see and the social platforms are prioritizing it. 
  • Adapt video style to fit the expected user experience of the platform. For instance, a fully-produced, high quality commercial may not resonate on TikTok, where users are used to more informal, user-generated content. 
  • Follow video creative best practices to create a captivating and engaging experience for the consumer without the need for high dollar production budgets. 

#4 AR, VR and the Metaverse

Facebook’s 2021 name change to Meta and the rise in AR and VR features on multiple other platforms are a signal that immersive, 3D online consumer experiences may soon dominate the social space. 

What you need to know:

  • Gaming is currently the most widely used iteration of the Metaverse, with more than 3BN gamers who spend over $100BN per year.
  • Social platforms have started investing in the Metaverse by developing in-app gaming options for users. 
    • Facebook leads the pack with over 400 million people playing games on the platform. 
    • 30 million people play games on Snapchat.
    • In 2021, TikTok partnered with Zynga for game development. 
  • AR and VR experiences, such as filters and virtual “try before you buy” shopping options, have begun to enter the social landscape, with apps like SnapChat, Instagram and Pinterest leading the way. 
  • Half of US adults have either an interest in or have used AR and VR while shopping online. 

Tips: 

  • While the Metaverse and AR/VR technologies are still new, it is vital for brands to follow developments in this field and begin brainstorming ways they can use the technology to enrich the consumer’s experience. 
  • Watch this video for more insight from Coegi on the future implications of the Metaverse and how brands may be able to use it in the future. 

 

#5: Privacy Permissions = Strategy Shifts

In the past two years, Apple has released iOS updates that give users more control over what data apps can and cannot track through their mobile devices. This change will limit targeting capabilities on social platforms and will force marketers to explore other channels, incorporate more first party data, and expect further implications to scale and measurement as privacy becomes even more important to consumers.

What you need to know:

  • The most impactful changes with the iOS updates have been downloaded app permissions and email privacy, both of which will affect marketers abilities to target and track user behaviors across Apple’s mobile devices. 
  • For social media apps in particular, the biggest blow comes from the new automatic prompt to block an app from tracking their activity, which can limit social media platforms from gathering key targeting and retargeting data needed to reach Apple users on mobile. 
  • iOS’s privacy changes are one of many, including cookie deprecation and other limitations being implemented within the social platforms themselves. This is a signal that privacy concerns will continue to shape how marketers are able to reach and measure their audiences across all tactics, including social. 

Tips: 

  • Use social platforms and advertising capabilities to build your own banks of first- and zero-party data. Targeted polls, surveys and form submissions can open up opportunities for you to gather this data directly in the platforms themselves or by directing users to your site. 
  • With limited access to user data, brands will need to develop their own means of proving ROAS and ROI for bottom funnel tactics on social media on iOS. Learning how to overlap social data with website metrics for measurement is one way this can be accomplished. 
  • Continue tracking privacy updates across all social platforms and remain flexible in your strategies so your efforts are not derailed as new updates are announced and implemented. 

 

Overall, we are seeing a convergence across social channels. Platforms are no longer one dimensional: a photo-sharing app, a shopping app, or a gaming app. Instead, we have channels blending shopping, video entertainment, online gaming and image sharing all into one community-based platform. 

Explore the channels your core audience is most active on. See how you can take advantage of these trends and emerging technologies to build relationships with your consumers through some of the most high impact advertising tactics available. 

Further Reading: 

Understanding Implications of the Cookieless Future

Google’s announcement that Chrome will no longer support cookies as of 2023 has many digital marketers concerned about their cookieless future. Marketers that have historically relied on cookies to reach their target audiences and measure success will be greatly affected by this change and many are actively working on the next steps to avoid campaign performance declines. The actions taken by marketers in this pre-cookieless environment will help to shape and define the future of targeted advertising and performance metrics. 

“Businesses and advertising professionals will need to better understand how customers make decisions, what actions are valuable for businesses and bring that all together when showing success.” – Maggie Gotszling

Why are cookies important and how do they work?

Cookies are a backend line of code on a website that helps advertisers track a user’s behavior across the internet and includes 3rd party tracking pixels from platforms such as Facebook. The tracking of these activities makes it possible for advertisers to effectively deliver ads to their target audiences and directly measure and attribute conversions. With the deprecation of cookies, that tracking will no longer be viable, effectively blinding some targeting and measurement capabilities on which many marketers currently rely.  

What does it mean for campaign targeting strategies?

