Purchase-Based Personalization: Now In Real Time On Connected TV & OTT

NCS And Innovid Personalization

Cord-cutters. Cord-nevers. The myriad ways in which consumers can get their media fix grows larger every day. Is the linear TV audience slipping through your fingers? Not if you’ve got the right tools in your toolbox.

Innovid has launched a new twist in their leading video marketing platform to deliver real-time personalization and addressability to OTT and connected TV audiences. But what exactly is being personalized and addressed? That’s where NCS comes in.

Innovid’s dynamic ad targeting is powered by Nielsen Marketing Cloud and NCS’ industry-leading 90MM-household purchase dataset, so CPG brands and their agencies can customize creative based on each individual consumer’s past purchase behavior in real time. Why does purchase behavior matter? It is the #1 predictor of future behavior when it comes to CPG media planning and buying.

GroupM’s Modi Media get it. They’ll be running a campaign to dynamically serve up creative, so cat food buyers get cat creative, and dog food buyers get — you guessed it — dog creative. It’s a no-brainer considering just how precisely and effectively you can reach an audience that is, in many ways, incremental to linear TV.

Read the official press release for details, or get in touch with NCS.

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.

Addressable TV Brings Digital Flexibility To The 1st Screen

The time has come for advertisers to fully embrace Addressable TV.

To be fair, for NCS the time came a while back, as we’ve been targeting and measuring addressable campaigns since early 2015. Just consider this a more formal announcement.

The 42 million households that make up the current addressable TV universe represent a significant opportunity to reach consumers on the most coveted of screens, precisely delivering the ad of your choosing to the audience member of your choosing, just like TV’s little brother Digital has been doing since its inception. Hence, addressable advertising on television.

For NCS, it’s a great new vessel for helping brands and networks improve their media buys, but our story hasn’t changed. We’re still the CPG industry’s premier partner for measuring the ROAS and incremental sales impact of a campaign. We still enable advertisers to tie target audiences to campaign goals based on historical purchase behavior — the #1 predictor of future behavior. And, we still make sure anything we do is backed by an authoritative dataset, which in this case, is 90 million unique households of in-store shopper data combined with the addressable TV universe which, when unified to form a single source, results in 30 million U.S. addressable households informed by purchase data and ready to activate today.

If Addressable TV advertising is new to you (or, if understanding how Addressable ads can be optimized to drive sales is new to you), get in touch with NCS and we’ll show you the ropes. For a primer you can pass around the office, download our infographic here.

Targeting Buyers With Addressable TV

TNT’s TargetingNOW TV Platform Generates $4.9MM In Incremental Sales For Yogurt Brand

You asked for more yogurt case studies, you got ’em.

Okay… so no one really asked for more yogurt case studies, but the work we’ve done here with TNT is well worth the second serving.

In a recent TV study for a major yogurt brand, TNT leveraged NCS buyergraphic audiences and Sales Effect measurement for a closed-loop solution that drove nearly $5MM in retail sales above and beyond what consumers would have spent had the ads not run.

A big part of that success came from TNT’s TargetingNOW technology. In their words:

Turner uses an in-house, proprietary model called CAE (Competitive Audience Estimation) in order to optimize the schedule. CAE is a predictive model that ingests a variety of data sets and builds 30 minute impression level estimates against the target – it is the most granular audience estimation tool in the industry.

One of the unique finds of this particular study was the high ratio of sales driven by non-loyal buyers; a somewhat rare outcome in the CPG world, and a testament to great alignment between the campaign goal, the creative, and the target audience.

Turner Case Study Buyer Category Impact

Are you looking for a smarter approach to this year’s upfronts? See the full TNT case study to learn how buyergraphic audiences and measurement at the register can boost your in-house research.

The Most Likely Candidate: Turning Non-Buyers Into Buyers

For most marketers, there are two types of shoppers: Those who have bought a brand’s product before (buyers) and those who haven’t (non-buyers). Since buyers have already tried a product, marketers can use advertising to encourage additional buying or boost their connection to loyal and engaged customers. On the flip side, advertising can also help convert non-buyers into brand users, potentially driving additional market penetration and sales over the longer term.

