Attribution Challenge #2: Planning Based on the Lowest Price

by Calum Smeaton on Sep 8, 2015 8:30:00 PM Digital Marketing, DRTV

Planning_Based_on_the_Lowest_Price-412493-editedLast month, I talked about relying too much on ratings data as part of the blog series, The 5 Biggest Challenges in TV Attribution. Now let's shift gears and focus on planning based on the lowest price.

For years, TV agencies have negotiated discounted rates and value-add for clients. You’d know these firms were doing a good job for your company by negotiating a reduced CPM (cost per mille). And while getting a discount is great, does it mean anything if the advertising is not achieving the desired objectives?

Traditionally, TV media buying has been buying an untargeted, mass audience—not an individual, but rather a large number of eyeballs. You’re buying gender and age group and that’s about it. When advertisers set success metrics for TV, they are often around these gross-rating points (GPRs) and have nothing to do with response. Compare this to digital media, where audiences are highly identified, targeted and measured, this is yet another reason why I refer to TV advertising as being stuck in the Dark Ages. 

Rather than relying on CPM, advertisers need to start planning and optimizing their campaigns based on attributable CPS (cost per sale). This encompasses not just a target audience, but what drives results within that audience. It measures advertising success based on the actions generated.  

Think about it this way: the same TV show that attracts an advertiser’s ideal demographic could perform very differently depending on day, time, or network. Planning based on CPM might get you in front of that audience, but planning based on CPS will get you in front of the right people within that group at the most optimal time for response.  

With attributable CPS, the way you buy media might not change, but you can buy more efficiently by getting a better sense of what’s working and what’s not in real time. This type of data allows you to attribute back to the appropriate networks and dayparts that are driving traffic. Having a better understanding of your CPS enables you to optimize your spend by buying the right things.   

What's more, leveraging a combination of real-time and historic performance data (much of which advertisers are already sitting on) puts you in front of your target demographic at a time when they are most likely to respond.

Next time, I will touch on Attribution Challenge #3: Waiting Weeks/Months to Analyze TV Performance.

Check out my previous posts from the series…

* Attribution Challenge #1: Relying Too Much on Ratings Data

* The 5 Biggest Challenges in TV Attribution

Photo by renjith krishnan/

Calum Smeaton is CEO of TVSquared.

Calum Smeaton's blog
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