Best practices for your 2013 media plan

By Neal Deeprose

The economy is forecast to continue to struggle throughout 2013, and marketers face a struggle to optimise their media value this year. For example, those reliant on declining print circulations for budget savings actually face higher costs to reach a shrinking audience. Accenture Interactive’s experience working in the UK media marketplace suggests ten opportunities marketing teams should incorporate into their 2013 media plans to drive marketing performance across print, digital, TV, out of home (OoH) and cinema advertising.

1. Plug the print value gap

Insist your media agency buys audience volume across print and online editions to plug the value gap created by falling circulations. The route to allocating resource effectively lies in combining the measurement of incremental reach from digital editions. NRS PADD provides the first indications showing how this gap is being plugged. Brands should combine all newspaper and online inventory to maximise audience reach and value.

2. Consider the relative value of online versus print

The online edition audience may cost less than print. A print cost per thousand is higher than the digital version. It is up to brands to secure 100 percent transparency on their purchases to test the true value of their online audiences to ensure messages reach the correct audience.

3. Check Video on demand (VoD) placement

Ensure your agency provides detail on VoD campaign sites, channels and programming decisions to reduce wastage. It’s a high growth area and many agencies are putting video into their plans. However, there is not the same data such as BARB for TV, so measurement can be tricky.

4. Digital ad-viewability

Understand ad-viewability in online display campaigns. Are all your ad impressions from consumers able to see your ad on the page? This is a really big industry issue. Advertisers will pay for every impression that’s served but that doesn’t mean that everyone sees it or is capable of seeing it (maybe they don’t scroll to it if the page doesn’t fit their screen). Accenture Interactive has been researching ad viewability, and we find that some websites have only half the ads viewable on the page. The industry needs to fix this quickly and agree on a clear set of metrics for viewable ads served.

5. 100% DSP transparency

Ensure your agency provides the site and remuneration details behind their demand side platforms (DSP), a new phenomenon for online industry. This is an issue of transparency – the DSP is one line on a brand’s media plan, but the DSP buys inventory from thousands of websites. Just compare this with print: you wouldn’t advertise across thousands of magazines or TV channels. If a long tail of obscure websites serve ads they offer low value consumers to the advertiser and are not necessarily helping improve brand value.

6. Summer value season for TV

As TV advertising costs are measured by the previous year’s data, last year’s big sporting events will ensure costs are lower this year, making summer better value. This year an increased audience provides good value for brands to advertise during summer period.

7. Investigate new TV measurement tools

New TV measurement tools present new opportunities to develop targeting and to measure outcomes. Sky, in particular, is leading this market by opening up their customer data, allowing advertisers (with household permission) to tailor ads to the audience – giving richer data and value. These tools are Sky IQ and Sky AdSmart. Brands will soon be able to target the audience most likely to be receptive to that message. If you compare BARB which is in approximately over 5,000 homes, this system could be in 500,000 to two million homes – allowing a much more granular view.

8. Use Postar 2 to review audience targeting

OoH campaign performance optimisation will be significantly enhanced through the new research, launching soon. This will allow brands to buy space by audience. Obviously brands only want to buy the audience they want to reach. Postar 2 should allow the poster owners to buy in the same way as the print market already does.

9. Increased flexibility for buying in-cinema advertising

New cinema advertising flexibility allows ad slots to be purchased for an individual day, not just a two week block, as was the case previously. Clearly, this provides cost benefits to the brand and can help static or declining budgets go further to reach the right audience by targeting only the days with the greatest viewing audience.

10. Check media value

Conduct an annual check-up of the media agency relationship to ensure continued value delivery. Question to ask can include:

• Are your media buyers keeping to modern best practices?

• Are they being audited?

• What are they making you pay for?

• Are prices static in TV?

• Are print prices going down?

• Are online prices being held?

As media becomes more controllable by the audience, brands only want to buy access to targeted audiences, not big packages of lower precision. Audiences are more in control than ever. They can block ads, or fast forward and time shift their viewing, for instance. So brands need to take stock of their inventory to ensure they keep hitting the right target.

About the author

Neal Deeprose is a senior manager with the Accenture Interactive Media Management team in the United Kingdom, providing insight and analysis to a wide portfolio of clients across all advertiser sectors including FMCG, Automotive, Financial Services and Retail. Neal works with clients helping to optimise media value through benchmarking, proprietary tools and consultancy. He has over 20 years’ experience in media planning and media consultancy.

He has worked in media consultancy at Accenture for 6 years ago, previously specializing in the area of media planning for 17 years with media agencies.

About the company

Accenture Interactive helps the world’s leading brands drive superior marketing performance across the full multichannel customer experience. Working with over 4,000 Accenture professionals dedicated to serving the marketing function, Accenture Interactive offers integrated, industrialized and industry-driven marketing solutions and services across consulting, technology and outsourcing powered by analytics.

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