Advertising ROI: spend smarter, not bigger

As advertising spend recovers, wise marketers are maximising ROI by backing only their strongest creative.
19 November 2020
daren poole

Senior Director, Creative Domain

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Over the years, much has been written about the relationship between share of voice and share of market. We’ve been reminded about the relationship recently, through the debate about how share of search could replace share of voice as a leading indicator of market share. Wherever you stand on that particular debate, share of voice is a blunt indicator because it assumes that all spend is equal, and that’s certainly not the case.

It’s right to think about the quantity and quality of media that you’re investing behind your brand, of course. Analysis from Cannes Lions and WARC shows the relationship between the strongest creative effectiveness and creative commitment, a composite measure of how much spend is put behind a brand’s campaign, for how long, and through how many channels.

However, we know that creative quality is a major driver of advertising effects. We know that it is responsible for half of the saliency created for brands (the other half coming from combined media effects of reach, frequency and media synergies). We know that after brand size, creativity is the most important factor in driving profitability. This makes it the most powerful lever that marketers can influence to affect their marketing ROI.

Being armed with this knowledge can give advertisers an unfair advantage over their competitors. If your creative’s stronger than your competitor’s, then you can choose to spend less to achieve the same outcomes, or spend the same and achieve much more. This can make a real difference not only to COVID-19 recovery budgets, but also in more normal times. The smartest advertisers know this and test their advertising before it goes to air to see how strong it is, if it could be stronger and how. They’ve done it over 200,000 times, using Kantar’s Link ad testing system.

As the number of media choices has multiplied, the number of brands in companies’ portfolios has grown and the demand for shareholder return has led to zero-based budgeting, testing has become something of a luxury for some content. Even when there are cost-effective solutions like Link Now that gives a consumer read of creative quality in as little as six hours, ads can go to air on the basis of gut feel. Our Media Reactions survey of global marketers reveals that 42% of them are testing none or little of their creative placed in media. Cost and speed are cited as the main reasons.

Using content that hasn’t been tested is a bit like booking a hotel without taking even a cursory glance at Tripadvisor. It could be great and exceed expectations, delivering excellent ROI outcomes for the brand. It would be weak and be a waste of the media spend invested in it, that could have gone to stronger creative. It could be terrible and damage the brand’s reputation, its short-term sales and longer-term health. There are plenty of examples of terrible out there.

To address this, Kantar is now rolling out its Link AI solution globally. Link AI takes the guesswork out of advertising ROI by allowing advertisers to screen content that wouldn’t normally be tested. It tells you if your video content is strong or weak, in 15 minutes, using the power of artificial intelligence, trained on Kantar’s unrivalled validated Link ad testing database, to predict how consumers would rate the ad in a survey. This latest innovation in advertising effectiveness completes a creative guidance system that gives you the data you need, when you need it: from confirming effectiveness almost instantly with Link AI, to getting in-depth learning about how an ad is working and how to optimise it with Link.

It makes sense that using the strongest possible content makes the most of media spend. It makes sense to test content to separate the strong from the weak. And the power of AI removes the final barriers of cost and speed, to ensure that all content delivers maximum ROI for the brand.

Get in touch to find out how Link AI can make your advertising budget work harder.

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