Hispanic Consumers’ High Engagement and Purchasing Power. Interview with Univision’s Steve Mandala

When it comes to understanding the Hispanic consumer, Steve Mandala, is an expert. His work at both the local level as general sales manager at Telemundo’s KVEA-52 affiliate in Los Angeles to his current position at Univision as President of Advertising Sales and Marketing, Univision Communications, gives him a great perspective on how this coveted group reacts to media messaging. 

Recently, Univision completed a new engagement study using both Nielsen and comScore data that demonstrated how Univision connects with its viewers with both greater engagement and longer length of tune. To find out more, I asked him the following questions:

Charlene Weisler: What do you think is the reason for UCI’s longer length of tune vs. competitors?

Steve Mandala: There are two key factors:  Our content and our distribution platforms. The breadth of our portfolio in reaching Hispanics across TV, radio and digital – something that no media company has—is what sets us apart from our Spanish-language competitors. Additionally, Univision has more hours of regularly scheduled LIVE programming than any of the English-language networks, setting us apart from our English-language competitors.

Charlene Weisler: Is any specific program or programming genre driving this?  

Steve Mandala: We see extremely high tune-in and engagement for women in Daytime, even higher than in Prime. Sports is a key driver in delivering male viewers and we have more soccer than any other media company in the U.S.

Overall, our audiences are seeking big, live, events and entertainment content that culturally resonates.  Univision has a special connection and unparalleled trust with the Hispanic community. Our programming decisions are fueled not only by this connection, but also because that is what our audience expects from us. With all of our shows or events we foster pride in our culture, support of viewers’ daily lives and offer optimism towards the future that sets us apart from everyone else.

Charlene Weisler: How was data used to get your data results?  

Steve Mandala: We used Nielsen data for both television and radio and comScore for digital metrics. We looked at average month Total Day with average number of minutes consumed among Hispanics for all measured networks, radio stations, and digital properties within each media company’s portfolio.

Charlene Weisler: How does it break out by age and gender?

Steve Mandala: The same compelling story is evident for Adults 18-34, 18-49 and 18+. This indicates that our audiences’ loyalty transcends all age segments.

Charlene Weisler: What do you think is the reason for the high level of ad effectiveness for UCI?

Steve Mandala: We justify our ad effectiveness success in two dimensions; Viewing Behavior and Consumer Behavior.

With Viewing Behavior, the vast majority of our TV viewers consume our content live, which leads to top levels of ad engagement. Our viewers continue watching their programs even during commercials, with a commercial retention of over 90 percent.  Also, we know Hispanics are receptive to advertising than non-Hispanics– Hispanics are 19% more likely to agree that “Advertising helps me to keep up-to-date about products and services that I need or would like to have.” (MRI)
With Consumer Behavior, ads that run on Spanish-language consistently outperform English-language ads on recall and likeability among Hispanics.  In 2017 alone, we saw that Spanish-language ads significantly outperformed English-language ads on all metrics. Spanish-language ads likeability indexed 240 vs English-language ads. We believe the key to Spanish-language ads’ over performance is language.  Even with global campaigns (ads that are exactly the same in Spanish-language vs English-language and the only difference is language) we see Spanish-language ads consistently performing better on all metrics vs English-language ads. Additionally, recent studies show that audiences exposed to contextually targeted ads have a higher tendency to respond favorably, especially within the concepts of language and culture targeting.

Charlene Weisler: How does ad effectiveness impact the consumer journey and purchasing?
Steve Mandala: Creative continues to be the largest differentiator for campaign performance and positive ROIs. A good creative helps cut through the clutter, drives clarity, delivers a message to consumers and leads to higher purchase intent and incremental sales. A good Spanish-language creative speaks to the consumer in culture and in-language, establishes a dialogue, develops narrative storylines, leverages culturally-relevant humor and uses relatable characters in a familiar setting. Our source for this information comes from Nielsen’s “The Secrets to Spanish Language TV ROI” study.