However, it’s difficult to convince non-buyers of a specific brand to purchase it—though some are more likely to buy than others. To determine the value of a group of non-buyers, Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) analyzed non-buyers across 13 brands to measure their responsiveness to advertising. NCS found that almost 40% of the non-buying households reached by a campaign delivered less than 20% of the actual incremental sales, which is a responsiveness index of 51. This index of 51 was calculated by dividing the percent of sales lift (20%) by the percent of households reached (40%), where an index of 100 would be average.

In short, this is a very inefficient way for brands to spend their advertising dollars. But what if they knew which people seeing their ads were the ones who were most likely to buy their products? To better understand today’s consumers, NCS used “choice fragmentation” analysis to determine which non-buyers are most likely to buy a product. The analysis uses purchase data to help brands identify the most relevant audiences for their marketing objectives, especially for reaching consumers who are new to a brand.

Given today’s rapidly changing media landscape, companies place notable emphasis on where marketers should be to meet consumers—from TV and radio to online and mobile. But how they identify, define and reach people is also important. Marketers need to consider the data mix available to them and then build the most productive audience segments—based on demographics, geography, lifestyle and purchase habits—to better reach the consumers who will drive the highest sales.

By identifying consumers who have not purchased a brand’s product in the last year and segmenting them into groups that are likely and unlikely to be converted into brand buyers, brands have a much clearer understanding of who to focus on as they plan and execute their ad campaigns. For example, by focusing on the people who are most likely to buy (from current non-buyers), the average responsiveness index across the tested 13 brands jumps from 51 to 149—three times greater lift.


When we apply this method across several categories, we see a wide range of results. But regardless of which case we look at, marketers are able to drive more sales when they use this method to appeal to likely buyers. In the baby care category, for example, the recent study found that “likely brand buyers” are almost four times more likely to purchase than “unlikely brand buyers.” For carbonated soft drinks, the likely brand buyers were almost 10 times more likely to purchase than unlikely brand buyers or non-category buyers.

Choice fragmentation allows marketers to use retail purchase data to help define audience groups that align with their business goals, such as reaching non-buyers who are likely to buy a product they’ve never tried before, and determining which non-buyers have the most sales potential. Furthermore, the ability to reach these segments through television programs and networks with a high concentration of the selected audiences is increasing return on advertising, in turn, changing the face of audience segmentation.

In-Flight Optimization Explained

When an imaginative product bursts onto the scene, a predictable cycle of reactions takes place. Take the Cronut, for example; when chef Dominique Ansel first released his croissant-donut hybrid pastry to the world, reactions oscillated from novel curiosity to sheer confusion to demand that bordered on mass hysteria.

Unlike the Cronut, we will try and avoid this fate for NCS’s newest tool for maximizing return on ad spend dollars, a product called In-Flight Optimization. Like the Cronut, In-Flight Optimization is a sweet new offering on the market and its benefits are clear and simple: In-Flight allows media professionals executing CPG campaigns to understand which taggable, executional campaign elements are performing best in terms of driving incremental buyers of the product – tasty information indeed.

To help you keep ahead of the hip new trends in media optimization, we’ve put together the most frequently asked questions regarding In-Flight Optimization, so there is no confusion with ineffective metrics like click through rate.

What is In-Flight Optimization and how will it benefit my campaign?

In-Flight allows publishers and agencies to maximize incremental offline sales conversions by continuously refining key executional campaign parameters while a campaign is still running. The solution identifies which ad creative, placement, frequency, audience, or any other campaign element is driving the most incremental sales so that you can optimize impressions each week. Leading advertisers have already seen over 15% increases in incremental sales on top of typical purchase habits after households were exposed to the optimized elements.

What executional campaign elements can be refined?

 That’s up to you – implementation is simple in that any taggable campaign element can be reported on in terms of its ability to drive incremental sales conversions. Clients have used In-Flight to understand which creative, segmentation strategy, context, ad format, or ad placement are performing best for their campaign, to name just a few. If you can tag it, we can include it in our In-Flight analysis. Up to 20 or 30 taggable elements may be reported on in a single campaign, even things like viewability.

