Kevin Sidell, senior manager of digital strategy at The Kellogg Co., believes recent studies that show 24% of consumer product purchases are influenced by digital contact points. He also believes industry experts who say 50% of digital advertising is wasted.
With those statistics in mind, the marketer has actively used digital media for about two years to market its products via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr and its Social K website.
“We don’t grade on a curve with company investments. We want to get impressions,” he said while discussing how Kellogg’s measures digital media strategy and performance in a recent presentation at the Path to Purchase Institute’s Shopper Marketing Summit in Schaumburg, Ill.
He listed Kellogg’s three guiding principles for its digital creative agency:
- Keep it simple.
- Keep the message straightforward.
- Bring branding in early.
“We know that works for us and lets us get the most out of our creative,” Sidell said.
As an example, he pointed to a near year-long promotion that ended in December on Pinterest and Facebook for Rice Krispies cereal. Consumers were asked to use at least four pins from the "Rice Krispies Treats are easy!" Pinterest board, including Rice Krispies cereal, butter and marshmallows, to create an easy recipe for a Rice Krispies Treat the whole family can prepare. Then they were invited to take a photo of their kids making the recipe, pin it to their board, and link it to Kellogg’s board. Selected entries were posted on Facebook. One of the digital ads promoting the contest was linked to a coupon via Kroger, the country’s largest traditional grocer.
When setting up the digital marketing mix, Sidell suggested partnering with the insights and planning teams. Create a learning agenda, and establish a budget, plans and testing partners. After obtaining the data, refine the media plans based on the new knowledge.
Sidell said digital shopper marketing is a collaboration between retailers and manufacturers. Kellogg uses Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to narrow parameters to hit the right number of people the right number of times with the right retail performance.
His advice for measuring digital ad performance includes:
- Count “in-views” to make sure ads appear when people are viewing the page.
- Monitor frequency on impression-based media. “Repetition can aid recall,” he said.
- Watch media plans that have disproportionate numbers at either end.
- Look for sites that deliver more impressions to your non-shopper.
Although the industry average is 46% in-view, Kellogg’s considers 70% in-view to be a “great” number. If you can hit 70% frequently, he advised marketers in the audience, sell it as a strong value you are delivering.
A post-program performance review examines flow-through rates, identifies where the impressions were delivered, and measures in-market performance.
Sidell recommended measuring the impact of digital media by working with research partners. Learn how to measure results and apply this to organizational campaigns. Which size ad units performed better? What lift was achieved from exposure to the ad?
Sales lift studies are the “Holy Grail of digital media,” Sidell said, because they can track buy exposures via pixel. They can reveal what subsequent action was taken by the person who viewed your ad.
Third-party validation of digital media will confirm that the message was delivered as anticipated, he said. Also, web analytics can confirm that an actual person viewed an ad (not non-human traffic) and will indicate how often the ad was viewed.
“The percentage of impressions to your target audience is a precursor to success,” Sidell said. “Enough people have to see your ads at the right time to set you up for success.”
He offered an example of a digital ad campaign that was designed to create 10 million impressions for $70,000, or $7,000 cost per thousand (CPM). He noted that when you remove the 50% of impressions that were out of view (subtract 5 million), remove another 10% that did not hit the right target audience (subtract 1 million), and then remove 5% excess frequency (subtract 500,000), then the effective CPM becomes $20.
For maximum effectiveness in media performance, Sidell suggested these action steps:
- Consult with agency partners or in-house specialists in media to learn how they perceive media buys and help implement measurement technology.
- Understand best media practices in the organization, including average costs for media buys and standards for frequency.
- Leverage for scale.
- Communicate standards to partners, providing them with advance notice so they can configure the media buy around KPIs.
- Monitor and optimize KPIs.
- Future investments follow performance.
He advised media partners to embrace KPIs and help their clients optimize against them.