FOREWORD with Kevin
Hello. I’m Kevin Wert, Chief Engagement Officer at Wakeen Pages. You know, I think we can all agree that our advertising universe is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Whether we talk about data or media fragmentation or shifting consumer behavior, new technology can make things well, confusing and for some of us rather exciting. FOREWORD with Kevin is a way for us to have a conversation for us to really look at how all of these converging sort of technologies allow us to reach our audiences in an intentional and authentic way.
We’ll be having conversations with amazing partners across our industry and our hope is that this podcast will be a way for us to not only share information but for us to provoke ideas about how we can move forward. Forward in an industry that is not stopping anytime soon.
So welcome to another episode of FOREWORD with Kevin, who is, me and um, I think I was thinking leading into this next episode about, does Jimmy Fallon get excited? Like, does he get geeked out over some guests? Because I’m so giddy with having you guys come and join me, um, so I want to introduce you to Heather Myers who is the principal at Triad Media Communications, and Joanna Drexel-Blevins who is the Chief Strategist at Wakeen Strategies. So Joanna, Heather welcome, thank you so much for joining us.
So the reason I geek out a little bit is, I like to think of myself as a strategist myself. Maybe like, maybe not in the same “league” as some people, but I really enjoy the conversation about intentional media planning execution, really how we authentically share our messages for our clients with the intended audience. And so I think, you know, to have a conversation among two seasoned veterans, really smart strategists, yeah I’m building you –
No pressure, yeah.
Hey, you know I was going to call you like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, but then I was like, “wow, that’s really going to probably set the stage.”
I like it.
I want to jump into a conversation about media measurement. I think we’re in this really interesting time right, where there’s so much fragmentation with consumption. There’s things coming out every single day, and as two that have been in this environment of really effectively planning and the methodology behind smart, accountable media execution – I think it’s one of the most relevant things we can talk about right now.
So I’m going to jump off, and I’m going to read you a quote, and you could throw a dart probably at any trade publication and find something like this, but in a survey of 300 advertising decision-makers across the US and UK, 49 percent rated the lack of standard measurement across different channels and platforms as a top-five obstacle.
So as experienced strategists like how do you respond? Where would you rank this as a challenge? So, Heather, I’ll throw it to you first.
Yes, I think it is the largest challenge that we have faced in the past decade, honestly. With digital emerging as impression-based, it really was ambiguous on how to get down to reach and frequency. How many individual people are you actually reaching? And so that ambiguity when we’re so used to having firm numbers with traditional media, it just makes it very challenging. So the fact that it’s starting to emerge is wonderful, and certain platforms have that capability. But how consistent is it across platforms? That’s the difference and the challenge.
So you’re ranking it the number one challenge.
All right, Joanna.
I agree. I think it’s number one. I think that there’s really no way that we can, as a media buyer, can stand in a place of authority, can stand in a place of integrity when we’re looking at a buy.
I mean, one, I think part of that article also talks about fatigue. You know, so people are getting fatigued because they’re seeing the same things over and over. When you do an impression-based buy, it is just – you’re just out there blasting this message without any real understanding of how many people you’re reaching, how many times you’re connecting with them. And so you know, I would agree that I think how everything’s working together is critically important to understand at this moment in time.
Yeah, so I think you know this evolution of impression-based delivery has really, for us that have been doing it for a while, has thrown the monkey wrench into it, right. So, we want to show a reach and frequency model, but sometimes that’s not available. I mean, we’ve had conversations for a while now about the availability of accurate data. And Heather, I think you touched on it, so you can do some, and some will provide certain aspects of measurement, but it’s really the idea of cross-channel measurement and the accuracy.
You know we’ve read a lot of industry brand leaders that are, I don’t want to say screaming, but they’re screaming. I mean, they’re literally standing on top of the hill, in the trades, across the board and saying, “we have to figure this out because the result is billions of dollars of wasted spending and an audience fatigue.” So can you guys talk a little about the downside of, what I consider to be the downside of impression-based only delivery, and where we can’t see certain aspects of – does that make sense?
