What is outcome media?
Outcome media is fundamentally about data, and about using that data across the spectrum of brand marketing and performance marketing, which have traditionally been seen as representing two sides of a divide.
- Outcome media brings a new level of sophisticated thinking to marketing.
- It allows marketers to get a clear sense of what they can expect from their media campaigns.
- It also allows marketers to measure efficacy in real time, to be accountable to a defined outcome.
- It fulfills the needs brands have to quantify results and justify their ad spend.
- It can connect media across channels, for example connected TV, shoppable media, and performance marketing.
“It comes down [to] a level of sophistication in our marketing that makes us specific to what we expect our media to deliver.”
The strategy depends on the brand
Outcomes should always be derived from the goals of the brand’s business, but the exact strategy depends on the brand.
- There can be upper-funnel targets, such as generating awareness, for which the metrics require a proxy to measure them.
- Further down the funnel, there may be metrics the marketer can tie directly to sales or other direct actions such as store visits.
- Determining outcomes and how to measure toward them is a case-by-case conversation, and often requires a bespoke approach to fit the brand’s needs.
- The category influences the strategy. What’s possible in consumer products goods is very different from what can be done in auto, retail, or ecommerce, for example.
“It comes down to data and what the brands have available and what their actual business objective is.”
- Emily Knight
Outcome media helps marketers focus
With all the metrics and channels they have available, marketers can, Siewert notes, “go down a rabbit hole” of different measures that don’t tell an overall story of whether a campaign is actually “winning” for the business. Our guests suggest that:
- Marketers need to think longer term, come up with a mix of metrics that prove with data and testing over time to have the best effects.
- They should focus on the goals, not the minutiae they measure to help reach those goals.
- It’s imperative to incorporate as much first-party data as possible.
- Marketers must test, test, and test toward the goal. That can range from something like performance oriented metrics to more custom solutions such as interactions with a purpose-built API.
“There are always going to be different sorts of layers of activation. In large brand campaigns, we're always going to be doing awareness [and also] we're always going to be doing search and lower funnel type things.”
Technology brings huge benefits
The technologies available to marketers facilitate an outcome-based approach, whether the focus is awareness, an increase in brand recognition, or more directly tied to direct actions.
- Platforms can support media buyers to help create campaigns designed to deliver on specified outcomes from the start.
- They can be used to customize throughout campaign objectives and KPIs, even to tie back to specific metrics such as sales, foot traffic, and so on.
- Media traders can work with what Knight calls “campaign wizards” who use AI to find recommended audiences that deliver on desired outcomes.
“Manage expectations and be very strategic about what you can get with a given budget for a single campaign, and across specific channels. That's where we see things be most successful.”
Embracing outcomes can inspire transformation
Brands need to work across groups to incorporate expertise and resources across organizations at a holistic and granular level. Knight and Siewert offer the following tips to marketers:
- Define clear objectives that can align everyone involved.
- Work closely with the analytics groups and incorporate research that illustrates key metrics to which media should optimize.
- Be willing to fail and learn from that failure.
- There needs to be a focus on what's impactful, not just what’s easy. Don’t let outcome media be a crutch that supplants sophisticated thinking.
“It really starts with organizational transformation, and then supplementing in tools that help us go faster.”
Outcome-based media will, our guests concur, be even more important as cookies start to diminish and first-party data become more important. Marketers can use the data that is available along with the metrics they’ve established to set hypotheses, test, analyze and continually improve to achieve their brands’ objectives.