Attribution Challenge #4: Using a Static Baseline for Optimization

by Calum Smeaton on Nov 22, 2015 3:00:00 PM Digital Marketing, DRTV

Attribution_Challenge_4_Using_a_Static_Baseline_for_Optimization-738413-edited.jpgIn this series, we’ve discussed TV advertiser challenges around relying too much on ratings data, planning based on the lowest price, and waiting weeks or even months to analyze TV performance. Today, we’re going to dive a bit deeper and talk about “baselines.”

When I refer to baseline in this context, I mean the response activity that a company would have received regardless of advertising on TV. It’s essential to take the baseline into account otherwise TV will end up being unfairly credited with sales that came from elsewhere. Traditionally, an advertiser would build a baseline from historic data—looking typically looking at app downloads, website visits, phone calls, and SMS volumes prior to the campaign.

In theory, baselines are a great tool to measure and optimize TV campaigns. But there’s a problem with the baselines that most advertisers use today: they are static.

If your company is using a static baseline to determine TV ad performance, be very careful. Baselines are inherently dynamic and are impacted by a whole series of external forces. Rather than changing day-by-day or week-by-week, they change by the minute. Using historic data to calculate baselines leads to wildly inaccurate information and costly errors. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common practice for advertisers.   

Minute-by-minute baselines from same-day measurements can help advertisers identify how TV campaigns are performing in close-to-real time. There are analytical models available that continuously calibrate to create this type of dynamic baseline, giving advertisers the ability to see how TV is really working for them. We’re talking about same-day information on how a campaign is performing, which advertisers can use to proactively improve the performance of their TV spots (and increase ROI to boot).

In my last blog for this series, we’ll discuss changing the mindset of advertisers who think they can’t change a campaign while it’s on air. Not only are we going to squash that thinking … we’re going to bury it for good.

Photo by Naypong/

Calum Smeaton is CEO and Co-founder of TVSquared.

Calum Smeaton's blog
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