Yeah. So the downside of impression-based is, you know you need to know where your audience is, who your audience is and as a media buyer again, it’s all about the audience and reaching that audience in the most efficient way – and a million impressions isn’t necessarily going to accomplish what the end goal is. So, you know, I think the tendency is to just buy more, buy more, buy more, but then you have that fatigue, you have to have that reasonable frequency cap in order to not reach that point of annoyance and turn off customers.
It’s cheap, right? We can buy, buy more, look at this, we can buy more, but the reality is we don’t know about the duplication, and we don’t really necessarily know the legitimacy of some of that delivery right. There is the very real thing called fraud and bots that are impacting much more than we care to talk about on a monthly basis. So yeah, anything to add to?
I would just say this – I think it’s interesting as an industry that we’ve accepted we’ve moved past a reach frequency model, we’ve moved past this because of the availability of data, because of the emergence of the opportunity, the excitement around certain opportunities. I think there’s, not to call anybody out, but I think as an industry, we’ve said, “look over here, we’re placing 10 million impressions for you”. We’re doing all of this and we’re accepting and okay with the fact that these 10 million impressions are also delivering a 0.02 percent engagement. Where you have tried and true media placement opportunities, things like print that are probably grossly under-delivered.
I just read an article recently with a study. It was done in 2020. This is not something from 2010. You know this is last year during the pandemic – and I don’t know how much of it was guided by that. People are just at home reading, you know the recall studies, ROI studies in print, but I think when we look at things from an impression-based perspective instead of really digging into it and understanding – to Heather’s point, how many people we’re really affecting, how many people we’re really touching and that you know there’s not an understanding of how these channels all can work together to deliver effectively for an advertiser. So you have this concept now that’s emerging between multimedia buying versus omni-channel buying, right? Which is what we’re talking about.
So right now we’re living in this multimedia world, this multi-channel world where I can tell you what my television is doing, I can tell you what my radio is doing, and then I’ve got these billion impressions or millions of impressions over here that are doing that – and there’s value to all of it right? But how is it all really coming together to effectively deliver for a client? And I think that’s where for an advertiser that’s where you reference the studies. I think that’s where advertisers are now coming back around to “okay, we tried this impression-based model, it’s okay, and we’re excited about it, and we’re glad that we’re on these platforms, but now it’s got to relate to something bigger. I need to understand my audience in a different way. It’s great that I can drive these certain parameters, I can dig into behaviors and intent and all those things, but I also need to understand how many of my true audience I am actually reaching with this buy, what am I really spending on”
It’s quality over quantity at the end of the day, and that’s something that I have conversations with clients about regularly. And I would rather have a hundred thousand quality impressions than a million junk impressions that just don’t get the right people.
So that’s the shift. For the first time, more people are watching connected TV than paid subscription television.
So I was just going to ask you, Heather, what are the conversations that you’re having with your clients that you’ve had for a while where there’s been this shift? And partially, you just answered it, is I think there’s this inclination. We had a client meeting a couple of months ago with senior leaders, not just marketing at a specific client and there was a senior leader that asked about, based on the device used, right, so we’re looking at statistics about where people are consuming, how much time they’re spending on devices. Why wouldn’t we just use these top two channels and spend all of our budget there? And so the question is, and Joanna touched on a little bit with even the print reference, is what are you telling your clients about how to look at that quality inventory? And how these, even though there’s not a uniform measurement metric, how are you responding to your clients? “Heather, like what am I, what are we doing here?”
Right, so really, the conversation for me begins and ends with research, and I will reiterate that to clients. Whenever they call and say, “Hey, have we thought about this? Hey, can we do XYZ?” let’s go back to the research and see what your target audience is consuming. And so I bring it back to that all the time, and so, for example, digital, of course, is part of everybody’s day – and you could be on ten different platforms, social media included, streaming included. So all of the different platforms are available, but do you have the budget to do it effectively? And so then it just comes down to where is that quality audience based on the research, based on the cost efficiencies, and let that be the guide because we could try everything and be everywhere, it just won’t be the most effective use.
