Five Keys To Advertising Effectiveness

NCS and Nielsen are proud to present the most comprehensive analysis of what drives advertising effectiveness—creative, reach, targeting, recency and context—based on nearly 500 studies from 2016 and 2017 and over a decade of experience in linking advertising to sales results: Five Keys To Advertising Effectiveness.

This report evaluates the sales contribution of these five key drivers—and how their roles have changed since the ambitious Project Apollo studies of 2006. It also incorporates a separate study that examines the reach of TV & digital for nearly 900 cross-media campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

  • As in 2006, creative quality is the most important factor for driving sales, but most likely due to new breakthroughs in data and technology, media is playing a much larger role than before.
  • Less than half of all campaigns are doing a good job of targeting buyers of the brand or category — 80% of TV campaigns are On-Buyer Target and 31% of digital campaigns are On-Buyer Target.
  • TV ads generally have consistently high quality creative—as opposed to digital ads, which have a wider range of quality, including both much higher and much lower.
  • For large cross media campaigns, reach still comes primarily from television.
  • Understanding consumer purchase cycles and timing advertising closer to purchases can boost sales dramatically.

Download the full Five Keys metastudy here.

Download the Infographic here.

Did You Miss NCS At Cannes?

While yacht-hopping in the French Riviera can’t be part of everyone’s job descriptions, getting the download from Cannes is always just a play button away, thanks in part to Beet.TV. See what NCS had to share with the adtech world:

Outcomes-Based Measurement: Andrew Feigenson reflects on the increasing authority of the almighty dollar as advertisers’ KPI of choice, and how publishers are in turn using ROAS to improve their products and inventory:

Bringing Buyergraphics To OTT & CTV: Matt O’Grady expands on our latest integration with Innovid to power dynamic campaign creative for Advanced TV based on consumers’ actual purchase history:

Revealing The Return On Recency

Highlights of the Viant-NCS Persuadable Case Study

In concert with Viant and Joel Rubinson, NCS purchase data has unearthed further evidence of the value in targeting actual brand buyers, and the impact of reaching them at the right moment.

Dubbed “the Persuadables”, this three-brand CPG study crafted a consumer segment composed of heavy brand buyers who were about to mature in their purchase cycles, and pitted their results at the register against an array of other, more traditional consumer segments. The outcome was nothing short of incredible:

  • The Persuadables (heavier volume shoppers who are close to their next purchase) generated a 16x greater ROAS than the other exposed audiences
  • Targeting heavy brand buyers provided a significant lift in ROAS; proof that targeting brand buyers vs. non-brand buyers is uniformly a better strategy

Persuadables Case Study from Viant and NCS

NCS and our clients have long-known that heavy buyers bring the lion’s share of incremental sales, and The Persuadables study is one more proof point to that argument. What makes this body of work unique is how it quantifies that which many of us have always suspected: recency plays a significant role in the success of a campaign.

And so, we find new wrinkles still tell the same tales: in CPG, past purchase behavior is the #1 predictor of future purchase behavior… and timing is everything.

Head over to Viant’s website to download the full study, or contact NCS to learn more.

Nielsen Catalina Solutions Brings Largest CPG Purchase Dataset To Facebook Advertisers

CINCINNATI, OHIO – Sept 22, 2016 – Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS), the leader in purchase-based targeting and return on ad spend measurement for the CPG industry, today announced an agreement with Facebook that will allow marketers to use CPG purchase data from NCS to measure the in-store sales impact of their Facebook ads.

NCS has the largest, most representative CPG purchase dataset in the industry, with in-store purchase data from over 90 million U.S. households, across more than 18,000 retail and drugstore locations. This shopper data is calibrated with Nielsen Homescan® and Retail Measurement Services (RMS) data to effectively cover nearly 100% of all-outlet U.S. CPG spend. Combining this purchase data with ad exposure information from Facebook will allow CPG marketers to identify their most responsive consumers and understand the impact their advertising has on in-store sales.

“Together, Facebook and NCS are collaborating to provide the industry with a closed-loop solution that helps marketers better understand the sales impact of their advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network”

– Brad Smallwood, VP Measurement & Insights, Facebook

“The ability to measure results using the deep CPG expertise of NCS is beneficial to our clients.” “The most important thing to understand about data – in the context of advertising – is that the quality of the audience segments and the measurement can only be as good as the data itself,” said Matt O’Grady, CEO, Nielsen Catalina Solutions. “Combining the highest quality purchase data with the huge reach and the resulting ad exposure data from Facebook, we can get a deep understanding of how these ads are driving consumers to purchase. This only scratches the surface of what we will be able to do together in the future.”


NCS (Nielsen Catalina Solutions) is a purchase-based ad targeting and ROAS measurement firm serving the CPG industry. We integrate in-store purchase data from over 90 MM households with media exposure data from TV, online, mobile, print, radio and CRM to help consumer packaged goods advertisers, agencies and media companies define their most valuable audience, reach them with advertising and measure incremental sales from the campaign. The joint venture between Nielsen and Catalina has helped over 200 advertisers and 450+ brands optimize ad performance to drive revenue growth and increase return on ad spend.

Viewability: A Purchase-Based Approach (Infographic)

There are some ideas in life that are so logical, it would be extremely difficult –nearly impossible, really – to refute their validity. For example, if you pay for someone to cut your grass on a weekly basis, you have every reasonable expectation that the job will get done for the agreed upon price. This is the basic premise of commerce: people barter for goods and services and then exchange them for a “fair” price as determined by our free market economy in the good old U S of A.