The major impact will be on retargeting third-party cookie-based audiences. It is recommended that advertisers begin shifting overreliance on this tactic and begin testing alternative targeting options to fill the gaps. Gathering first and second-party data (which is owned by publishers) will be central to an effective digital market strategy in a post-cookie environment. Additionally, the use of contextual targeting does not rely on cookies and provides brands with a strong opportunity to be able to generate increased brand awareness when done strategically. As an additional benefit, the cost of contextual advertising tends to be substantially lower than addressable impressions as data is not layered on, though costs are impacted by whether the tactic is targeted through a whitelist or contracted with a private marketplace deal.

Definitions and tips for collecting zero, first, and second party data

Zero party data: Coined by Forrester, Zero-Party data is collected when “a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them].” 

How to collect Zero Party Data:

  • Surveys
  • Polls

Tip: Don’t ask for too much too often and create poll fatigue on the consumer.

First party data: Observed behaviors of users who interact with your company. 

How to collect first party data: 

Form submissions or other forms of contact sharing on

  • Mobile apps 
  • Websites 
  • Social media 
  • SMS 
  • Email
  • Customer service platforms
  • Point of purchase

Second party data: Second Party Data is First Party Data collected by one company that they privately share with another company. For instance, when a publisher allows another company to use their CRM data to reach a target audience that overlaps with their own. An example of this would be if a brand were to work with Drizly, an online alcohol retailer, to reach their target audience of active digital alcohol shoppers. 

“Brands need to reestablish expectations for programmatic and be open to experiment with alternative targeting and measurement solutions. Ideally, this will happen in 2022 while we still have access to data that is likely to be lost.” – Savannah Westbrock

What impacts will we see on measurement?

Cookies have been the underpinning for most digital marketing performance measurements for over twenty years, including post-click and post-view conversions and attribution for sales impact. For example, the Facebook ecosystem will be heavily disrupted in attribution of conversion-based events, largely due to their reliance on mobile ad IDs for measurement. Historically, marketers have leaned heavily into Facebook and other walled garden environments due to their ability to evaluate strength ROI based on the multiple touchpoints that go into a final purchase, facilitated by the placement of a tracking pixel on the brand’s website. 

However, these walled garden pixels are defined as a third party cookie and will be limited in their ability to pass back data once the elimination of the cookie is mobilized. As a whole, we can expect  campaign performance on the front end to decline as compared to previous years, even if the backend business performance remains the same. Brands and teams should start to plan for shifts in attribution and performance as we get closer to the 2023 depreciation.

Fortunately, there are potential workarounds. For example, brands can overlay their conversion-based data found on Google analytics to match up on site conversion with Facebook mobile IDs after the fact. This helps level media metrics back up to business goals, but requires more analysis and less “real-time” results. Tests and conversations in 2021 can prepare in advance for performance declines and reduce a sense of panic. 

Post-cookie ID-based solutions for targeting and measurement

There are also multiple cookie alternatives in development that promise to bridge the addressability gap that will be created when cookies are deprecated. Here are a few of the options currently out there or in development.

Google’s Topics:

Google is developing a solution for targeting called Topics. Similar but slightly different than its predecessor FLoCs, Topics uses an individual’s browsing activity to tag them with broad interest categories, or topics, that can be used to target ads to that individual in the future. For instance, if a user visits Nike’s website, they may be tagged with an interest in fitness.  When ads are served to this user, their browser will choose, at random, three of that user’s top five topics based on the previous three weeks’ browsing history. Those three topics are then shared with the advertiser as a tool to serve relevant ads to the user during their visit. This method allows the advertiser to target based on interest without using identifiers or other potentially invasive data points.

Standard Universal IDs: 

Originally used as a way to combat mismatched data when syncing cookie data across domains, companies like The Trade Desk, LiveRamp, and IAB have developed what are known as Universal IDs. This standardized identifier allows advertisers to buy into a community of shared data to track audience activity across the internet. The primary concern with Universal IDs, however, is that they still currently rely on third-party cookies, without which they are unable to set or recognize identifiers across domains. 

Encrypted Universal IDs:

Understanding the original design of Universal IDs would no longer be effective once cookies were depreciated, companies like LiveIntent (nonID) and The Trade Desk (Unified ID 2.0) started developing encrypted identifiers using email addresses instead of cookies to track user activity. The primary hurdle with email-based IDs is that they require users to provide and consistently use the same email across websites in order to build an accurate profile. If the user is unwilling to provide that data, or different emails are used for different sites, advertisers will be blind to their activity and be unable to target them accurately.

While all of these solutions have their pros and cons, they are all worth monitoring as they continue to develop as they will be key in building targeting and measurement strategies in 2023 and beyond. 

