Does Data and Creative Mix? Yes, According to Craig Elimeliah of VMLY&R

In a media world awash with data, one might be forgiven for thinking there is less space for creativity. But that would be a wrong assumption. 

In fact, according to Craig Elimeliah, Executive Director Experience, VMLY&R agency, “Data is part of our creative palate. It is fuel that helps drive the creative process. Data helps to unearth deeper human insights that allow us to create more meaningful and valuable connections with our audiences.”

As someone with both a creative and data-driven background, I was interested in learning more:

Charlene Weisler: Do you think media executives are any less creative today - relying more on computing and data for decisions?

Craig Elimeliah: Not at all! As a matter of fact, we need to be even more creative than ever. Computing and data have only widened the canvas we work on. We are now forced to communicate in a highly fragmented world where people have unfortunately sequestered themselves inside of very hard to penetrate bubbles. Computing and data are the fuel and the rocket we need to deliver those messages to the right people with speed and precision. 

Weisler: How do you foster creativity in the various life stages?

Elimeliah: You have to expose yourself to as much culture as possible. Become completely multifarious, a cultural Zelig of sorts. When you can make yourself a vessel that absorbs everything happening around you – looking past the surface to really tap into the human motivation behind our actions – only then can you begin applying the same sort of logic and nuance in how you engage people creatively. Data helps us navigate this massive landscape strategically and efficiently. 

Weisler: How can data best be leveraged in crafting creativity?

Elimeliah: Data is often looked at in a very scientific and academic way – this is a symptom of data having been traditionally owned by those domains. But I believe we now live in a world where data is less binary. Creative people are using data so much more fluidly and naturally; they are using data in creative ways that enable them to mine more jewels from it, and use it as a medium to engage and communicate. Data is sexier than most people give it credit for being.

Weisler: What are the new technologies which can stimulate the creativity of copywriters and art directors?

Elimeliah: A.I. is no longer this inaccessible thing. It’s built into everything. Phone cameras are a really interesting creative tool. There is so much intelligence baked into the tech, and a single picture and the responses it elicits can unlock volumes of data and creative inspiration when you push the tools to really perform. Stimulation is all around us. I think technology is also our biggest barrier for creativity because people have become ensnared inside of insulated pockets and tend to only see things that reinforce their own views. Technology needs to be both harnessed and broken in order to truly gain creative power from it. 

Weisler: What role does neuroscience play in this?

Elimeliah: I believe neuroscience was invented because humans need a scientific explication for everything. In this case we want to be able to explain creativity. There are no tools to truly measure our capacity to generate ideas that are unique and original, ideas that break conventions and change the world. Creativity is the ability to tap into the entirety of your experiences, all at once, and to be able to identify and pull out feelings and emotions that are closely associated with the task at hand as a starting off point. An idea. Not sure science can contain that.

Weisler: How does one identify the targets’ need states leads to “true meaning pivot points” where creativity can best be applied? What are the need states?

Elimeliah: Love this question!  We often fall into the trap of trying to force a journey or a path onto our “target” (I don’t like calling people targets).  We try and look at how people really behave and then try to find ways to be helpful in moments that give us the best opportunity to do so. People are inundated with so many things at once and our job is to be empathic with how we engage them. No one is going to “pivot” (hate that word too), they will however recognize when a brand is being helpful and adding value to their lives and will respond in kind to that gesture if it is made to the right person, in the right place and at the right time. Disruption and intrusion are obnoxious and rude unless a person has given explicit consent that that is how they want to be engaged. It’s a very delicate process.  There is no silver bullet. 

Weisler: Talk more about Dynamic Creative – based on microsecond by microsecond responses. How can it be  monitored, measured and exploited?

Elimeliah: Dynamic Creative is a message that is distributed at an atomic level using data and targeting. I’m not a huge fan of banners and the like, but I do appreciate their abilities to get messages out there. What really excites me is the idea of sequential storytelling. The ability to leverage dynamic creative, along with data and targeting, to tell a story to many different audiences, using frequency and creative and unique formats that work in combination over many channels. Personalization really helps to increase engagement.

