Tejinder Gill
Guest Article

The great re-evaluation: Time to adopt new approach to digital advertising

The general manager of The Trade Desk India says it is time to break away from traditional metrics.

The two years of the pandemic has propelled us to re-evaluate many things. One of the most prominent shift I’ve seen is how our clients have become much more deliberate with every advertising dollar. In this great re-evaluation, there is more scrutiny than ever on marketers to prove ROI on their activity.

Metrics such as viewability, clicks, and video completions, which have traditionally been used to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns are no longer adequate. An increasing number of marketers are acknowledging the importance of measuring their media investments with tangible, real-world business outcomes. This change in outlook comes at a time when third-party cookies are on their way out.

Connected TV (CTV), one of the fastest-growing advertising channels, does not use cookies at all. And in view of multiple advertising options available to marketers, it is clear that measurement needs to be cross-channel. Unlike cookies that exist primarily on Chrome, we will need new identity approaches that work across different media channels, content formats and platforms. Today’s technology have enabled new levels of precision and campaign optimization. It is now time to break away from traditional metrics and adopt a new approach to digital advertising, one that embraces data-driven advertising with measurement that matters.

  1. Adopt identity solutions that support cross-channel measurement

As marketers accelerate their digital ad spend rapidly, they have also begun looking for alternatives beyond the so-called “walled gardens.” Within the walled gardens, advertisers don’t have much say in the content they support. Moreover, they get very little feedback on how their ads perform. Understandably, marketers are looking for alternatives that offer greater transparency and control.

As such, brands are turning to the open internet, where Indian consumers are spending up to 70 percent of their media consumption time. With consumers embracing a wide range of digital channels, including the shift en masse to streaming OTT, marketers are exploring opportunities to grab eyeballs on the thriving open internet.

Besides reaching and engaging audiences on these rapidly growing channels, brand marketers want the ability to measure and compare ad performance across all of these channels. They want to do this with objectivity and precision, have the flexibility to change campaigns midway, as well as manage ad frequency across channels and devices. For this, they will need a common identifier that works across advertising channels including mobile, audio, browsers, OTT/TV apps and devices.

Platform-independent universal IDs such as the open-sourced Unified ID 2.0 set the stage for such cross-channel measurement. Unlike third-party cookies which operate primarily on the Chrome browser, Unified ID 2.0 is a new approach to identity that reflects the contemporary digital marketplace, addressing advertisers’ need to optimise campaigns and control ad frequency across multiple digital channels. It also gives marketers a common currency for digital advertising, while enabling greater transparency and control for consumers over their own data.

  1. Let business outcomes determine the success of your campaign

Studies suggest that almost 78 percent of the digital marketers in India measure digital ROI long before the sales cycle has concluded. Only three percent measure ROI over a period of six months or longer. This indicates that most marketers are probably not measuring ROI at all. Instead, they are merely measuring KPIs such as clicks and views, which aren’t truly a yardstick for business outcomes. If marketers wish to measure success of their advertising campaigns in a meaningful way, they should ask themselves how their ad spend has contributed to business growth.

Today, marketers are getting closer to the holy grail of marketing – the ability to connect advertising spend to actual business outcomes such as shopper data. Leveraging data from leading retailers and other key data providers, who cover metrics such as auto dealership visits, ticket sales, and more, Indian marketers can connect their campaign performance to very precise consumer actions.

Marketers in sectors such as entertainment, real estate, automotive, FMCG, fashion, and retail, for instance, can use Lifesight’s measurement solution on The Trade Desk platform to measure in-store footfalls as a result of their digital campaigns. For brands in the travel and hospitality sectors, this solution enables the measurement of the true impact of leisure packages.

  1. Leverage CTV for data-driven measurement

The popularity of streaming content in India has made CTV one of the fastest growing advertising channels. CTV is expected to reach over 40 million Indian homes by the year 2025, as reported by Ernst & Young. Importantly, CTV enables marketers to combine premium advertising experiences with the hallmark benefits of programmatic advertising such as reach and measurement.

With CTV, advertisers can not only achieve incremental reach beyond their linear TV advertising buys, but also re-target consumers in a high-quality viewing environment and measure the full impact of their ads in real-time. What’s more, they can map the performance of CTV campaigns against other channels and compare ad opportunities across channels.

It is important to note that while much of consumer TV viewership has shifted to streaming platforms, the advertising spend has yet to fully catch up. We have only scratched the surface of the transformation of TV and what it means for advertisers in India.

In this decade, we will see digital innovation at an unprecedented pace. From a marketing and advertising standpoint, we will have the tools and the means to do many things that weren’t possible before. We can create, identify, and capitalize on new opportunities for maximizing ROI if only we invest in new ways of thinking about it.

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