What is meant by incremental sales conversions? How do you isolate conversions as ‘incremental’?

Matching buying HHs to our best-in-class CPG sales database, we are able to execute the In-Flight analysis thus:

  1. First, we ask the question: Did the household convert (to an incremental sale)?
    • If yes, which tactics were the household exposed to?
    • Then, we conduct an analysis of the household:
      • How many dollars did the household spend on this category in the last 52 weeks?
      • How many dollars did the household spend on this brand (down to the UPC level) in the last 52 weeks?
      • How many days has it been since the household last bought this product?
  2. Next, we review items like typical purchase cycle, demographics, and any other buying habits, such as retailer-specific behavior.
  3. After observing all of the above behaviors, we are able to isolate households who purchased (and which tactic they were exposed to) from households who were already going to convert without exposure to any tactic, ensuring that we’re reporting only incremental sales. We then can report back the incremental sales as the key indicator for the response to advertising, in addition to the total sales that occurred without the influence of advertising.

What is the timeline for delivering results?

Results are delivered weekly, beginning with the fourth or fifth week of a campaign, as it typically takes four weeks for enough sales data to be generated to understand which tactics are performing best. The weekly results are based on purchase data continuously sent directly to In-Flight Optimization from more than 10,000 stores.

For how long should a campaign run to take advantage of In-Flight Optimization?

Campaigns should run for at least eight weeks, which should give media planners sufficient opportunity to shift, at minimum, impressions for 40% of the campaign.

Is there a particular type of campaign that In-Flight works best for?

Apart from the eight-week flight minimum, In-Flight can work for any campaign with multiple taggable elements. However, the ability to shift impressions from one tactic to another is required to achieve the maximum benefit.

Since In-Flight ensures that campaign dollars are optimally deployed, it makes sense that any high-stakes campaign would leverage this technology. For example, if you’re using 80% of your media spend during one particular time of the year (i.e. the holidays, allergy season, etc.), it’s even more critical that every impression is working effectively during that campaign.

From where is the purchase data sourced?

In-Flight purchase data is sourced from our best-in-class, proprietary CPG data set.

A Fresh Take on the Frozen Aisle: Catalina and 4INFO Drive Strong Return for Frozen Entrée Brand

The frozen foods category has faced some challenges when trying to appeal to more new-age health conscious consumers. Rather than be written off as the innutritious, uninventive option for a snack or dinner, frozen-food brand marketers are striking back with creative campaigns to reposition themselves as another version of the fresh food that many consumers are after.

There is evidence that these marketing campaigns are working. Recently, a premium frozen entrée brand saw their product fly out of the frozen food aisle and in to the iceboxes of their target audience at an impressive rate, on the heels of a very successful mobile ad campaign run on Catalina BuyerVision powered by 4INFO.

The goal of the campaign was to drive conversions among previous purchasers of frozen single-serve entrée products. Over the course of the 7-week campaign, the brand realized an impressive $6 sales return for every $1 spent on the mobile campaign.

In addition to proving the offline sales lift driven by the campaign, NCS’ Sales Effect measurement study yielded other key findings for the brands. For example, the campaign was most effective in driving conversions of users who have a Female Head of Household aged 45-54, HH’s with children aged 12-17, Male Head of Households aged 45-54, and households with income > $100k.

Read the entire case study here.  To learn how NCS data can power your next campaign, please contact us.

Continuous Media Optimization

If you plan or buy media, you live and die by each campaign’s success. And there’s no greater measure of that success than return on ad spend. Understanding the most effective elements of precision marketing enables agencies and brands to leverage insights discovered from previous campaigns. NCS provides a unique set of product offerings to continuously optimize all phases of the buying and planning process, from targeting/audience segmentation to In-Flight optimization and retro-active campaign measurement.

Critical to continuous media optimization is the identification of customers who are most receptive to your advertising and message—those viewers who actually purchase the product as a result of viewing your advertising. Targeting this group with your next campaign will raise your return on ad spend.

