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How To Think Of An Efficient Media Plan With Attribution Metrics

Media planning is a complicated process considering all the gaps that still exist in determining media consumption. This gets trickier when it comes to TV planning, given that most of our understanding of TV audiences is still highly probabilistic. 


To tackle the problem, we first need to break down the problem: 


  •  Definition of Target Group on TV is not comprehensive: Previously, the lack of individual TV consumption data at granular geographic levels has made it impossible to identify TGs among TV audiences. Media planners could not identify what their brand’s potential consumers are specifically watching on TV - what channels or shows they watch, what time they tune in - and hence they cannot place ads in the most impactful spots. Moreover, new-age brands are looking for more information about their Target Groups for effective targeting. Broadcasters and advertisers today are interested in a lot more details about their TG (beyond demographics) like marital status, professional status, behaviours and interests, digital adoption etc.

  • Siloed media planning across platforms: Lack of data for an individual person’s consumption across different mediums creates a silo effect for media planning. As a result, TV media planning is done without keeping in mind how it can be amplified on digital. 

With growth in digital media, brands are looking for a single source to create integrated offline + online media plans


This high overlap between TV and digital mediums creates inefficiencies due to lack of integrated planning. For example, a brand spends lots of money on certain channels which don’t give them incremental reach, while they could reach the same audiences effectively on digital at a much lesser cost. Moreover, ad spots can be bought more intelligently keeping in mind that the same TV audiences can be re-engaged on digital. 


  • No clear measurement of ROI: The absence of measurable return-on-investment often leads to poor decision making. Media planners often struggle to identify what the ROI is for mediums like television, and end up turning it into a purely branding exercise. While television is indeed a great tool for branding, its impact has been hugely underestimated: nearly 25% of ROI which can be traced back to TV is often wrongly attributed to other platforms. Brands and agencies are looking to get TVC performance data quicker to take prompt actions. However the current conventional reporting has a 7-10 days lag which makes it difficult for advertisers to take prompt action with their ongoing TV ad campaigns, and broadcasters with how their content performs.

  • Tracking of performance is not deterministic: often limited to top and mid of funnel

Brands are becoming more conscious about ROI of media spends and TV needs to be more “performance-focused”. Digital platforms provide down-funnel performance metrics like web traffic, app installs etc .With over 40% spends in digital happening on “performance platforms” where ROIs are clearly tied back to revenue, brands are looking at TV for more impact measurability. 


The performance of TV campaigns are often limited to the first two parts of the funnel. On the top, we have exposure metrics of reach (how many people watched the ads) and frequency (how many times they did). These are tracked by media monitoring systems which instantly detect viewership.


In the middle of funnel lies the brand consideration (or brand lift) metrics such as brand awareness, ad recall and purchase intention. These are measured using brand lift surveys which can be targeted directly to users via mobile phones or primary surveys. 


At the bottom of the funnel, there’s the actual buying of the product which is the ultimate goal of marketing efforts. This is usually tracked by recording household purchases by collecting buying history from stores and brand outlets. With the rise of internet based business and e-commerce apps, attributing TV to digital purchases is an added challenge which brands need to solve in order to fully understand the impact of TV.


So what does an ideal audience measurement system look like?

To solve the challenges mentioned above, an ideal audience measurement would look a bit like this:

To sum it up, the industry needs an audience measurement system which has the following characteristics:

  1. A system having a large, comprehensive and representative panel which provides granular insights into every audience segment, from the most widely watched channels to niche ones, from national to hyperlocal viewership data. And all of this needs to be accessed at low operational costs so that the process remains sustainable.
  2. Passive tracking is required to eliminate any need for manual intervention in order to make it a seamless and consistent process.
  3. Operates as a single source of collecting viewership for media content across online and offline platforms. This would help advertisers integrate their TV and digital campaigns to avoid inefficient spending.
  4. Ability to track down-funnel performance / impact data from television exposure to purchase.
  5. Real-time availability of data on content and TV commercial viewership which would allow advertisers to optimize their ads as they air live on TV. 

If you want to know more about efficient media planning and how to tailor it for your brand, do get in touch with us and we’d be happy to explore more!

Suzanne Sangi
Suzanne Sangi
Suzanne is a writer, music lover and Cultural Studies enthusiast. She occasionally sneaks into the music corner to jam, and goes home to (try and) finish her second novel.

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