This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com


Better Customer Targeting Through Greater Understanding

Image result for linda dupreeLinda Dupree, CEO of Nielsen Catalina Solutions, has seen it all, research-wise from, as she noted, “Agency, advertiser and then research supplier.” Dupree and Chief Research Officer, Leslie Wood, have worked together for a long time and together they are a formidable force in the field of sales data analytics

Now, as Nielsen Catalina is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary, they have doubled down with efforts to further improve the measurement of CPG purchasing through the consumer funnel.

Measuring CPG on a More Sophisticated Level
Dupree believes that, “In an environment that is increasingly focused on outcomes, NCS is the sweet spot in the CPG market.” While her company initially started in the traditional forms of audience measurement, “increasingly we do targeting, optimization, and eventually we will move more into predictive measurement (applications).”

For Wood, who has been with NCS for eight years, “the company started with overall measurement and targeting and recognizing from the first, the incredible capacity and value of the data.” She added that even years ago, there were multiple sources for every piece of data which made it very useful to help track the consumer intent and journey. And with some of those sources of data overlapping, it was also possible to verify the data veracity. Some of the data comes from panels, some from set top boxes, some from shopping and purchasing data, some from outside suppliers of data and some from Nielsen. “These layers give you the understanding of what the biases are and the things that you don’t do well,” she explained and added, “and that has all formed a canvas which gave us the ability to go out and create so much richer understanding into how advertising works.”

New Products and Services
A range of services were established around all of this research because, as Dupree explained, “the quality of the underlying data resulted in a richness of insights derived from the data.” Technology has also added new tools to examine the data in new ways. “Data guides everything we do,” explained Wood. 

 Some of the new tools released from NCS include Slm, the Sales Lift Metric, which is delivered weekly for a campaign, “so that changes can be made in-flight,” Wood noted. “It gives us the ability to go in and look at what is going on across different tactics all at the same time,” and compare tactics to see what is and what is not working and then re-allocate. The ability to examine campaign efficiency to potentially deploy dynamic ad insertion gives Slm added value to advertisers.
A Changing Marketplace
“The market is looking for faster and better,” Dupree explained. Her team is focusing on that mandate as well as “growth in CPG in a world where consumers have a choice. Twenty years ago in CPG, there used to be about 7,000 items in a grocery store and now, 20 years later, there are about 50,000. (This is because) the types of variety (of consumer products) have changed so much.” This has resulted in much more competition in the CPG space. Marketers need to be sure that their money is being spent wisely and efficiently and results in sales impact.

“There is also an abundance of channels in the media world,” Dupree continued, “the shift in OTT and Linear and Addressable and VOD as well as other traditional channels like magazines and radio, we are awash in choice and that has been important for us to understand and measure.”
What Resonates in CPG
There are some challenges for CPG marketers in this new media environment and some are more focused on price rather than efficiency. But to Wood, this is not a trend across the board. “A lot of the stories about spending less,” Wood began, “may not be from national advertisers. There is a lot of spending from tiny brands where the budgets are very low. When you look at budgets of over a million dollars, it is a different story.”

According to Wood, the creative matters a lot in a campaign. But, as she explained, “The creative is the starting point. We are also seeing that the importance of the media decisions has increased a lot over the last few years.”  And Dupree noted,” There are also so many more levers to pull.” Media has gained in importance especially in regard to targeting. An advertiser would want to target brand loyalists but should also consider targeting non-users of a certain brand as well as users of a competitive brand. This will not only expand the potential customer base, it will also help to build the brand over time. “When you talk about the brand promise,” Wood stated, “it speaks to the essence of the brand and what the brand stands for. The interplay of media with targeting creative and how those people come together has been some of the richest findings we have had.”

Personalization is another big consideration so that the brands can, “meet the consumer where they are,” concluded Dupree, “especially through ad versioning.” All in all, the confluence of data driven advertising within the CPG world is resulting in not only better targeting of consumers but also a greater understanding of their needs, wants and concerns.  For Dupree, “We feel that we are in more of a dialogue with consumers and it is a much more personalized experience,” and that should greatly improve efficiencies by reaching consumers at the right time, in the right place and with the right messaging.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com


TV Measurement in a Digital World. Let’s Discuss

In a highly fragmented media world, not only does the consumer feel at the cutting edge of media consumption, so does media measurement and attribution. How does the industry keep up? This dilemma was deconstructed at the Data Conference, part of TV Week NYC.