Charlene Weisler: How does the Hispanic audience compare to Total U.S. audiences in terms of loyalty and purchasing?

Steve Mandala: From a study conducted in partnership Acosta, we discovered that Hispanic shoppers continue to make more store trips than the Total U.S. shoppers. We also saw that Hispanic shoppers and Total U.S. shoppers on average are spending basically the same, however, the Hispanic shopper with kids is out pacing both groups in monthly spend. This increased trip frequency and spend provide retailers and brand marketers with more opportunities to engage with Hispanic shoppers.

In terms of loyalty, when asking Hispanic buyers what factors were most important in deciding which brand to buy, usually brand was the most important reason for brand selection, indicating that many are brand loyal buyers across a diverse range of categories.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com


Programmatic Advertising and AI: Insight From MediaPost’s Marketing AI Conference

Among the various means of buying media content, programmatic launched as one of the few forms that fully embraced advancing technology—and it’s artificial intelligence (AI) that’s helping to bring about that profound technological change.

At MediaPost’s recent Marketing AI conference held in Manhattan, media experts explored the impact that this protocol will have on buying, selling, agencies, commerce, customer experience, and marketing. Here’s insight from some of the featured speakers.

The Changing World of Media Buying
While AI has been in the conversation for a while, “the hype is starting to get real,” according to Ross Fadner, director of event programming at MediaPost. “There are more efficient products, and questions are arising as to how AI is being applied and what it means.”

There is talk that technology like machine learning and AI will replace humans in a variety of media jobs, but author Ken Auletta questions whether that is really true. Ultimately, “you have to rely on humans and not on machines,” he stated.

Trust is a large factor in how we balance the use of targeting data and the legacy...

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


A Behavioral Way to Look at Search with The Intent Lab. Interview with Performics’ Esteban Ribero

According to Esteban Ribero, Senior Vice President, Planning and Insights, Performics, “search has moved far beyond the traditional search bar.  While consumers still ‘search and click,’ search is no longer a channel; it’s a behavior.”   

Further, search has gone beyond just plain text. “People are searching on their voice-activated assistants like Alexa; they’re searching via visual cues on channels like Pinterest.” His advice for marketers is to “shift the thinking around search from a channel to a behavior,” so search becomes a behavioral tool that gives great insights in consumer intentions within exact moments.  

To better understand the behavioral impact of search, Performics partnered with Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications to launch the Intent Lab. Their latest study, in collaboration with Microsoft, leverages searcher intent from the scale of the Bing Search network.

Charlene Weisler: The Intent Lab’s latest study found that search query language can reveal behavioral insights into purchase intent. What were the key findings and any surprises for you?

Esteban Ribero: The level of concreteness of the language in the search queries is a good proxy for the level of concreteness of the mindset that consumers are in, and the psychological distance they are at from accomplishing their goal. For instance, we found that searchers who are “browsing” (long distance from goal) are 20% more likely to click on search results the emphasize abstract words, like “best,” while searchers with actual buying goals are 180% more likely to click on search results that emphasize concrete words, like “shop.”  Searchers who used concrete queries were also 135% more likely to click on retailer search results, where they could buy in that moment.

The idea that consumers signal their intent to purchase with their search queries is not surprising, but the ability to infer the mindset of the consumer based on the level of concreteness of the search query is a novel idea. This is allowing us to innovate, creating interesting methodologies and tools to personalize experiences not just to who you are but to what is in your mind and the level of concreteness/abstractness your mindset is at that particular moment. That is the next frontier of personalization. And, we have proved that it works: When we ran a test and served consumers ads that matched their mindsets, we saw an increase in performance. For example, when a consumer searched for an abstract term such as “best” and was shown an abstract (vs. a concrete) ad, the consumer was 17% more likely to click on the ad. 

Charlene Weisler: Can you include these findings into an attribution model?