Yeah, so you’re really talking about dilution, right? So the idea is that you know we always want to try to “let’s dip our toe in the water,” but the reality is that if there’s not a budget, and that’s a hard conversation to have, right. “Well, we have to do this” yeah, but something else is going to have to give right, and because the measurement isn’t always the same, it’s not comparing. Last month on the podcast we were talking about streaming delivery, so the supply side, and the idea that all inventory isn’t created equal and is it fair to measure linear TV and streaming in a different way. So the idea of having a conversation with a client saying, “we’re using this for the brand”. Right? We’re using linear for brand and we know where we’re delivering, but on the OTT side, we’re looking at attribution. So we’re looking at view through, we’re looking at click group. Well, I’m not sure that that’s a fair assessment. What is a fair expectation is that we have a way to look at that on the front end. So, I just think you know, as I think you said in the beginning, they’re coming along, they’re coming leaps and bounds, but they still aren’t there, and I think that there’s going to need to be a period of vetting out what is actually legitimate when it comes to that.
You mentioned testing, and I think that’s the piece. It’s interesting for me, and I know Heather, you buy sort of this way too. You look at – okay, so getting all of your traditional media channels, you know all the bases covered, let’s squeeze out as much savings efficiencies as we can on that side so that we’re not jeopardizing and effective by when we do test a, you know, snapchat buyer. You know there’s these things, these emerging medias. I mean, Snapchat’s no longer emerging over the adventure today, but for a particular brand, it could be. So understanding, so I think when you have a mechanism where you are evaluating it, there’s less risk because you aren’t sacrificing you know, a baseline reach frequency. You aren’t sacrificing a base number of impressions that you need to have so that there’s less risk to a client to do that. It could also look like diversification, adding to versus cannibalizing something over here. I think that’s an important conversation.
Where is that additional audience? There was a statistic again on the streaming side, where you’re missing 41 percent of households if you don’t have some kind of streaming play in your media plan. So you want to talk about duplication, I mean, that is a significant miss if we’re not including that and so it’s the idea of combining everything into an effective strategy and then, you know, setting. So can you talk a little bit Heather about how are you setting the KPIs? Like, how are you setting those expectations for your clients when it comes to all of these things, and even I’ll throw this in, how are you integrating other streaming services on the audio side, even like Pandora who’s been around for a while? Spotify, podcasts, you know there’s this vast universe, so how are you doing that?
So I think it’s important to remember that we talk about them as separate media allocations but to the consumer, it’s radio, it’s TV, they don’t really think of it differently. So in terms of KPIs, I apply the same across those platforms, so you know, Hulu buys as I would television broadcast TV. Same metrics for Spotify and Pandora as I do radio. It’s an overall lift. It’s a lift in awareness, a lift in website traffic, but ultimately, for each and every client of mine, it’s a lift in business. So everything that we’re doing should increase sales membership, you patients, what have you.
I feel like if we were on Jimmy Fallon, there would be like the live audience applause there. It’s about the overall success of what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s all about the clients, so as long as they’re meeting their goals, it’s working.
So if you brought on a new client that was in the retail business, so we’ll just say retail. Where right now, given the climate of today, where would you go to spend your first dollar if they didn’t have any existing plan? So Jo, did you want to answer that?
Wow, that’s a great question. So we’re assuming to have no brand awareness, just brand new. So I, and I’d love to hear Heather’s response to this too, but I think for me, it’s a balance of brand awareness and then what are those really specific opportunities to engage with an ideal customer. So something like outdoor or television where you can get that broad brand awareness, but then you layer in these more specific channels like Amazon or programmatic, or you know where you literally are going after a specific consumer with a particular profile that you want to go after. So for me, it’s a blend of those things. I’d love to hear Heather’s take on that.
Yeah, so my mind went directly to the local retailer, where they may not have a huge budget, so that’s where I’m coming from. And if that’s the scenario, then I would go completely to Facebook, Instagram to start. Eighty-plus percent of people use them on a daily basis. They have the largest target audience of women 25 to 54. Your main buy or buyer. So I would go there. You can get the most impressions at the most efficient price, so that’s how I would –
The most quality impressions. Quality right? Because you said quality before so –
They perform great, though. Good click-through rate. So I would start there and then if they had a budget, obviously diversify into, like Joanna said outdoor and television, but social media, those two platforms specifically right now, they’re performing the best with engagement, with results and with cost-efficiency.
Yeah, great answers. I would agree with that too. So fun question for you because I think you even mentioned Amazon in your answer. There’s this idea of, really a duopoly between Facebook and Google but I think when it comes to the overall taking over the world, so who takes over the world first, Amazon or Google? And remember everything that Google has underneath them right, so they own a lot that we sometimes forget about.