Recommendations to prepare for the cookieless future

  • Plan early & anticipate impacts to your measurement/attribution system. We encourage everyone to have conversations with their clients and agencies to set expectations ahead of time. We’ve outlined a quarterly look at the impact across audiences, e-comm/attribution as well as media mix & creative. 
  • Benchmark your current performance: You can start modeling the impact of third-party cookie blocking by recording your current analytic metrics and monitoring them as the update takes effect. Establishing benchmarks by operating system and browser will enable you to calculate most accurately the potential impact.
  • Apply business intelligence models to your analytics: Predictive analytics can be used along with your data to provide deeper insights for the best performing marketing tactics and identify macro and micro trends that influence your business outcomes.
  • Consolidate media activation to as few platforms as possible: Platforms are developing their own internal frameworks to accurately track and measure marketing performance outside of third-party trackers. The more platforms you execute your media through the more disparate measurement systems you have to take into consideration. There is also the likelihood that you will have duplication across platforms and consolidation will reduce that occurrence. 
  • Expand implementation timelines: Relying on first party data more and needing to run that first party data through an identity solution and then back into a web environment will add time to campaign and ad ops setups. While match rates should improve, campaigns will be moderately more cumbersome to set up, especially as we get used to these new flows. Teams and clients should build in extra cushion.
  • Create new relationships with third-party, cookieless data providers: This is not a new risk in the ad operations system, but an ever present risk that doesn’t go away under a new system. Fortunately, these companies benefit from interoperability and scale. The most important thing brands can do to reduce dependencies is to understand how your audiences and targets are built in each platform and know what’s different depending on the partner. Always ask what’s inside the box or model.

“Brands who have been targeting super-niche audiences will have to reestablish expectations for programmatic and be open to experiment with alternative targeting and measurement solutions. Ideally, this will happen in 2022 while we still have access to data that is likely to be lost.” – Colin Duft

Podcast Advertising Could Boost Your Marketing Strategy in 2022

Podcasts have been around for nearly 20 years, but only recently have gained mass appeal among both audiences and advertisers. With their growing audience numbers, loyal listener behaviors and new advances in targeting and reporting options, there has never been a better time to explore this high-potential advertising medium.

“The growth of podcasting has brought a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach highly engaged, niche audiences.” – Arica McKinnon, Vice President, Client Consulting at Nielsen.

Not sure if podcast advertising is the right tactic for you and your brand’s bottom line? Here are three reasons that may change your mind.

Reason #1: The audiences are there…and growing

It is estimated that 120 million Americans listened to podcasts in 2021, with a projected growth to 160 million listeners in 2023. Despite a short flatline in listenership in 2020 due to shortened or non-existant commutes (a highly-popular listening time for the avid podcaster), podcast engagement increased notably this year with no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, according to a survey done by NCS Solutions, 88% of current listeners maintained or increased their listening time over the past year. This increase can be attributed to several factors including the return of standard commuting time, increased word of mouth recommendations from avid listeners, new shows being developed for specific niche audiences, and an influx of influencers, celebrities and brands developing their own shows to flesh out revenue streams and reach their audiences in a new way.

With this growth trajectory, it is no surprise that advertisers are increasing investment in this lucrative channel. According to IAB, podcast ad revenue in the US increased by 19% in 2020 and is predicted to exceed $3B by 2023. These numbers clearly indicate that brands are seeing success with this tactic and competition for reaching these audiences will continue to build over time. Jumping into the pool of opportunity now will allow you to expand your reach and effectiveness alongside the growing medium itself.

Reason #2: More options and flexibility

Podcasts have held the attention of highly-engaged, niche audiences for years. Historically, due to limitations in technology, the only option for brands to advertise in this space was to purchase expensive, inflexible and hard-to-measure direct buys negotiated with the shows themselves. In recent years, however, the growing popularity of podcasts has created a demand for an updated, more flexible and measurable system for reaching these audiences.

The industry recognized this opportunity and began developing alternative ways to monetize it. The result? A programmatic option called dynamic ad insertion (DAI) has now entered the market, making it easier and more affordable to incorporate this tactic into your media mix.

This biddable technology allows for new audience targeting options, including listening habits, geographic region and weather conditions. Due to the nature of podcasting and the recency of programmatic technology in this space, the current options for targeted demographics are somewhat limited. However, as the technology continues to develop, there will likely be more targeting options on the horizon and therefore should not keep you from investigating this tactic as an option for your strategy.

Reason #3: Listeners are ad-friendly

Not only are the audiences growing, they are receptive and responsive to the ads they hear while listening. A recent study on podcast “super listeners” discovered that 48% of listeners pay more attention to podcast ads than any other media and that 71% of those surveyed say they never, rarely, or only sometimes skip the ads they hear while listening. The study also found 54% of respondents are more likely to purchase a product after hearing an ad for it on a podcast, up from 46% in 2019.