Esteban Ribero: We’re exploring new applications of the intent scoring algorithm and attribution could be one. I have always believed in the assistive value of top-of-the-funnel keywords. Our learnings validate the need to serve relevant experiences at any point in consumers’ journey and the intent scoring algorithm could potentially become a set of weights in an attribution model, so the assistive value of the different keywords used at different stages in the journey can be properly captured.

Charlene Weisler: What learnings can brands take from the study to create ads and experiences that drive more performance?

Esteban Ribero: When we think about search ads it is easy to think just about keywords. We found that there is a way to bring to life the human being behind those keywords and design better experiences that match people’s intentions so we can really be assistive to them and extract value in the process. 

Charlene Weisler: Do you think that, as one does search on Google for example, that the suggested search terms they push modifies behavior? If so, how? And then how do you model for that?

Esteban Ribero: People turn to search engines with clear intentions. They’re looking for guidance; they’re looking to explore and get inspired, they’re also looking for specific details as they evaluate their options, and of course, they’re there to take action such as buying, signing up for a service, find a coupon, get directions, etc. As long as the results are useful and assistive to the searcher, they will influence behavior because providing relevant results will help them do what they want. It comes down to personalizing the experience by matching content to people’s intentions and the mindset they’re in at that particular moment.

There is considerable research in psychology that shows that the closer we are to accomplishing a goal, the more concrete our minds become and the more attuned we are to specific and concrete information. Our research proves that we can identify the mindset that consumers are in by analyzing the level of concreteness of the language they use in the search query. We can increase the performance of our clients’ search ads if we match the level of concreteness of the ad to that of the mindset of the consumer at that moment. We have developed an intent scoring algorithm to do that so we can provide optimized experiences at scale.

Charlene Weisler: What are your next steps in this area of research?

Esteban Ribero: We’re currently exploring ways to investigate this topic beyond the traditional search engine to further embrace the idea of search as a behavior, not just a channel.

This article first appeared on www.MediaVillage.com


Consumer Experience Innovations: Takeaways from PSFK’s CXI 2018 Conference

If you’re looking for innovations in consumer marketing, PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference has proved to be, for me, one of the most forward-thinking conferences around. Speakers from a range of industries share their insights about the consumer experience, the key element of marketing that drives engagement, sales, and, ultimately, ROI.

Piers Fawkes, founder and editor in chief of PSFK, has made it a point of choosing speakers who “think differently from the assumed groupthink.” He noted that it’s important to have a diverse discussion around issues like privacy, security, news, and trust, and to look at the future in a more practical way. By understanding how brands and industries can impact the consumer experience, marketers can better formulate stories that truly understand and map the consumer journey.
Here’s what’s on the horizon.

The Impact of GDPR, AI, and Blockchain
Consumer experience innovations are emerging as a potent force in driving success. The advent of privacy legislation like GDPR, immersive artificial intelligence technology, and blockchain transparency for transactions will all have an impact on the level of that experience.

When it comes to privacy, Fawkes believes the GDPR legislation will first impact European...

Read the full article at the Videa blog.

Do We Really Need Blockchain in Media?

The word on everyone’s lips today has to be blockchain. Bloomberg Businessweek writes about its use in farm-to-table tracking for food safety. In brand marketing, we talk about how blockchain in media can be used in attribution to better gauge ROI. However an industry uses it, blockchain’s lofty promise is sure to change the buy-sell dynamic.

The recent MediaPost Blockchain Marketing Forum, held in Manhattan, outlined the promise and the perils of this protocol technology, how it impacts the media supply chain, how it offers verifiability, and how it might streamline logistics. Professionals across the industry offer their insight on the protocol.

The Advantages of Blockchain
Although definitions vary, Rolfe William Swinton, cofounder and director of data assets at GfK, describes the blockchain protocol as an open global infrastructure that offers a decentralized, self-owned, and self-controlled public ledger. It allows complete user access to the entire chain and is transacted in cryptocurrency. Therefore, it provides a tamper-proof method of global distribution that bypasses traditional intermediaries...