It’s like Thor versus the Hulk in Ragnarok a little bit. I don’t know if either one of them will take down the other one, but It’d be fun to watch. It’s an interesting question, Kevin, because it’s funny when you look at some of the current statistics right. So last year, Amazon actually had a two percent market share gain in their advertising platform of a 1330 billion dollar industry, so not insignificant dollars, right. Then Google took it on the chin a little bit with a one percent loss. But putting it in perspective, like when you look at users or overall, so there’s 200 million Prime users estimated right now, which equates to about 2.4 billion searches per day through Amazon, right? Which is a lot, huge, but comparatively to Google, it’s still 6.9 billion searches per day on Google, so there it’s a three-time multiplier over when you look at it. So those gains of two percent and losses of one percent, also Google’s responding to that. They just changed a lot of what they’re doing for merchant services. They’re offering a lot of research opportunities for the little guys. I mean, this focus on doing business locally is really growing. I love that you said you knew you assumed it was a small business owner, local Heather, and I think that’s what Google’s responding to, and that’s where Amazon has made some strides, I think. Because I mean they’re doing Prime, you got a percentage back if you did business with local or small businesses. So they were responding to that as well. So I think it’s interesting to watch but Google has really stepped up in terms of the professional services models that they’re offering to small businesses, and even giving them a couple of bones like research opportunities, featuring them in search responses on their shopping center. I mean, it’s really interesting to watch.
So it’s like a Hulk smash.
Yeah! I feel like it’s like that. Thor’s not going down without a fight, though.
So Heather, who wins?
I’m going with Amazon. I have a love-hate relationship with Google. I feel like Amazon, you know, there’s just so much more growth that’s possible, and Google’s just like you said, they are coming out with new opportunities for local, and they have their grant programs and all that, but it’s such a giant that I would love to see Amazon take them down.
We’re on a first-name basis with our Amazon driver, so I’m not sure I’m not pulling for Amazon a little too.
I mean, speaking of those two giants, you know, is there the next disrupter that you guys see coming down the pike? You know, in all of the things that are emerging, are you able to preview that at all? Where do you think that there might be something that either disrupts – for example, you know, I think the idea of streaming video is this disruptor. The radio industry saw it with streaming video. TV saw it with streaming video. So what is the next disrupter? I guess every industry goes through this shift, right?
Yeah, I think it’s going to be the growth and the continued growth of streaming. I don’t really – I can’t think of anything like geofencing that was the hot button years and years ago. Streaming was the next thing that it was like, “okay, how can I get on here.” I just feel like it’s just going to be continuing that growth in streaming and how to do it well so that it really mirrors a television buy and a radio buy. But I don’t know, I was trying to think about what could be coming down next, and I’m not sure.
Well, do you have any ideas? Because we’re going to buy stock in whatever that is.
I’ll kind of go to the dark side of this question, Kevin, a little bit. I think the privacy laws could potentially come into play and I think it’s going to force advertisers to get more creative in how they can deliver a message and potentially do an end-around back to some traditional channels because you can’t block a billboard unless there’s you know, unless you’re living in Virginia and you’re under the Lady Burt Johnson Act right where they don’t have outdoor. But I mean, I think there could be some interesting plays there with subscription services and, how you know, taking discounts if you’re willing to watch ads. You see that model a little bit with Pandora. You’ve seen it on Spotify. You’ve seen it on some of these other channels. I wonder as the access to consumers becomes more limited, that advertisers are going to have to get more creative, or media channels are going to have to get more creative in the ways that they can deliver the message to people. And that’s why content is king right now because people seek out content they want to understand, whether it’s a podcast like this, if it’s video content, whatever that looks like, so I think it’s interesting. I think it’ll be an interesting thing to see how that shifts. We’re already seeing it in the UK, very much limited in terms of how you’ve seen it in the financial industry with Google already, where you know you can’t target by household income anymore. I mean, it’s just kind of equalizing the playing field and how everybody can target people. So I think it will be interesting to see how that disrupts the media industry.
