We’ve stopped what we are doing and creating your personalized BrandZ™ report, which will appear in your inbox soon.

Media- Improving ROI

Media: Improving ROI

Greater ROI requires adjusting for a more complex, fragmented media environment

Brands need to focus on strengthening in-campaign capabilities

Paul Cha

Head of Media and Digital

Kantar China


Digitalization has made the media environment more complex and fragmented than ever. Every day consumers spend enormous amount of time across multiple screens. They are bombarded with out-of-home messaging while being exposed to TV and traditional print. From the moment consumers wake up until they go to bed, they are constantly engaged with media for at least three reasons:

  1. Digital media channels have overtaken traditional channels, while traditional channels, like TV, have evolved to include Over-the-Top (OTT) options and addressable TV.

  1. Digital media itself is diversifying and fragmenting, not only with digital media channels (PC, mobile, OTT, etc.), but also with new ad formats across platforms.

  1. Publishers are introducing new monthly or quarterly products that can enhance experience or increase dwell time.

While the digital era has opened more opportunity for brands to engage with consumers, it has also increased and complicated a central challenge: to run precision marketing, driven by data and technology. Marketers must get the media mix right by reaching the right target audience at right moment, when the audience is most receptive, and present customized creative that provides a personalized brand experience.

To achieve greater ROI in this complex, fragmented media environment, marketers need to change the way they manage campaigns They must shift priorities and focus more on building stronger in-campaign capabilities and less on pre-campaign insight capabilities.

Improving operations

Meeting this challenge is possible, but it requires marketing operations that are integrated and synergistic, and capable of producing campaigns with goals that are clear and results are measurable. These elements are critical:

Integration All brand-building business units—from media, brand and marketing, insight and e-commerce—need to be integrated. That includes both message creation and delivery of the message across media platforms.

Synergy The synergistic impact will have a far better chance of directing attention and influencing brand association to deliver both short-term conversions and longer-term returns.

Measurement Achieving the right campaign objective, requires setting the right business goals and measuring them by the right metrics, not just observable behaviors like click for campaigns designed to build brand awareness, for example.

Focusing on activation

Precision marketing, driven by data and technology, has also changed how media activation should be managed. Currently, marketing is largely deployed through planning, launching, and learning cycles. In this wave of digital or fragmented channel marketing, however, this approach no longer seems the most effective way to practice media activation.

Instead, brands must now: (1) Focus Less on campaign planning and more on in-campaign optimization; and (2) Focus less on setting a high-level media strategy and more on building the operational capability required for campaign optimization.

What becomes more critical to drive the success, or higher campaign ROI, is largely determined by organizational capability to track campaign performance—targeting, creative, and media mix efficiency—against pre-defined campaign objectives. In addition to implementing real-time measurement systems, organizations must be able to convert trackable measurement into immediate and direct actions. That requires building a cohesive decision-making system across brands, media agencies, publishers, or ad-serving platforms.

Some marketers already acknowledged the importance of building real-time tracking and insight and they have invested in real-time campaign optimization systems. In fact, there are companies, like Kantar, that provide in-campaign measurement and insight services to brands (advertisers). These systems measure short-term conversions and long-term brand building KPIs against campaign objectives. Artificial intelligence analysis of the creative content and media mix has enabled brands to do better real-time campaign optimization.

Advertisers can benefit from these developments. However, some key problems remain. The biggest barrier that we foresee is the lack of connected intelligence that integrates and forms insights from all the data gained at myriad customer touchpoints. Connected intelligence will enable industry to achieve the ideal goal, which is to create a seamlessly immersive environment where brands and consumer interact more efficiently and meaningfully with each other. This final piece of the puzzle will be in place when all the parties involved in the industry—advertisers, publishers, media and AI agencies—collaborate to build a connected intelligence platform.