Archive for April, 2009

Online GRPAs many readers of this blog know,  I often expose my inner media geek. Since leaving the agency world two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to share all of the secret digital media sauce amassed throughout a carreer at the healm of an innovative,  nimble and successful digital agency.
 
I now spend my time consulting other agencies and marketers, and presenting digital media planning & buying, and social media marketing training seminars around the country as part of my role at Laredo Group.  In today’s edition of the Laredo Group newsletter, I authored an article about the role of GRP’s in digital media planning, and decided that it is too important a topic not to share with you. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Enjoy…
 
To GRP or Not to GRP?
Few topics evoke such passionate debate among senior level media strategists as “the role of the GRP/TRP metric online”. For the purpose of this article, each generic reference to GRP is in actuality a TRP reference, as is the case in most media conversations.
 
Since the dawn of media planning time, media impact has been predicted and evaluated as a function of the relationship of reach and frequency against a defined target universe – essentially the percentage reach against a target multiplied by the frequency:
  • GRP = (Reach/Target Universe x 100) x Frequency
Generally, the Nielsen television universe is used as the denominator in the reach calculation due to its close representation of the actual universe of US households.  Proponents of a related metric, the iGRP, use the online universe of the target as the denominator of the calculation.
 
Allow me to lay out the arguments of both sides…                                     
 
The argument for using GRP’s goes something like this: Advertisers use GRP’s to measure traditional media, so why should online be any different?  Having an apples-to-apples metric allows advertisers to evaluate all media uniformly and in a more integrated fashion as part of a mix.
 
The argument against GRP’s: We shouldn’t fit a square peg of new media dynamics into the round hole of a traditional media planning model.  The GRP doesn’t account for the unique attributes of digital media, such as engagement and relevant targeting.  “Apples-to-apples” comparisons are rare because online targets are more psychographically defined, while traditional GRP evaluations only incorporate demographics.  The iGRP further muddies the proverbial waters by using a different universe than the traditional GRP altogether, thereby countering the primary argument that the GRP provides an apples-to-apples comparison across media.
 
Whether you are for or against the use of GRP’s, nobody will argue against the importance of understanding how reach and frequency affect campaign impact.
There are plenty of ways to measure this influence and develop media mix models without retrofitting the GRP.
 
While the argument focuses around the GRP, the real issue quite simply stems from a difference in media currency, not evaluation metrics.  While the unit of media currency for both traditional and digital media is called the “impression”, the underlying currencies are different.  The currency of traditional media is “audience”, where impressions equal reach. However, digital media impressions are equal to reach x frequency.  As a result there is an over abundance of devalued online ad inventory.  Just think about the impact of the value of $1 if the government just flooded the market with newly minted currency.
 
As an example of these currency differences  – if you buy a spot during a TV program that reaches 1MM viewers, you are buying 1MM impressions, and reach equals 1MM.  Frequency is a function of additional buys.  When you buy 1MM impressions from a particular website, you buy a share of voice, not the total audience. In this instance, your 1MM impressions can yield 1MM people at a frequency of 1, or 50,000 people at a frequency of 20.  In either case your GRP’s would not give you the ability to judge the relationship of reach and frequency of your buy – a frequency cap would.
Online GRP's
The Final Word –
 
With all the breadth of data and analytic tools available, why focus on a metric that aims to predict impact, when impact and influence can be measured?  Make sure that all buys have frequency cap parameters so that you can predict reach and frequency, then measure the metrics that matter based on your objectives. Online, you can actually measure the frequency at which you hit a point of diminishing returns on branding effectiveness, or the frequency at which you achieve your best direct response performance.  After all, isn’t media impact what the GRP tries to predict in the first place?
 
 
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picture1Over the last couple of weeks Sprite (Coca Cola) launched an interesting reality-type program on YouTube called Green Eyed World, which will follow the nascent music career of a new artist, Katie Vogel, as she leaves her family in the UK and heads to the Big Apple, NYC. It’s typical reality format and also branded entertainment at it’s “best”.  I’m not a big reality fan, so I won’t comment on the content, but I do think the singer Katie Vogel has a nice, raspy, jazzy musical style. But I digress..

The interesting digital marketing tidbit here – is that YouTube (well, Google – as in one of the brands with a competing data portability product) has agreed to implement Facebook Connect, which will allow viewers to interact with their friends on Facebook and even with Katie herself while watching episodes. The fact that Google is using Facebook Connect can only mean that the two companies are open to the potential of the openness to a two way data portability relationship. Either that, or it was a big enough deal for YouTube – which  really needs the revenue.  Remember the history making data portability case implementation that rocked our world a few months back? …when CNN implemented it during the presidential inauguration? Well, this isn’t that big a deal, but it’s refreshing to see the mash-up of reality programming, branded entertainment, and social media data portability.  Kudos to the team from at Coca Cola Europe and FullSix for kicking off a global campaign in the UK and achieving global momentum. Well played.

Incidentally, this is a big change from Sprite’s early foray into social media via one of the first Facebook apps  in Nov 2007, which ironically is still there rotting away with 4 installs (i am one of them and know 2 others – ouch). One of the wall comments on the Sprite Sips page is most likely the best internet comment I have ever seen  – “This app is crap to the power of suck” – Lucy Peery . I’m making a t-shirt out of that.

Reminding you to add value within social media communities, earn respect…and have you pet spade or neutered.

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