Read the full article at the Videa blog.


Military-Grade Ad Verification. Interview with Daniel Avital, CSO CHEQ

With all of the industry talk about ad verification, it may take a former Israeli intelligence officer to develop a military-grade protocol to detect and prevent ad fraud. 

CHEQ, founded by Guy Tytunovich, is positioning itself as “a cyber-security company looking to replace traditional ad-verification platforms with a fully autonomous and pre-emptive solution.” It is certainly an area of importance for agencies and advertisers who are concerned about brand safety, ad viewability and fraud prevention.

I sat down with CHEQ’s Chief Strategy Officer, Daniel Avital, to find out more:

Charlene Weisler: How does CHEQ prevent ad fraud?

Daniel Avital: Every time a user is about to be served an ad, our system rapidly analyzes almost 700 parameters and sets multiple honeypots (bot traps) to determine the authenticity of that user and ensure that only human traffic gets served. The name of the game is speed – after analyzing all of that data and making a decision, we need to prevent that impression from being acquired by our client. All of that needs to happen in record speed.

Charlene Weisler: Does it protect privacy?

Daniel Avital: Ultimately, our mission is to protect the digital ecosystem and privacy is a big part of that effort. To that end, we are fully compliant with the new GDPR regulations and have brought on board designated personnel to ensure that our privacy practices continue to be protective of user privacy, which we believe to be a basic right.

Charlene Weisler: How does CHEQ work in real time?

Daniel Avital: To enable real-time prevention, our engineering teams have had to continuously optimize our algorithms to ensure all our fraud prevention and brand-safety NLP (natural processing language) modules run simultaneously, cost-efficiently and at great speed. This allows CHEQ to make an accurate decision before an ad is ever served.

Charlene Weisler: Could it be said that it is in the programmatic space or works with programmatic in some form?

Daniel Avital: We cover all digital advertising environments, including programmatic, whether it be display or video - where we are introducing unique and cutting-edge capabilities to the industry.

Charlene Weisler: Can CHEQ be used for other media applications?

Daniel Avital: Absolutely. At this point in time, CHEQ’s focus is on transforming the ad-verification space (ad fraud, brands safety and viewability), but our ultimate goal is to help advertisers take back control of their digital media, a goal that transcends ad verification. Our R&D teams are developing exciting applications for our tech which will give advertisers new tools like Autonomous PR (crisis management, reacting to competitors, breaking stories).

Charlene Weisler: How does the technology work?

Daniel Avital: For fraud prevention, CHEQ's platform applies various proprietary modules to detect suspicious non-human activity, data discrepancies and behavioral anomalies. On the brand safety side, we apply advanced NLP (Natural Language Processing) modules to intelligently analyze content at page level and ensure advertisers only serve ads alongside brand-safe content.

Charlene Weisler: What advice would you give a digital advertiser?

Daniel Avital: Stress-test your ad-verification vendors and don’t blindly trust the accuracy of their measurement and reporting. Do not put up with a vendor who offers a “black-box” solution. Always ask them to provide you with raw data (flagged IP’s, flagged “unsafe” URL’s, traffic sources etc.) so that you can assess their work with an external party.

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see your part of the business going in the next 3-5 years?

Daniel Avital: We want to put the control back in the hands of advertisers. Today the hottest issues are brand safety, ad fraud and viewability but in the next few years we plan on transcending the verification space and launching innovative products which will help advertisers get an even stronger grip on their digital presence.

This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com

Optimism in the Face of Dramatic Change. ARF AUDIENCExSCIENCE Conference

For those of us who work in the media measurement space, the annual ARF measurement conference has always been a must-attend.  This year, topics ranged from the standardization of cross platform metrics, ad length, attribution, privacy and the uses of new technology like artificial intelligence to facilitate data insights. 