What is the Measurement Solution?
In searching for the solution to cross platform media measurement, the panel essentially described the problems in reaching a solution. Paul Lefort, Senior Vice President, Nielsen, noted, “No one solution will work in the long term.” But he believes that comparable metrics matter. “The interesting push in the past few months is the impressions-based approach,” he stated. “Impressions remove friction in process. If we only use ratings then we lose portions of our audience.”

For Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, CBS, a hybrid approach is the best way to go with, “a combination of panel and other data.” But, she noted, there is still the issue of walled gardens. “What do you do with all of that data that sits outside?” she asked. “We need a holistic view because the market doesn’t care about walls or silos of data. Advertisers want the full picture.” The barrier to a holistic solution is a not technical one, she added, “It is will or leadership. We need to think bigger and have more cooperation. We need a fluid ecosystem. The tech easy but getting it done not easy.”

What About the Role of Panels?
Frank Comerford, Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations, NBCU Owned Television Stations, listed a range of challenges. “Is a small panel accurately reflecting the audience we have?” he asked. “Is a big dataset reflecting our audience?” He explained that that if people aren’t in the right places in the data set, it will not produce the right information. In addition, “with a big data sample, there are walled gardens that are marking their own homework.”

Panels have both advantages and shortcomings. “Panels provide fundamental source of truth,” noted Subramanyam. “It allow customers and clients understand the households from which it is derived. It is also a source of diversity measurement and ensures an exact or accurate representation of those audiences. I believe in the fundamental need of panel to give us those things. But we also need the scale and stability of big data sets.”

“Panels can’t strive for behavioral but can strive for the demographic,” added Comerford.

Who Leads the Charge?
When it comes to deciding what is the most effective measurement and metric, who has the last word? 

Lefort believes that it is ultimately up to the advertiser, “if the advertiser is happy about what they have spent to get their results.” The good news is, “TV and digital are not as far apart as we pretend it is.”  They are complementary. “It is not TV versus Digital.”

Subramanyam concurred, “We are here to service the marketer and we need a healthy transparent market. There are lots of initiatives at work and a combination of them will lead to a new standard.” But, she added, “Consensus in standardization across media is essential. And people have to get comfortable in getting their data out there.”

Experimentation is Key
Measurement solutions should be a part of tracking attribution and there is a lot of experimentation going on in this area. At CBS, Subramanyam noted that, “We start by experimenting on ourselves and then offer the solutions to our marketers. Attribution, specifically in digital, is still in the early stages. It tends to be versions of last click. But there are lots of experiments.”

For Comerford the local markets tried a range of different attribution experiments with a “small sample on the buy in the local market. We track and see. We can prove that an ad that runs on TV is effective and multiplies the effect of local advertising. The last click did not necessarily get the sale but it might be the execution of sale. We have to see what led to that.”

The overall consensus is that the industry is now working together to find solutions. “The good news is that we are all talking,” concluded Subramanyam. All this results in greater cooperation and, “robust and positive discussion.”

 This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com

Comscore’s Alexander Feldman Reveals How ACR is Key in Cross Platform Measurement

