Performance Max: Inventory Access Expanded

Performance Max is a new campaign type from Google Ads that became available late last year and simplifies advertising by allowing advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. It’s designed to complement keyword-based Search campaigns to help find more converting customers across all of Google’s channels like YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps. With this new update, Google’s Smart Shopping and Local campaigns have been upgraded into Performance Max to supplement the same foundational features along with accessing additional inventory and formats across YouTube, Search text ads, and Discover.

The updated campaign automation uses five different campaign types and builds an omnichannel strategy within the Google Ads universe, driving users down the conversion funnel by utilizing different awareness and conversion ad formats available along with various user signals. This powerful campaign self-optimizes based on attribution and user behaviors, and works towards driving maximum conversions within the allocated budget.

Smart Shopping and Local Campaigns

Based on early testing done by Google, advertisers who upgraded Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max saw an average increase of 12% in conversion value at the same or better Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). Advertisers can continue using existing Smart Shopping and Local campaigns until it gets upgraded to Performance Max later this year.

Advertisers can also start using Performance Max for any new campaigns created in Google Ads. They can access ad inventory that’s already available in Smart Shopping and Local campaigns plus new inventory and formats — including across YouTube, Search text ads and Discover. The tool gives flexibility to upgrade specific campaigns or all of the campaigns at once. Learnings from the existing campaigns will be used in new campaigns to maintain consistent performance going forward.

Through the rest of September 2022, local campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Performance Max campaigns. Advertisers will no longer be able to create new Smart Shopping and Local campaigns once the existing campaigns are automatically upgraded. It is also important to note that the automatic upgrade process will conclude by the end of September to ensure advertisers are well prepared to use the new feature for the 2022 holiday season.

Key Benefits to Performance Max Include:

  • Creative Automation: Tests different combinations of assets (headlines, images, etc.) and learns which combinations perform best
  • Delivery Automation: Create just one campaign and get the ads wherever users are interacting with Google, whether that’s on Search, Display, YouTube, Maps, Discover, or Gmail
  • Increase in Conversion Value: Performance Max campaigns drive incremental conversions at the same or lower cost per conversion
  • Find More Converting Customers: Increases Conversions as it allows to engage customers across Google’s channels
  • Holistic Approach and Full Channel Coverage: Users take advantage of all of Google’s offered channels
  • Ease of Setting Up: Rather than creating separate campaigns for separate channels, Performance Max campaigns are relatively seamless to set up

For now, Google Local campaigns make it easy for advertisers to promote stores locally, ensuring that potential customers have the information that they need to decide when and how to visit their stores. Performance Max provides the same foundational features of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns while accessing brand new inventory and formats across YouTube, Search text ads and Discover. There is no way to opt-out or to control the serving on any of the specific networks. Performance Max campaigns have an initial learning period of 10 days before advertisers see performance and results.

Reach out to the True Media Performance team today to switch your Google Local and Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max Campaign or to get started with a new Performance Max campaign!

About the Author

Nisha Chandrashekar, Activation Strategy Director, Performance Media

Nisha is a vital part of our True Media Canada team and helps monitor media performance within our Activation department.

Implementing a Full Funnel Strategy

When we think about measurement strategies, especially with a full funnel approach, it’s not always a direct path from plan to implementation. So, what comes next once you’re on board with a full-funnel strategy? It’s not enough to just check the boxes of various funnel stages to make sure you have a presence in each part of the consumer journey, from upper to lower funnel. It’s vital to think through the user experience and how your brand interacts with new, prospective, and existing customers when developing the framework. As you’re working toward a full funnel approach, here are a few things I like to think about during the measurement planning process as it relates to how you’re showing up for users. 

Creative Messaging

Messaging can and should be different for users depending on where they’re at in their journey and their relationship with your brand. It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle to pay attention to the messaging you’re serving to new vs. existing customers. A new customer needs to be exposed to a different experience with advertising than a repeat customer that is already brand loyal. Similarly, creative messaging for retargeting is going to be served to an audience that was already exposed to your previous messaging or took a certain action, so you should speak to them differently with ads that are tailored to a lower funnel conversion that is highly relevant to that user. 