There are a few surface-level reasons for this acceptance. Firstly, most podcasting platforms are free to use and audiences understand they trade the ad for the content. There is also the fact that most listeners tune in while doing other activities – driving, cleaning their house, walking their dog, etc. Their hands are not free to access their phones during these activities and therefore they are more likely to listen through the ad, unlike many other ad formats that are easy to scroll by or tap the skip button.

The primary reason audiences are receptive and responsive to podcast advertising, however, is trust and authenticity. Listeners often feel like the host is directly speaking to them and, before the introduction of DAIs, all ads on podcasts were read by those hosts. Because podcasts tend to attract highly engaged, niche audiences, the hosts became their own breed of influencer, making trusted recommendations to their highly connected listeners. This has set the stage for advertising to natively work its way into the expected user experience. Host-read spots are still the most highly trusted advertising spot in podcasting, but they have conditioned podcast listeners in general to be more receptive to advertising.

Recommendations

With the growing audience sizes, ad-friendly listener behavior and advancing technology options, reaching your ideal audience in the podcast space has become easier than ever. However, the unique channel constraints may require different strategies than what is successful for your brand on other channels. Here are a few recommendations for how to get started:

  1. Be creative with your targeting strategy. With limited out-of-box options for DAI placements, hyper-targeting will likely lead to overly expensive and minimal scale results. Instead, research the audiences that are already listening to podcasts and find a happy medium between niche and broad targeting options. What podcasts would your target audience be listening to and engaging with? Use interest and affinity-based audience insights to inform your targeting strategy.
  2. Consider the user experience when creating ad content. Like with all advertising mediums, your ad will perform better if it blends into the user experience of those being exposed to your ad. Since podcast listeners are used to more conversational, one-on-one listening experience, ads that feel more organic, informal and relatable are more likely to keep the listener engaged with the ad.
  3. Experiment with programmatic and traditional direct-buy placements. If there is a podcast whose audience perfectly aligns with your target audience, it may be worth the direct ad buy. But also experiment with more flexible DAI purchases to find the most successful shows and targeting combinations for your brand.
  4. Stay on top of technology developments. As more opportunities become available, being well-practiced in these platforms will allow you to take advantage of the high value podcast audiences before your competitors.

Further Reading:

3 Key Elements for Better Performing Video Content

“Humans are incredibly visual and powerful, moving images help us find meaning…video helps capture and contextualize the world around us.”

– Dan Patterson, Digital Platform Manager for ABC News Radio

Digital video consumption is on the rise and forecasted to reach $12.66B by 2024. How are marketers adapting to changing consumer trends? Recent studies show that the increased ad spend towards digital is a worthy investment as video is the #1 preferred content form to see from brands on social media. Additionally, video has major down funnel implications with 71% of consumers who report purchasing a product or service after watching a brand’s video.

Compiling a quick video and using it across all channels, however, is not a strategy that drives results for businesses. Doing so without considering where and how long you have your audiences’ attention could mean you are wasting the resources and budget you have dedicated to this highly effective medium. Your video content must be intentional, authentic, and targeted to resonate with your audience.

So what goes into the best-performing video content? Here is a breakdown of our top strategies for getting the greatest exposure and driving the highest conversions with your digital video marketing and advertising content.

Time is money

With the recent popularity of short-form video platforms and formats like TikTok and Instagram Stories, expectations of and conversions from short-form video are now outperforming longer-form video. Brands have mere seconds to capture their audiences’ ever-shortening attention. According to a report by Analytic Partners, this shift has translated into much higher ROI for 6-second videos (127%) than it does 30-second videos (58%).

 

 

Reason #1: The audiences are there…and growing

It is estimated that 120 million Americans listened to podcasts in 2021, with a projected growth to 160 million listeners in 2023. Despite a short flatline in listenership in 2020 due to shortened or non-existant commutes (a highly-popular listening time for the avid podcaster), podcast engagement increased notably this year with no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, according to a survey done by NCS Solutions, 88% of current listeners maintained or increased their listening time over the past year. This increase can be attributed to several factors including the return of standard commuting time, increased word of mouth recommendations from avid listeners, new shows being developed for specific niche audiences, and an influx of influencers, celebrities and brands developing their own shows to flesh out revenue streams and reach their audiences in a new way.

With this growth trajectory, it is no surprise that advertisers are increasing investment in this lucrative channel. According to IAB, podcast ad revenue in the US increased by 19% in 2020 and is predicted to exceed $3B by 2023. These numbers clearly indicate that brands are seeing success with this tactic and competition for reaching these audiences will continue to build over time. Jumping into the pool of opportunity now will allow you to expand your reach and effectiveness alongside the growing medium itself.

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