While Comscore has traveled a hard road over the past few years, it appears to be getting back on solid footing. The company’s recent product moves across its business units have been focused in advanced television in order to round out the company’s cross platform offering. As part of that strategic move, Comscore is using automatic content recognition technology (ACR) technology from Inscape to successfully link disparate data points into a viable cross platform measurement capability.
Comscore’s Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Alexander Feldman, sat down with TV[R]EV and detailed his company’s efforts in solving one of the media’s most challenging problems: Ensuring that every impression is counted no matter where, when or how it is viewed. 
Charlene Weisler (CW): Why use ACR?
Alexander Feldman (AF): There are three interesting things about ACR. First is the Speed with which you can collect data. Historically, data was delivered through more manual means which would take weeks to deliver. With ACR we receive the data within days so we can deliver insights during a campaign and much faster to clients. And when you are able to deliver insights during a campaign, you are able to apply more dynamic creative optimization to discern what is working and what is not. Second is Accuracy. In other forms of data collection there are gaps and missing data, sometimes caused by human error in coding or from tags dropping off in certain environments. The third is Automation. Think of ACR as Shazam. It automatically finds content or advertising that it knows it is looking for because it is in the foundational data set or database.
CW: How is Comscore using Inscape’s ACR?
AF: The most popular way we are using ACR currently is in measurement such as in attribution. The idea is to prove out campaign efficacy, tune-in or return on investment by essentially closing that loop between whether that person saw a particular piece of content or ad and then finding that same individual within our panel. We have had success with then serving those individuals ads to gauge brand metrics within the purchase funnel. Is that particular piece of creative moving the top of the funnel or lower parts of the funnel?
CW: Do you re-sell or re-package the data? Is it integrated into any product offerings?
AF: We are not allowed to re-sell the data, but the strength of it as it pertains to Comscore is that when we ingest the ACR data we are able to fuse it with other assets. Comscore has tremendous scale, strong relationships and legacy clients. We are able to leverage ACR data within that framework and integrate that into existing products. Our Brand Survey Lift (BSL) is one product where we are using ACR data. The other kind of obvious use cases are in the planning space where we measure reach and frequency.
CW: What types of data and metrics are you using?
AF: Not to get too granular but content start time, duration, number of aggregate households reached, IP addresses, titles, are all tied back to individuals in our panel through a third party blind match. But there is a whole slew of granular data that we get from Inscape’s ACR insights.
CW: What successes have you realized from the data?
AF: I just got back from a conference where we highlighted a piece of new business that we closed with a large CPG brand that measured multiple campaigns using ACR data. We looked at the different types of creative running on many different networks and tied that back to our digital panel. Some of the findings that I thought were really compelling and maybe not-so-obvious to the client were that no single platform was more impactful than a comprehensive cross platform campaign. We saw that when a campaign ran across platforms, it generated lifts of +36% more than any individual platform.
The second thing we measured and presented was that 50% of the campaigns had one creative that was six times more impactful than all other creatives, regardless of platform. So that goes back to the power of ACR – we were able to find through our Brand Survey Lift product that there is one creative that typically accounts for a significant amount of the lift that you see in the campaign. Identifying that creative is critical during the campaign while you have the opportunity to prove it or switch it out.
Thirdly, we found that TV or TV-like platforms have the strongest synergy with social. The data point that we highlighted in that project was that social / TV delivery was 50% more effective in influencing purchase intent and awareness than other media mixes.
CW: How do you measure client success?
AF: Client success can be defined by the KPIs they are trying to meet, depending on where they are in the funnel. From my perspective, we are successful when we are providing incremental value to the client and helping them solve business decisions. For example, what does a conversion look like? Is it a visitation to a site, an RFI, or a visit to a location? The power of ACR is when it is combined with Comscore data processes and logic that normalize and standardize consumer viewing data and help us to measure it faster.
CW: What marketing initiatives does ACR data support for Comscore?
AF: Activation is a natural use case with that data. For example, a CPG client has brands in multiple different markets and while the initial project was U.S. based, we were able to project the potential for international expansion and activation. 
CW: What does Inscape ACR data facilitate or improve?
AF: They help plug gaps in the connected TV space which is an emerging area and is growing. Consumers are adopting connected TVs quickly. It adds an extra layer of information into our models and logic. So they are improving the overall data sets that we have by providing us with information that we never had. Comscore has historically integrated data from mobile, desktop, set top boxes. This is yet another form of device that is now probably the fastest growing form of TV or TV-like consumption. Inscape helps us increase our strengths beyond premium video and helps us amplify that and complete our offerings. 

This article first appeared in TVREV.


Navigating a Brave New Measurement World with Nielsen’s Karthik Rao

Although it sounds more like science fiction, we are now in a world where consumers can expand time. Well, at least in terms of overall hours of media usage. With more media platforms and only so many hours in a day, “consumers are spending more time overall on media,” explained Karthik Rao, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Nielsen Global Media. 