Market Share

Along the same lines of creative messaging, it’s key to understand your brand’s market share if you have a local or regional presence across various markets. You shouldn’t have the same rinse-and-repeat strategy that is a blanket approach across those markets, especially if you’re introducing your brand to new locations. If you hold the highest share among your competitors in certain areas, your channel and measurement strategy should be different from markets that have a lower level of awareness for your brand. Brand awareness studies can be a great way to keep a pulse on this.  

Landing Page Experience

Once you get users to your website, how are they experiencing it? I like to go through my clients’ landing pages from a consumer point of view during the planning process to make sure that experience is seamless. If we’re asking users to fill out a form, but that form is buried five pages deep within the website, you’ll struggle to get conversions. The URL that your ads lead to should be reflective of what you’re asking customers to do in your creative messaging, which will ultimately lead to a positive user experience – a win-win for everyone!

Journeys Are Not Linear

With all this being said, a key consideration of the user journey and developing a full-funnel strategy is that the customer journey is not linear. We often visualize and present the journey as a top to bottom, one-time process, but it’s more of a continuous (and sometimes indirect) path. Customers don’t all behave the same way because no two customers are the same, making things a bit more unpredictable. But this is all the reason to show up for customers no matter what part of the journey they may be in, which is why full-funnel strategies are so beneficial. By casting a wider net at the top of the funnel to promote awareness, you’re priming that audience to hopefully turn into long-term customers.

Take note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that only certain tactics can be used to drive awareness, while others can only drive sales. Any tactic could find a place within any stage of the journey, but a good media partner will use research and past learnings as a foundation to develop a channel and tactical strategy that works best for a given client and campaign, and will know where and how to use certain tactics as part of a full-funnel approach so your paid media is working as hard as it can to achieve your objectives. Everything we do at True Media is rooted in data and research so we’re bringing the best recommendations to the table for our clients, which also means every media plan we develop is different. 

Taking all of the above into consideration, this is why it’s so important that creative teams and media teams work together as early as possible in the planning process. These teams are often thought of as separate entities, but both of these teams should be talking to each other at every step of the way to ensure the process is seamless and that creative and media are cohesive. And when the time comes to report on campaign success and performance, everyone will know what that success ties back to because you’ve had a solid measurement framework in place from the very start.

About the Author

Anna Rice, Client Strategy Supervisor

Anna leads strategy and planning for a variety of clients at True Media to promote innovation and drive business results through integrated marketing campaigns.

The Importance of a Full Funnel Strategy

“Do I really need awareness in my media strategy when my only focus is getting conversions?”

This is a question I’ve heard over and over from a variety of clients, no matter the industry or brand. And to be honest, it’s a valid question. If you already have an established customer base, or you have no apparent issues with brand awareness, why would you want to put dollars behind upper funnel tactics when you can reach repeat customers or people that already know about you, and see results quickly? 

To answer this question, we need to take a step back and think about measurement and how the customer journey plays a role in that. As an agency, we ground our thought process in understanding what success looks like to our clients, and how that ladders up to our clients’ business goals. Aligning on goals and objectives upfront allows us to develop a stronger measurement strategy that we use as our source of truth throughout the lifetime of the campaign to measure success, but even more importantly it holds our teams accountable and ensures we’re driving the best possible results for our clients and spending their money effectively. Our goal is to develop a measurement strategy with channel objectives and tactical key performance indicators (KPIs) that fully support the business goal and will ultimately move the needle for our clients. Understanding what key action we want users to take will help us get there.

Once we understand what success looks like from the perspective of measurement, let’s go back to the original question. If you’re trying to drive lower funnel activity and encourage users to take action against your business goal, you could very well allocate 100% of your budget to capture the low hanging fruit of an existing customer base. This will garner short-term success by quickly converting users that already have some level of brand awareness. However, as time goes on and you cycle through those users, your cost-per-action (CPA) will eventually rise. If you’re looking for long-term results, finding the right new customers to begin the journey allows you to build new relationships that will continue to feed the lower funnel.

The visual below showcases how pure sales activation efforts lead to short term results with a continuous yo-yo effect, while brand-building efforts result in more sustainable, long-term sales growth over time.

The next visual explains how as you go further up the funnel, those long-term brand-building effects are more apparent.