My impression is that measurement evolution is finally gaining traction with more collaboration between competing companies (Think: OpenAP), more efforts to create new standardized metrics and data labeling (CIMM and the IAB) and the end of business-as-usual constraints (ad lengths that vary from 6 seconds plus).

Three Big Trends
According to Scott McDonald, President and CEO, ARF, there are three major trends advancing in the industry. The first is “making progress with cross-platform audience measurement that is keeping up with technology and consumers—and if not, what the impediments are and how we can up our game.”

The second trend is breaking out of ad length constraints so as to more fully leverage platform and device viewing behaviors. The implementation of short-form ads, some as short as six seconds, is one possible solution. “But there are still questions around their effectiveness, how to best deploy them, and how they may affect the consumer’s frustration with ad clutter,” McDonald averred.

The third trend concerns privacy. “Marketing has been in a headlong race toward ever more precise targeting, fueled by the rise of big data, data analytics, and multi-touch attribution,” he noted. “Now, however, targeting is a risk with signs of consumer mistrust in how data is being used (from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its follow-on effects), and the continued impact of the rollout of GDPR, an EU law with global implications.” 

However, McDonald cannot predict how the concern over privacy will unfold, how it could impact the media ecosystem, or whether there will be regulatory restrictions on data-driven targeting. “The industry has to evaluate whether it has gone too far in its zeal for targeting – so much so as to diminish advertising ROI and damage relations with consumers,” he concluded.

Changing the Current Metrics to Better Measure Cross Platform
There are those who believe that it is time to find a new standard metric for media that goes beyond age and gender. There is so much useful data out there that can craft a more nuanced and targeted audience measurement that we only need to come together as an industry and craft a more appropriate cross platform metric. But, in reality, it is not that easy. 

For some, Nielsen is and will be the standard. Dave Morgan, CEO Simulmedia, believes that, “Nielsen will be the gold standard of TV measurement well into the future.” But, he expects an evolution with, “core panel ratings enhanced with much more granular measurements that capture much deeper characteristics of audiences reached at the person/impression level and also real attribution to the delivery of desired business outcomes.” He added that we are already seeing some of this enhanced measurement in the marketplace and he expects to see it become a very significant part of the measurement mix by the end of 2020.

For others, the reason why the industry moves slowly is that there are different crediting qualifiers for the same measurements on different platforms. Consensus on which rules should be used for all platforms is an important next step. Josh Chasin, Chief Research Officer, comScore explained that for Live TV/DVR/TV VOD and OOH, credit for the full minute is given based off of who has the plurality of seconds in a given minute. Linear Mobile and Computer has a 30-second qualifier where credit is given only after a full 30 seconds of viewing has occurred. Dynamic Mobile and Computer currently has no qualifier but the MRC standard is 2 seconds with 50% of the ad viewable. How can these be reconciled and equated?

Consumers Continue to Rule
“We’re seeing a huge shift in viewing habits,” said Dan Robbins, Roku’s head of ad research. “Recent research of our cord cutting users shows that 78 percent think cable is too expensive, 57 percent believe there are too many channels, while 80 percent still watch as much TV as they did before they cut the cord. Streaming has become mainstream.”

But Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal, believes in the power of television because it offers premium content that is an unbeatable draw for audiences and advertisers. All of this talk about the power of digital is a false narrative, she posited. When advertisers are enticed by cheap CPMs for lower quality content, they fail to understand “the relative value of content they are getting.”

Maybe it’s all semantics. For Megan Clarken, President, Watch, Nielsen, it is all video no matter what device is being used. She explained that “from a measurement perspective, our job is to find comparable measurement across video,” placing TV as “part of the digital industry.”

Despite the continuing upheaval and viewer erosion on certain platforms, “I am extremely optimistic about the future,” Yaccarino stated, and added, “We need to challenge legacy. It is impacting all of our businesses all around. Why are we afraid of change? We have permission to change.” Change is certainly in the air. Now it is time to take a big breath and move decisively forward.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com