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. 
  • 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. 

Further Reading:

5 Social Advertising Trends for 2022

What strategies should your brand be focusing on 2022? Here are the top social advertising 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, a social advertising trend predicted to continue in 2022-23. 

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. Why? 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:

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:

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 technology are a signal that immersive consumer experiences may soon dominate the social space. 

What You Need To Know:

Tips: 

  • While the Metaverse and AR/VR technologies are still new, it is vital for brands to follow developments in this field. Begin brainstorming ways you 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 released iOS updates giving users more control over what data apps can and cannot track. This limits targeting capabilities on social platforms and is forcing marketers to explore other channels and incorporate more first party data. We 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, the biggest blow comes from the new automatic prompt to block an app from tracking their activity. This can limit platforms from gathering key targeting 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 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 to gather data directly in the platforms 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 social media tactics 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 by new updates. 

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 social advertising trends to build consumer relationships 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 third-party cookies as of 2024 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. 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 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. They help advertisers track a user’s behavior across the internet and include 3rd party tracking pixels from platforms such as Facebook. Tracking 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, second, and zero-party data will be central to an effective digital market strategy in a post-cookie environment. Additionally, contextual targeting does not rely on cookies and provides brands with a strong opportunity to generate increased brand awareness when done strategically. As an additional benefit, the cost of contextual advertising is typically substantially lower than addressable impressions as data. However, costs depend on whether you are activating through a whitelist or a private marketplace deal.

Cookieless ID-Based Solutions For Targeting And Measurement

There are also multiple cookie alternatives in development that promise to bridge the addressability gap 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. Topics uses an individual’s browsing activity to tag them with broad interest categories. 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 randomly choose 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 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 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 deprecated, companies like 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 they require users to provide the same email across websites in order to build an accurate profile. If the user is unwilling to provide that data, or uses different emails 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 worth monitoring as they continue to develop. They will be key in building targeting and measurement strategies in 2024 and beyond. 

Recommendations to Prepare for the Cookieless Future

  • Plan early & anticipate impacts to your measurement/attribution system. 
  • Benchmark your current performance. 
  • Apply business intelligence models to your analytics. 
  • Expand implementation timelines. 
  • Create new relationships with third-party, cookieless data providers. 

“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.” – Colin Duft, Account Strategy Director 

3 Reasons to Use Podcast Advertising

Podcasts have been around for nearly 20 years, but only recently have gained mass appeal among both audiences and advertisers. With growing audiences, loyal listeners, new targeting advances and reporting options, there has never been a better time to explore podcast advertising.

“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

An estimated 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 podcast listeners maintained or increased their listening time over the past year. This increase can be attributed to several factors. Those factors include the return of commuting, increased WOM, new shows for niche audiences, and an influx of influencers 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. This indicates brands are seeing success with podcast advertising. As follows, 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.

Reason #2: More options and flexibility

Podcasts have held the attention of highly-engaged, niche audiences for years. Historically, the only option for brands to advertise in this space was to purchase expensive, inflexible and hard-to-measure direct buys. 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, there are somewhat limited options for targeted demographics. However, as the technology continues to develop, there will likely be more options on the horizon. Don’t let these limits keep you from investigating this tactic as a viable option.

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. Then, there is the fact that most listeners tune in while doing other activities – driving, cleaning, walking, etc. Their hands are not typically free during these activities so they are more likely to listen through the ad. This is 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. Before the introduction of DAIs, hosts read all podcast ads. Because podcasts tend to attract highly engaged, niche audiences, the hosts became their own breed of influencer. They make 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:

  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. 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. Podcast listeners are used to more conversational experience, so ads that are organic, informal and relatable perform best.
  3. Experiment with programmatic and traditional direct-buy placements. A podcast whose audience perfectly aligns with your target 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. Be comfortable in these platforms so you can take advantage of the high value podcast audiences before your competitors.

Further Reading:

3 Tips for Better Performing Video Content

The Top 3 Benefits of Video Advertising

Are you capitalizing on the benefits of video advertising?

Programmatic video advertising is growing rapidly. Many growth brands are seeing the benefits of incorporating this highly engaging medium in their marketing mix.

However, there are still those who are unwilling to make the upfront investment to create these assets, fearing it requires too much money and too much time. That’s understandable, especially for brands operating with a very lean marketing budget.

Coegi’s Director of Marketing, Elise Stieferman, shares three reasons why your brand should avoid leaving video out of the marketing strategy:

The Opportunity Cost of Not Using Video Ads

To summarize that video, there are three reasons why brands are missing out if they aren’t leaning into video advertising.

#1 Video Drives Incremental Sales

It may not seem blatantly obvious, but brands are actually losing out on sales if they aren’t investing in video. Historically, video has been seen as an upper funnel tactic. It’s all about awareness and gaining brand rapport. This can be true, especially for a longer form video where you’re telling a story. But videos are also very integral to building consideration before purchasing a product. Sometimes, it even leads to the end conversion.

This is especially true of short form videos. I know a lot of people are afraid of six-second videos not being effective. However, that’s the way digital is going these days. Obviously, there’s a lot of things trying to grab consumers attention, especially on social media. So brands have to quickly explain the value of the product and compel action. 

Video advertising is a more personal way to connect with the consumers. It’s more impactful in a lot of ways than a display ad. Those are simply static banners, whereas video is compelling you to stop, pay attention and consider the next steps 

#2 Video Improves the Customer Lifetime Journey

The second thing brands should consider is the customer lifetime journey. Video can build greater affinity. This is especially true for people who already know your brand. It’s easy to pivot to other brands with a similar offering, especially if it’s lower cost. But if you use video to build connection and affinity, it will be positive for your brand.

Another thing to consider is how you can use video to educate the consumer. Think about creating useful how-to videos. Help them visually see the value in investing in your brand. Then, there’s the excitement around generating new leads for your brand using video. 

But there’s also the consideration of building repeat purchasers. For example, serving videos that highlight different products to upsell or compliment their existing purchases. There’s no better way to do that than this very highly engaging medium.

#3 Video Increases Brand Recognition

Lastly, video can generate buzz around your brand. Of course, people appreciate reading reviews online. But when you think about platforms like TikTok and YouTube, video is really what’s capturing attention. It’s a very shareable medium. If you want to go viral and create a moment for your brand, video is the way to go. 

Video can seem expensive. But it doesn’t have to be high production quality. It can be user-generated content that comes from your iPhone that’s six seconds long and that even feels more authentic on social platforms. 

The longer we wait to dip our toes into the water, the further behind we’re going to be for our brands. Now is the time to invest in video and understand you are going to get that return. It may be a longer journey before you see that investment come back, but it ultimately will feed into your bottom line.

Now that we know the benefits of using video, let’s explore how to maximize the impact of your video ads.

How to Create Better Performing Video Advertisements

“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 and creating better performing video content?

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. 71% of consumers 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. Consider where and how long you have your audiences’ attention. This will help you avoid wasting the resources and budget you have dedicated to high performing video content. Your videos must also be intentional, authentic, and targeted to resonate with your audience.

3 Tips to Improve Your Video Marketing Content:

#1 Remember time is money

With the recent popularity of short-form video formats like TikTok and Instagram Stories, conversions 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

An estimated 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 podcast listeners maintained or increased their listening time over the past year. This increase can be attributed to several factors. Those factors include the return of commuting, increased WOM, new shows for niche audiences, and an influx of influencers 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. This indicates brands are seeing success with podcast advertising. As follows, 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.

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