Incorporating brand-building tactics into your upper funnel strategy doesn’t always have to mean utilizing high-budget channels, though, like traditional broadcast or out-of-home. Awareness can be accomplished in a variety of ways, like utilizing targeted, cost-efficient connected TV or a non-branded paid search campaign. The key is that the media plan is supported by data and research based on audience behavior and media consumption, and has clearly defined KPIs to optimize toward and measure success along the way. Strategy should be thoughtful and have solid rationale to support it, as opposed to making your best guess based on assumptions and hoping it works.

This is the essence of a full-funnel approach, but our work here isn’t done just yet. It’s not enough to simply have each stage of the funnel present in your media plan to check the boxes of awareness, consideration, conversion, and everything in between. Cross-channel optimization is vital to tying your strategy together, as well as understanding how each channel plays off of and impacts the others. Is your audience Googling your brand or product after they hear an ad on Spotify? Does organic traffic increase after users see an ad on Hulu with a QR code that drives to your website? These types of learnings all provide insight into correlation and attribution of your media, and can help develop test and learn strategies that allow you to pivot and optimize as the campaign progresses.

We were able to put the above into practice for a Global Fortune 500 company that was focused on generating leads from small business owners by proving the correlation between a decrease in upper- and mid-funnel ad spend and an increase in cost-per-acquisition (CPA). As indicated below, a decrease in awareness-level spend resulted in lower average order revenue and smaller intent-level pools to drive to conversion.

Sound funnel strategy with this campaign led to a 6.5% increase in daily site visitors and delivered over 60,000 attributable visits with an estimated value of over $1 million.

About the Author

Anna Rice, Client Strategy Supervisor

Anna leads strategy and planning for a variety of clients at True Media to promote innovation and drive business results through integrated marketing campaigns.

Introducing PPM Wearables: An Enhancement in Measurement from Nielsen

Nielsen recently announced another improvement in its ability to collect local broadcast viewing and listening data. The rollout of PPM Wearables will certainly add an additional layer of accurate measurement to its toolbox of data collection methods. As Nielsen looks to increase sample size and accuracy while reducing its reliance on often unreliable or inaccurate diaries, it hopes to grow advertisers and agencies’ confidence in its ability to accurately measure exposure across platforms.

For years, advertisers and agencies have relied almost exclusively on Nielsen data to analyze and forecast national and local viewing ratings. Nielsen’s audience measurement began with diaries – actively filled out by panelists across the country – to collect reported viewing data.  In 1986, Nielsen developed the People Meter to electronically and passively – and more accurately – collect exposure to TV and radio broadcasts. The People Meter revolutionized the television industry – suddenly “overnight ratings” were available, allowing advertisers a glimpse of viewership almost in real-time versus weeks or months later. Then in 2007, Nielsen announced new Portable People Meters (PPMs) intended to further improve accuracy in measurement at the individual person level.

PPMs operate with encoding that picks up the electronic signals of stations within earshot (what the individual participant is likely listening to or viewing) making it a more reliable source. Interestingly, the introduction of PPMs resulted in a general decline in reported viewing/listening likely due to greater accuracy. 

Now, Nielsen has enhanced the Portable People Meter – introducing PPM Wearables.

According to Nielsen, PPM Wearables are the next frontier of audience measurement and a key component of cross platform measurement. The rollout of the PPM Wearables began in late April/May in 47 radio metros and as of early June, approximately 6,500 PPM Wearables have been installed. By the end of 2022, Nielsen expects 50-75% wearables to be in the panel. 

PPM Wearables have a smaller, updated design that is more aligned with current wearable technology trends. They aren’t connected smart watches – they’re designed specifically for accurate reporting of viewing and listening data – but the new designs are easy to wear and carry, making them more appealing to challenging demographics. The PPM Wearable includes multiple carry options including a wristband, clip and pendant.  

What does all this mean? 

It means Nielsen is heading deeper into development technology that will help build a single panel with more cross platform measurement data. Nielsen’s competition (ispot, VideoAmp, Comscore, Google etc.) are also working to have the most accurate and efficient technology/methodology for audience measurement.  And all (Nielsen included) wanting to achieve MRC Accreditation so that advertisers and agencies trust the data. Advertisers and agencies like True Media are anxious to figure out which measurement system, or combination of systems, will rise to the top in quality and efficiency across platforms. In the meantime, PPM Wearables trendy look and ease of use should entice more panelists to participate, and ultimately result in more accuracy in reporting listenership/viewership for TV and radio. And perhaps other channels in the future.

