min read

In a crossmedia world, why are we still measuring audiences in silos?

by Pawel Gershkovich , 02.11.2017

Think about the consumer! Now picture her or him. You see a woman or man with a smartphone in their hand, a cappuccino in the other hand, walking through a sunny city wearing a white top and a denim jacket. The cappuccino the consumer bought in a local coffee store, the denim jacket was bought in a brick and mortar shop in the city, while the smartphone he bought a while ago on the internet. The consumer has a credit card, health insurance, he participates in the apparel store’s cashback program, he has a data plan with his smartphone carrier and he has the coffee shop’s loyalty card. Every single interaction that the consumer does leaves traces in the digital world for us to analyze.

A single customer view

Today the industry operates in isolated marketing ecosystems where audiences are defined by the departments where they belong. The consumer is observed from different angles and perspectives in separation. E.g. he can be a store visitor, he can be a website visitor, he can be part of a media planning target group, he can be a prospect that needs to be converted into a shopper, he can be the member of a loyalty program, etc. But the consumers don’t care about channels or touchpoints or digital KPIs. They are humans who only care about their experience – i.e. their experience with the brands: The denim jacket brand, the coffee house brand, the smartphone brand and if we want to provide a seamless experience across all touchpoints, we have to move away from these silos.

The siloed ecosystem is the most significant obstacle on the way to getting to a single customer view. Therefore, to get to a single consumer view, we need to integrate data from different data sources to harness its combined power and to develop profitable strategies. By saying “silos”, we don’t only mean data silos in terms of media channels, such as digital vs. traditional media. We also mean organizational silos – the integration of departments within companies who take care of different things for the same consumer.

Getting to a single customer view

Breaking down silos with a “scaled one-to-one impact”

Even if we are not able to predict the consumer’s behavior, we can try to understand it. To do so, we need data and we need science. We need to analyze the data traces that the consumers leave behind with a single consumer view and we need to innovate the metrics that we use to do that.

In the past media measurement was about reach and incremental reach across media channels. It was important to prove that the advertising had the desired reach within the desired target group with a certain frequency. Further, it was important to understand how different media channels complemented each other with regard to the campaign delivery and what the most efficient combination is.

Then the industry moved to measuring the impact of advertising – i.e. how it changed attitudes toward brands and how it drove product sales and thereby proving the return on investment of advertising.

Today we are moving into the next stage, which we call “Scaled one-to-one impact”.

Visualizing crossmedia consumer behaviour

Think 10 or 15 years back, when you had your local store where you would go several times per week. The shop owner knew about your product preferences, your socio-demographics, your wealth, your health problems, your relationship problems, your mortgage and many other things, based on conversations and observations. He had this information about you and about everyone else in the neighborhood, which gave him the opportunity to adjust his offering and assortment accordingly to yield the best profits. Today we are back to having the possibility of one-to-one impact based on the data traces that consumers leave in the digital world. Rather than planning advertising campaigns, we are orchestrating consumer journeys and the advertising delivery becomes consumer centric. We can again target each and every consumer to reach one-to-one impact, but this time at scale – “Scaled one-to-one impact”. The challenge is however to think crossmedia first and to break up silos with digital as the connector, as the data traces that the consumer leaves behind exist in the digital world.

GfK Crossmedia Visualizer

Integrating data from all sources in one platform, such as our Crossmedia Visualizer, allows us to connect the dots, to open up silos and support media planning, media buying and the post-hoc evaluation with metrics that matter. With these insights, you can identify your target audiences, determine the most relevant touchpoints to use to reach them and understand their media consumption and usage of digital devices to optimize your marketing strategy and media mix.

If everyone is convinced about taking a crossmedia perspective, why are we still measuring audiences in silos? Well, we don’t. And you shouldn’t.

Pawel Gershkovich is a Global Senior Product Manager at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email pawel.gershkovich@gfk.com or leave a comment below.