His keynote at the recent Data Conference at TV Week 2019 focused on the expansion of media options, how it impacts viewer behavior and Nielsen’s role in ensuring that media usage is measured, explained and acted upon correctly.

Consumer Media Usage is Growing Rapidly
Twenty-six years ago in 2003, U.S. adults spent an overall 50 hours a week on media – a combination of Radio, Live TV and TV Connected Devices and Digital Devices.  Ten years later, in 2013, it increased +18% to 59 hours and, just six years later in 2019, it ballooned +38% to 82 hours per week. The daily time spent from 2018 to 2019 grew +13% from 10:24 hours per day to 11:45 per day, combining nine different platforms. Does anyone ever sleep anymore?

Of course, with only so much time in a day, this impressive growth in usage means more multi-tasking is taking place as well as, Rao noted that we now have the ability to “access media when and where we might not have been able to before.” Easy access to content on, for example, a smartphone, enables someone to fill in the gaps of waiting time by engaging in content.

Enrich, Understand and Respect the Consumer
“Consumers are willing to expand time,” Rao noted, “because there are more choices.”  For Nielsen, that means that, “we have to fundamentally enrich, understand and respect the consumer experiences, with the biggest word being respect.” To Rao, this means not having the viewer, “going to every single platform and getting same damn ad over and over. It is disrespectful.” He added, “People can’t handle that many ads. They tune out.”

For Nielsen, there are five monetization opportunities for media spend including Tradition Reach Advertising through Linear, Targeted Advertising with Audience Buys, No Advertising such as with SVOD, Branded Integration such as Product Placement and Trade Marketing which hit $1 trillion globally. Measurement of these options must include the correct coverage, inclusion of all necessary data points and diversity representation of audience in order to measure total audience. And it must cover all platforms. “We look for next way that time can expand,” he stated. Nielsen’s role “is to organize all of that,” as well as understand the impact of reach and frequency, the next relevant metrics and track the consumer experience with multi-touch attribution to, “create a touch point and a metric between touch points.” The goal is simple - Measure total audience, Measure outcomes and Expand globally.

The Changing Nature of Media Measurement
In a business that has historically sold on GRPs based on age and gender, the move to impressions-based selling is a notable change. Nielsen, according to Rao, supports this move towards impressions. “Anything that helps seller and buyer make sense of their transactions,” he explained. But, “Consumer experiences are about people and impressions are not people. We need to recognize this. We want to raise the bar on what we are trying to solve and when you do, the role of each data point changes and you use it differently. Change is a good thing and we want to be a part of it,” he concluded.

Managing the torrent of data is as much of an art as a science. For Rao it has to begin with following the money. “Use it as roadmap,” he advised, “Things become clearer. Money begins with the advertisers.” From there, ask yourself, “What is the persona? What is the advertiser or brand trying to solve for?” In fact, he recommended that we focus on the roles that different dataset play in either depth or breath. “It is less about tech,” he noted, “What is the problem you are trying to solve? And what is the value of the data?”

As far as C3 is concerned, “it worked really well for a long time but it is a blunt metric. It doesn’t tell you what happened within any commercial pod. So it’s not great for engagement.”  But when you get down to the individual ad as you can do in digital, one gets closer to engagement.

Rao defended the use of panels. “Our conviction on the role of the panel is stronger now,” he said, “because of fragmentation. You have to understand the differences in platforms. If don’t get it right you can’t solve big data problems. So a truth set is most important. One media truth is the panel. We use it to ideate every piece of data.” Set top box, he admitted, can be used to enhance the panel because it plays into the dynamic of small and big data synergies. “Small data enriches big data. Big data expands small data. Don’t confuse relationship,” he advised.  

In short, the media ecosystem needs to, “move beyond a campaign-based view of the world.” In a world of the small and big glass screens, “the business model is not the same. But we need some common way to bring them together. That is how TV works,” he concluded, “It’s always on.” Maybe that is why we consumers don’t sleep anymore.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com