Six Questions to Consider for a Strong Measurement Strategy

The old adage goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” But as we all know – an important distinction is that you have to spend money wisely to make money. Not all advertisers spend their money in wise ways. Whether that means not being able to attribute success to their channels and tactics to learn and grow or not having a definition of success in the first place.

This is why a strong measurement strategy is key to both short and long term success. Without a clear measurement strategy in place, you may find yourself looking at your campaign in a year (or sooner) wondering what your dollars got you in the first place while having no meaningful results or learnings to show. No matter what you are trying to achieve, clearly defining your measurement plan will allow you to tackle the challenge and make the best, strategic choices for your campaign and ultimately drive business success.

Our teams don’t just develop media plans, we bring in our full selves everyday to stretch our clients’ dollars as far as they can go to achieve their unique goal. We try to think beyond data and technology to challenge the status quo and build upon previous learnings to continue fine tuning every campaign. Measurement is a topic I am extremely passionate about so when I was asked to share how I start every measurement strategy for this blog series, I couldn’t have been more excited to geek out over it. Below are the key steps I take with every measurement strategy that can help you hone your strategies as well.

  1. What are my business and marketing objectives?

If you don’t know the problem you are looking to solve, there is no way to determine the answer. I always encourage my clients to identify both their business and marketing objectives. It is important to do both, as sometimes they are not the same. Sometimes there are multiple steps needed to achieve a business goal, other times media can’t actually be optimized for a particular objective.

Generally, the business goal represents the way a company brings in revenue and/or a grander vision of how they want to see the world. Marketing goals represent the steps your marketing will take to achieve the ultimate business goal.

For example, a business goal may be to drive YoY growth in sales, but you may have three marketing goals such as driving awareness of the brand, driving consideration of the brand, and ultimately driving first time trials of the brand… Again, while you could just focus on final conversions, it is important to consider the entire user journey and how you build demand for your product or service. Focusing only on lower funnel initiatives may prove fruitful at first, but building a strong brand is key for long term growth. The KPIs and tactics you consider for each of these are completely different, so this is the foundation for a good media plan.

  1. What KPIs

Your KPIs (key performance indicators) should directly connect back to your marketing objectives. If you want to drive website sessions or online actions, looking at impressions or CPM as your KPI doesn’t get to the heart of what you are trying to accomplish. Looking at the wrong KPIs can cause you to make decisions that ultimately hurt your business.

I always ask myself, when it comes to my KPIs, what action do I want them to take next? That answer ultimately should become your KPI for each marketing objective. Some goals can be answered directly by media metrics such as sales, sign-ups, and website metrics, but others may be more nuanced and go beyond what media can measure alone. This may be a time you incorporate or invest in advanced measurement. Whether it is a brand lift study, a foot traffic study, or a sales lift study – these studies can help prove out the value of media. We will be dedicating a separate post to advanced measurement later on in our series to help you understand the best times and ways to integrate this type of measurement. 

  1. How will I compare performance across time and channels?

Volume KPIs (impressions, site sessions, sales) have their place, especially when setting goals for your organization. However, it will be important you also establish a metric that is normalized despite the amount of spend/impressions so that you can compare performance. 

For example, let’s say I said search traffic dropped 10% year over year. At first blush, you may think that is a negative thing. But if I followed it up by saying our total search budget decreased by 55% year-over-year, then this paints a very different and positive picture. The same thing can be said as you start comparing differing channels and tactics that have differing costs. So, as you build out your strategy, it will be important to determine how you compare both quantity and quality in your campaigns.

Quantity metrics are generally based around cost (cost-per-X). These are great for measuring efficiency of tactics. This removes spend as a variable (as budgets between tactics or campaigns could vary widely) and compares on more like terms to determine the best use of dollars to drive volume.

Quality metrics on the other hand focus on rates. This could be things such as video completion rate (video completes divided by impressions) or pageview rate (pageviews divided by impressions). This is similar to Quantity metrics in that it compares tactics with both large and small volume in a more similar way. What percentage of the time did the user do the desired action? This is important especially for lead campaigns where driving high quality leads is more important than driving cheap leads that don’t convert.

  1. What performance do I want to see?

Once you know what you want to do and you know how to measure it, the next step is understanding what you will define as “performing well.” Firstly, it is important to understand benchmarks. This is generally defined as the performance baseline and what you can expect to see. Every tactic has different benchmarks, so it is important to take that into consideration.

