ZenithOptimedia Wants To Measure The Real World

ZenithOptimediaNinthDecimalPublicis Groupe media shop ZenithOptimedia revealed Monday it’s hooking up with mobile data platform NinthDecimal to try and get a handle on offline attribution.

Connecting online spend, mobile in particular, to offline purchases, is what keeps agencies up at night. It’s also what keeps advertisers from spending as much as they should on mobile, said Yale Cohen, ZenithOptimedia’s SVP of activation.

“We’ve been challenged in mobile by not having enough datapoints and insights for us to optimize, make smarter business decisions or see how successful a campaign actually is,” Cohen said. “We know digital media contributes towards getting consumers to go into physical stores, but we’re left with questions around how much that media is driving offline conversions. It’s something that’s been a hurdle for us as an agency.”

That’s where location data comes in. ZenithOptimedia hopes incorporation of NinthDecimal’s Location Conversion Index (LCI) tool into its existing planning and optimization processes will allow it to measure incremental lift – namely, if an ad campaign drove in-store foot traffic – for both mobile and desktop campaigns.

Of course, just because a consumer visits a store doesn’t mean that the visit was due to advertising, said David Staas, president of NinthDecimal. The point is to drive incremental lift.

“Let’s say you always go to the same store once a week. Then you see an ad and you continue to go to that store just one time a week – the ad campaign didn’t drive incremental foot traffic,” Staas said. “But if you start to go three or four times a week, then the campaign did drive incremental lift tied to media spend. That’s what this measurement tool is doing.”

ZenithOptimedia has been testing the tool on mobile campaigns for seven of its larger clients, including department store Kohl’s. It’s the agency’s goal to start using “in-store visitation as a KPI for success for clients moving forward,” Cohen said.

The agency is also working with NinthDecimal to certify its media channel partners to make it easier for campaign-related data to flow into ZenithOptimedia’s systems programmatically. More than 75 publishers, exchanges and ad networks are in the process of integrating NinthDecimal’s measurement pixel and tag into their backends.

The verification program also gives ZenithOptimedia a view into how a campaign is performing across all its various channel partners and which of those partners are providing the best results, said Staas.

“But mobile is the glue here,” Staas said. “It’s what lets us connect the dots between all sorts of different media types.”

Down the line, ZenithOptimedia plans to tackle other offline media channels down the line, like TV and out-of-home.

“We’re looking for a holistic picture of what’s happening with our media spending,” Cohen said. “If we can harness location insights, we can help clients define their vision beforehand and make real-time decisions. It impacts basically every client we work with.”

In other ZenithOptimedia news, the agency released its latest expenditure forecast on Monday, which noted that the mobile ad market is growing nine times faster than desktop. According to the report, mobile advertising will grow by an average of nearly 40% a year through 2017 – reaching $75 billion – versus a meager 4.6% uptick for desktop.

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