It should help bring digital back down to a more realistic level, too, because of that. I mean, I know with 2021 strategy meetings, it was all about “okay, no cookie,” you know, like cookie-less world. What are we doing and so all of those plans are in effect so that they’re not reactive and wondering what to do. But, how are we being proactive now, and you’re right. It’s brought in a lot of different media that was maybe forgotten about or discounted in the past. But yeah, I think it’ll just bring everything to a more even playing field.
Yeah, and I think the whole evolution over the last few years forced traditional media to step up their game right. So when you talk to somebody – and not everyone, I mean, but I think when you talk to some of these channels, I’m impressed with how far they’ve come on the ability to customize content to really zero in on an audience and to share the message in a different way than simply an impression, or a 15-second spot. How do you connect that brand with a community? Because at the end of the day, that’s what I mean. As professional strategists that are charged by our clients to do this, that’s the challenge that we need to understand, build relationships and understand all of these components that can work together for, as Heather said, for what we’re trying to do in terms of the overall value of our client
You mentioned fragmentation earlier. I think there is fragmentation, but I think there’s also curation, so consumers are curating what they’re allowing to come into their world. By choosing the podcast they’re listening to, subscribing to the channels they want to subscribe to, you know, cutting cords and all of these things right. I think I look at an example like Drew Barrymore. I mean, she just launched, you know, she is this influencer – mega influencer, I would say to a certain extent right. She has the video component that she’s doing. She just launched a print magazine – so I do think that like, this resurgence of like, vinyl came back. I know you love print, Kevin –
So did mullets – and mullets came back.
Everything does eventually.
So I do think it’ll be interesting to see how some of these influencers with this really curated content maybe influences that as well and how advertisers become, you know it becomes more sponsored content or things like that.
Well, we’re running out of time, and it just flew by, and I’ve enjoyed the conversation. I wish we would be able to do so much more. Maybe there’ll be a part two down the road, as we say. So thank you, Heather, thank you, Joanna. We’re going to end with what I call the media minute. It actually took more than a minute last time that we did this, so we’ll see how this goes. There’s no right or wrong, and there’s two of you. So, I’m going to set this up. Heather, you can answer first. Joanna, you can answer second for each question. How many streaming services do you have in your home?
We have, I think seven as well. I was trying to add it up in my head. We may have nine with my husband’s.
That one is always funny because people have to stop and think where it was like before, yeah, “Hey! Cable or satellite TV?” right? How many TVs do you have in your house? All right, Pandora or Spotify?
Neither. Is that terrible? I’m an Audible girl so, that wasn’t an option, but yeah.
But yeah, well, you just gave it. You can say like, C, none of the above. So you’re going on a trip. Waze or Google Maps?
Google Maps, okay.
TikTok? Fad or here to stay?
Here to stay.
Yeah, I think it’s here to stay but I think it’ll be rivaled by a lot of things.
There you go, yeah. You have five minutes to scroll a social media platform. What’s your go-to?
Are you team Apple, or are you team Facebook when it comes to user privacy issues.
I’m going to say Apple even though – yeah, Kevin, that was a trick question because you know how I feel about Apple.
Ad blockers. So ad blockers. Yes, give me the ad blocker or no bring on the ads?
No, bring on the ads.
Yeah, bring on the ads. Yeah, I have to. It’s research!
And last question –
It’s what we do, right?
I know well, there’s some guests that are like “even though I’m in the industry I actually have an ad blocker.” I think last month’s guest Josh, actually said that and he was worried that he was going to get a call from his boss.
Last question. Best original series that you know right now on one of the platforms and what platform is it on? So like, watch whatever.
So right now, Virgin River on Netflix.
My wife’s on that one, yeah.
Loki. You know I love Marvel, and Loki did not disappoint.
So there’s a lot of content out there that we can watch. I think you know as a parent. We also want to limit how much time –
Setting a good example. Right, but great stuff. There’s no doubt we’re in an exciting time and as marketers, as those that are entrusted with, you know, a lot of dollars for our clients, I just want to encourage the viewers that are tuning in to be intentional with that and the trust that our clients are putting in because that’s really how we build authentic and meaningful relationships. Heather, thank you again. It’s been a pleasure.
It was wonderful seeing you, Heather!
So we’ll see you next time on FOREWORD with Kevin, thank you.
Let’s explore some questions.