Going one step beyond benchmarks is setting goals. This is the performance you would love to see in an ideal world. While it is important to set realistic goals that are achievable, this is where we generally push our boundaries and challenge ourselves. This is especially critical for campaigns that are based on conversions, as benchmarks are likely hard to come by, knowing every sale and conversion are different. If you clearly communicate your goals with your agency or team, they will be more likely to deliver results.

  1. How will my creative strategy and media strategy work together?

Creative strategy that mirrors the ultimate media strategy is absolutely critical to media success. At True Media we work with both in house teams and creative agencies to ensure that assets developed follow our measurement strategy. This means that your call to action should be very clear (and directly related to your KPI). This helps ensure the consumer understands what their next step is and has a good user journey and experience.

  1. What is new?

It can be easy to just keep doing the same approach every campaign with the same tactics; however, the media landscape is constantly changing. An approach that worked three years ago (or even 6 months ago) may be outdated, with new measurement solutions and metrics becoming available. This evolution ensures you are on the cutting edge and moving the needle with your marketing dollars. While doing this can take time, in my experience, cookie-cutter plans rarely outperform campaigns that regularly adapt and are custom to an organization’s goals.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Every campaign has its own unique challenges to be met, but no matter the campaign, these six questions can be the start of a strong measurement strategy that will align with business goals and lead to long term success. By defining success and understanding what metrics will indicate success, you can create a wise paid media strategy leading to overall growth for your organization.

About the Author

Kallie Hagerman, Client Strategy Supervisor

Kallie leads strategy and planning for a variety of clients at True Media to promote innovation and drive business results through integrated marketing campaigns.

The Importance of a Measurement Framework

Welcome to our series on Measurement Matters. Throughout the next several weeks, we will have client strategists who are passionate about a particular aspect of campaign measurement dive a little deeper and provide a point-of-view that has been built over time, experience, and pursuit of honing their craft of campaign planning. Campaign measurement strategy and frameworks are the most critical part of a planning process (audience definition and planning is a close second, but more on that in a future series). Throughout my career in media, I have developed an enthusiastic affinity for measurement strategy – something all my clients can attest to. Here’s why:

Measurement strategy is our roadmap

Have you ever had a specific destination in mind and started your trip without a clear understanding of how to get there? If so, it probably took longer than necessary, there were avoidable detours, and unnecessary frustrations. The same goes for campaign planning. A proper measurement framework that includes a solid understanding of the business and business goals, sets the tone and trajectory for channel and tactical planning, data and tagging strategy, campaign optimization, and performance results and communication. The most rigorous solutions will include the role of each channel in the customer journey and how it will be measured. It will easily flow into message mapping and will tie together creative elements to ensure a seamless customer experience.

We care about your business

Each business has its own unique challenges, opportunities and goals. Measurement frameworks should reflect that too! A proper measurement framework will put business goals first, illustrate how marketing and media can support those goals, and facilitate a robust conversation about priorities and numeric goals or benchmarks. Those meaningful conversations will also provide invaluable insights to prioritizing the goals, identifying relevant metrics, and defining how to accomplish success. A measurement framework is one of the best ways to de-risk your marketing investment. This leads me to the next point.

“Every tactic/channel has its place, and function and should perform accordingly”

Just like we all have a job to do on our teams, every channel has its role to contribute to the campaign. Part of the art and strategy of these measurement frameworks are translating business goals into metrics that are good indicators of success (or failure leading to a need for optimization).

During this series, we will clearly align how we translate sales, awareness, and/or engagement to success metrics that we can measure. We will review how each channel works together throughout the audience journey/funnel, and identify what is going to move the needle in each particular business. A solid measurement framework will set the stage for learning agendas, testing, and optimization. In each of these cases, there is a requirement of a clearly defined business goal and a knowledge of the role the channel plays in its success.

Discussion about success early is a requirement to achieve success

There are too many important conversations that are often missed when teams set off on campaign planning. In today’s world, if someone isn’t thinking philosophically about success for a new campaign before it goes to market AND how it will be measured, the campaign will fail. Yes, I said it.