The digital advertising industry, however, seems to have managed to complicate our premise of commerce slightly. The hottest buzzword in the digital ecosystem right now is viewability, which refers to whether or not a paid advertisement (an message that someone pays to have shown to people) is actually being seen by the totality of the audience a publisher is purporting to have shown the ad to.

To fully grasp the absurdity of this issue, let’s return to our grass cutting analogy. What if you found out that your local grass cutting service wasn’t actually cutting your grass, but instead was taking your agreed upon fee, and only cutting a section of your lawn, or not showing up at all? Certainly this type of business practice would not stand.

When it comes to the vast amounts of inventory that make up the advertising opportunities on the internet, noticing that ads aren’t viewable is not as straight forward as noticing that your grass is now knee-high. Let’s break it down in this infographic, wherein we made the robots as cute as possible to keep the peace in the adtech sector. Enjoy:

Viewability And PBT

NCS’ Leslie Wood Receives ARF President’s Award

Leslie At ARF

The NCS team could not be more excited to honor our Chief Research Officer Leslie Wood for all the industry-shifting ideas and effort she and her R&D team have contributed over the years to television, digital, radio and print media. The immense impact of her expertise was recognized yesterday at ARF’s Re:think 2015 conference, where Leslie received ARF’s coveted President’s Award.

The President’s Award is part of the ARF Great Minds Awards series. See Yahoo’s wrap-up article to learn about all this year’s award recipients.

ARF Award Quote on Twitter

The Major Benefits to Brand Marketers of Measuring Sales Effect of Digital Campaigns

Today’s brand marketers are offered a seemingly never-ending array of ‘big data’ solutions with which to optimize their marketing programs. With so many related buzzwords, it can be daunting to separate which services have substantial benefits and which are less critical to success.

For CPG marketers, measuring digital campaigns in terms of offline sales has clear benefits to their marketing programs. Here are four major benefits to CPG brand managers who conduct Sales Effect measurement studies for their digital campaigns:

1) Accountability. Big money is spent on digital advertising (particularly video, which is now more expensive than the average TV spot), so brand managers need to understand the return on their ad spend (ROAS) in terms of what matters to them most – real, in-store sales.

2) Actionable Learning. Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Having a detailed report of just how a campaign drove in-store sales can arm marketers with the insights necessary to adjust their game plan and make their next campaign even more effective.

3) Cost Savings. Until the emergence of offline sales attribution measurement products, marketers were left guessing as to which campaign elements were driving the best results for their brands. With Sales Effect measurement, brand managers can tweak future campaign budgets to leverage their best possible ROAS.

4) Competitive Advantage. NCS’ digital Sales Effect measurement studies include an analysis of how brands in the competitive set were affected by their campaign. This is an excellent way for brand managers to understand which competitors are showing vulnerability, and to glean valuable information for deploying future campaigns deliberately aimed to steal market share from specific competitors.

Commingled Data: The most holistic view of brand buyers across all outlets

For marketers seeking to find their most relevant audiences, analyzing purchase behavior across all outlets is critical in providing the most precise view of the consumer landscape.  This ‘commingled’ view of consumers comes closest to accounting for the entirety of purchases across all outlets and serves as a vital differentiating factor among data providers. Commingled data provides the most holistic view of CPG consumer behavior.

NCS is the only data solutions company with the ability to commingle consumer packaged goods UPC-level data across all outlets, including mass, drug, grocery and club.

Why is commingled data important?

CPG purchases are largely made at the household level across many different types of retailers, including grocery stores, drug stores and mass retailers. As a result, it’s crucial that advertisers account for the full range of purchase behaviors across all outlets to fully understand consumers’ responsiveness to a campaign.

For example, imagine an advertiser is marketing a widely available over-the-counter cold and allergy treatment (i.e., Claritin).  A mother of a household with three children might make an annual purchase of Claritin at a nearby club retailer, but when she needs an immediate remedy, will turn to a local grocery, mass or drug store to purchase any cold and allergy medicine.

When viewing purchases from only one set of data – say, grocery only -– the buyer definition can become inaccurate, misconstruing the family’s purchase profile of cold and allergy medicine, as purchases from mass or drug stores are unaccounted for.  This creates risk for advertisers that they are reaching the wrong audience, and missing out on potential return on ad spend as a result.

NCS’ commingled data can help marketers more accurately define buyer profiles, leading them down the right path to understanding the responsiveness of their campaigns. With commingled, all-outlet-representative data, purchase behavior for CPG consumers is as complete a picture as possible. 

Connect with us to learn more about how NCS data can power your return on ad spend.

Big Data in Advertising

In recent years, the term “big data” has graduated from an emerging buzzword in high-tech industries to become common business vernacular within companies of every shape and size, but what exactly makes data “big”?

In 2014, the information age has introduced technology to record and process information at incredible speed and scale. That processing power – along with an abundance of data accumulated since the emergence of digital technology – is the foundation on which the concept of big data exists.

Stated plainly: Using big data is simply the ability to collect, process, and (most crucially) make sense of mass amounts of aggregated information. In advertising, the insights gleaned from big data are implemented in order to better inform decision-making around segmentation and measurement of advertising.

Data-driven insights can now guide the actions of savvy businesses.  However, trying to understand big data and its crucial nuances can be a daunting experience. It is critical for brand marketers and agencies to understand both the insight presented by big data, and where that data originates.

For CPG advertisers, the key is putting the pieces together to withdraw the critical insights that will deliver big bucks.

Though at NCS we could brag about our accurate, all-outlet, nationally representative datasets, the prime benefit we are offering is action and reaction— with the objective of driving everyday sales, directly. We don’t offer advertisers numbers without meaning; we deliver insights that in turn allow advertisers to greatly improve upon their campaigns and can present the facts to back it up. Then, rinse and repeat.