If you don’t fundamentally know HOW to show success, success is out of reach. There are many data points that can help build the actionable insights throughout the campaign. There should be thoughtfulness around advanced measurement such as brand lift, foot traffic, and sentiment tracking.  We need to understand if incrementality with measurement is an option, i.e. do we realistically have a control group? There should be discussion around third party indicators such Google Trends and industry benchmarks. Not all of this is necessary or accessible for every campaign. Regardless, there should be a thoughtful discussion at the very beginning of the campaign before it’s too late to implement. The reality is, the teams that are charged with illustrating success with accountability to the business goal should have a clear vision that will allow them to bring actionable insights rather than mere tactical observations and vanity metrics.

All that said, I am very excited for our team to formally share some of the areas of measurement they are most passionate about over the next several weeks. Each will bring their unique perspective that helps meld our team’s individual areas of expertise and knowledge that makes it stronger. 

About the Author

Rhonda Meier, Senior Vice President Client Strategy

Rhonda helps lead our company’s media planning and strategy philosophy to deliver strategic and fully-integrated campaigns across all media platforms.

True Media Awarded Google Premier Partner Status

Columbia, Missouri-based digital agency, True Media, one of the fastest growing media agencies in North America has achieved 2022 Premier Partner status in the Google Partners program.

True Media’s team of experts, across six offices, provides comprehensive media strategy, data analysis and all forms of media buying from traditional to programmatic across six offices in Columbia, MO; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Toronto, ON and Calgary, AB. 

“Only a small percentage of digital and media agencies are awarded Premier Partner status,” said Preston Waller, president, True Media. “While we’re, of course, delighted by the honor and recognition from Google, our real reward comes simply from doing high quality, innovative work with our clients day in and day out. That’s what drives our team.”

This month, Google recognized the achievements of top performing digital marketing partners across the globe by awarding Premier Partner status as part of the new Google Partners program, which was not True Media’s first time receiving the designation – marking a years long commitment to maintaining Premier Partner status.

The Google Partners program has undergone significant changes for 2022, including redefining what it means to be a Premier Partner through new, advanced program requirements and offering new Premier Partner benefits to support growth and success with Google Ads.

“Congratulations to our Premier Partners for being among the top 3% of Google Partners in North America. These companies stand out based on their commitment to developing product expertise, building new client relationships, and helping current clients grow. We look forward to supporting them as they help their customers succeed online.” – Davang Shah, Senior Director, Google Ads Marketing.

True Media is part of a select group of Premier Partners in the Google Partners program. This program is designed for advertising agencies and third parties that manage Google Ads accounts on behalf of other brands or businesses. Its mission is to empower companies by providing them with innovative tools, resources, and support to help their clients succeed and grow online.

True Media was founded in 2005 with a simple mission: creating strategic, innovative and impactful ways to connect clients with their customers in the evolving media landscape. Starting as one office, True is now a network of six locations across North America, delivering best-in-class media and engagement programs, strategic partnerships and a combination of the power of big agency buying with start-up entrepreneurial flair. Each client program is tailored, custom and designed to immediately ignite business results where they matter most.

Did Coinbase Win the Super Bowl Crypto War with…a DR ad?

It’s not every year I say this, but it really felt like this year’s Super Bowl was successful by all accounts (unless you had a rooting interest in Cincinnati).

The game was exciting and all of the top players had big moments. The halftime show was perhaps one of, if not the best ever (biased 80’s / 90’s human). The commercials were pretty good overall, and certainly played on nostalgia by bringing back Dr. EV-il, The Cable Guy, Meadow & A.J. Soprano, Barbie, and Scrubs.

Perhaps surprising to many were the number of ads endorsing Crypto. Unless you completely tuned out the ads it would have been hard to miss, but cryptocurrency exchanges were a huge part of the event. In total, four different companies (FTX, eToro, and Coinbase) promoted their brands on the biggest stage. It’s certainly a sign that Crypto is pushing to the masses like online trading platforms have for the last 30 years. Perhaps why E-Trade went back to its roots and brought the baby back?

So with all of this attention to crypto brands, which of them stuck out to those who didn’t have awareness of any before the big game?

Anecdotally, I’ve heard that people really liked the Larry David ad, but couldn’t remember who it was for. I’ve heard that the LeBron ad missed the mark, and viewers weren’t sure which company it was for. Based on the early data and the sheer earned media attention it has received thus far, I would argue that the winner of last night’s Crypto war was the one who took an old-school and response oriented approach…Coinbase.

With COVID, QR code technology has kind of had its moment, at least in that people know how to quickly scan one on their phones to link to the content. I would hardly call the technology old school yet, but it was the way in which Coinbase used the code that I found most interesting. Essentially, they created a 1-minute DRTV ad void of any branded elements, until a 3-second logo flash cut in at the end.

Direct response television (DRTV) is basically any television ad that prompts people to respond directly with a company. These types of ads are by no means new to the Super Bowl, but are far from the bigger brand spots that typically make all of the headlines. By using their $14 million dollar media placement to run a QR code that looked like an old screensaver, they not only were the talk of the ad game, but prompted 20 million hits within 1 minute of their spot airing. Which was enough to crash their site. No 1-800 number, no manual typing in of the website, just open your camera app to see what the fuss is all about. It was a clever approach that leveraged creative, media and technology to help them to stick out in the crowd, and as MediaPost rightfully pointed out, it wouldn’t have worked without the ad being a :60.

My guess is that a large portion of the 36 million households that tuned in to the Super Bowl on Sunday have not been in the market for a Crypto trading platform anytime soon, but we will soon find out the short term ROI on this DRTV ad since their $15 of free Bitcoin offer expires today.

For the long term, the mission of all these companies on Sunday was to build awareness of their brands for when customers are ready to engage – to be the one they try first – to tell people they should not miss out on the Crypto boom (which let’s be honest – has not been completely reassuring as of late). What they collectively did was bring awareness to their industry (which also includes NFT exchanges), and even though the market did not respond favorably to their ad spending yesterday, there is a lot of conversation happening this week as a result.

From a product standpoint, Coinbase might want to be a technology company that does not crash on people, but from a marketing standpoint they may have made some serious strides on getting their brand to stick out in the pack, without having to shell out the talent fees of Matt Damon, LeBron James or Larry David.

Time will tell, but Coinbase may have very well won the Super Bowl.

Big Changes for Nielsen Local TV: Impressions vs Ratings

In January 2022, the Local TV industry begins the long-awaited currency shift from ratings to impressions. Several factors have led to this change:

  • The recent explosion of video delivery platforms to the TV screen
  • Nielsen’s change in local television universes to include broadband-only homes (BBO) in metered markets to be more inclusive of viewers from various TV sources
  • The industry’s desire to transact local TV on a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) basis – a metric already utilized in most other traditional and digital channels 

Large station ownership groups have announced the formal change from ratings to impressions on the sell side beginning in January, and will guarantee delivery based on impressions only.

Nielsen announced recently that it will take the lead on an “Impressions First Initiative” to support an industry-wide move to impressions-based buying and selling in local markets across the country. The move to impressions will occur in conjunction with the integration of broadband only homes (BBO) into Nielsen’s local measurement metrics in January 2022. The move to an impressions-based currency will deliver a more complete, precise and representative audience measurement, along with the added benefit of enabling cross-platform audience measurement. In today’s fragmented media landscape, the move to impressions lays the groundwork for implementing Nielsen ONE across local, national, and digital measurement.

The inclusion of BBO homes will enable the industry to rapidly transition to trading on impressions. Impressions represent all viewers regardless of platform—which is especially important given the significant and growing penetration of BBO homes in local markets. For more than two years, Nielsen has been working with the media and advertising industries in preparation for the inclusion of broadband-only homes in Local TV measurement for its 56 LPM and Set Meter markets.

DEFINITION: A Broadband-Only (BBO) home has at least one TV set able to deliver streaming video from an internet source, with no TV sets able to receive a channel from a traditional cable, satellite, or over-the-air source.

What does this mean for you?

Throughout time, local broadcast ratings have provided a consistent measure of advertising exposure across markets with different universes/populations. Moving forward, impressions will reflect potential exposure in terms of viewers rather than a percentage of viewers. Our Activation Strategists will still be able to look at reach metrics to ensure consistency by market. 

The Client and Activation Strategy teams at True Media are working together to provide clients with an understanding of the impact of these changes. For clients with a history of ratings-based planning and buying in local markets we will still be able to convert impressions to ratings. However with this change in the local TV universes to include BBO homes, post-change ratings will not be comparable to today’s ratings. Likewise, historical CPPs will not apply to future planning. All negotiations and guarantees will be based on impressions moving forward.