NCS can provide these capabilities to help achieve the goals of both the agency and advertiser:

1) Target Evaluator

  • What: NCS will articulate the dollars potentially influenced by TV ads when you select programs based on buyers or sales volume of product.
  • Application: Allocating media dollars and subsequently reaching your target audience is priority number one. NCS can help you understand the value of various consumer buyer definitions, and target media based on purchase behavior and campaign goals (i.e. drive trial, conquest competition, retain loyals, etc).

2) AdVantics on Demand™

  • What: Choose the right program element without shrinking your GRPs to reach the most buyers or sales volume.
  • Application: Similar to Target Evaluator, AdVantics On Demand goes one level deeper in television. Instead of just finding buyers, TV planning is opened up by applying audience buying behavior to adjustable elements such as programs and dayparts, while maintaining your gross rating points. In turn, agencies can use the advertiser’s budget more efficiently.

3) Audience AdVantics Targeting

  • What: Integrating offline purchase data with 90%+ of the reachable ad impression via portals, publishers, ad networks, and programmatic technology partners.
  • Application: In the digital and mobile realm, it is imperative to identify the optimal channels to launch and measure your campaign. NCS provides agencies with 15+ channel partners that are powered with NCS data, including Yahoo!, AOL, Google and more.

4) In-Flight

  • What: Optimize creative, placement & delivery based on what drives the greatest incremental life throughout the campaign.
  • Application: If a campaign is not delivering or meeting impression/sales expectations after four weeks, it’s time to switch it up – in real time. In-Flight enables agencies to change multiple campaign elements to reach any specific campaign goal, uncovering insights to share with the advertiser’s brand.

5) Sales Effect

  • What: A precise and complete picture of incremental sales in response to your media campaign, broken down by buyer type, executional element and more.
  • Application: Traditionally measured by impressions, ultimate success at NCS can be translated into incremental retail sales dollars. Agencies can utilize figures that chart ROAS and CPMs across historical norms and benchmarks. Furthermore, they can apply lessons of the sales effect study to future campaigns to ensure success.

See how NCS drives results here.

AdVantics On Demand™ Helps Sausage Brand Improve their Media Buy

One of our biggest customers sells sausages and brats … and now that grilling season is here, that’s a lot. Between May and August, those sausages could stretch around the equator 1 ½ times, or more than 37,500 miles.

But how to get those sausages to stretch around the globe twice? Or more?

This well-known brand already puts out a major ad campaign every summer using TV, radio, and digital to get everyone in the mood to grill. And the numbers off those previous efforts have been pretty good.

Yet this customer wants those numbers to get better. So since last year, they have been using our AdVantics On DemandTM product, a web-enabled platform that allows CPG brands and agencies to accurately see how well their TV ads are reaching their buyergraphic targets. (We have nearly 25 companies representing over 200 brands, agencies and networks using the platform already).

The result for our sausage-making friends –effectiveness for their TV media buy improved 8-10 percent last year when measuring traditional users after using AdVantics On Demand.  (For data geeks, the effectiveness index increased from 104 to 112-114 year over year when comparing TV campaigns).

How does that work? Here’s our customer’s marketing director in his own words:

AdVantics provides that link from a traditional way to buy media back to the actual purchase consumption. That link hasn’t always been there … you usually go by age, demographics, or interest when you typically buy media. This pins it to actual consumption of products.”

More specifically for this customer, AdVantics On Demand allowed them to get better at targeting buyers and figure out which premium ad spends were worth it. Before, they would just target adults and hope to grab some of their targets (males who normally make the buying decisions when it comes to what to put on the grill).

That meant avoiding paying premium ad prices to get nothing but males on networks such as ESPN, the Golf Channel or even outdoors-based networks, given the rates were sky high for those placements. Instead, they would hope for the best and just target adults 25-54 or adults with children.

But what AdVantics showed them was that perhaps a little more spend to better hit their target audience was worth it and could mean exponentially more sales. So networks such as The Military Channel came into play, for example. More premium buys might be in the offing as well.

And the data from last year led them to simplify their targeting model, reducing the number of targets to two from three last year.

“It really changed how we do buy … in a sense, it is a much, much more direct and precise way to get at those types of users,” our customer’s marketing director says.

Want to see the same kind of results? First, check out our tutorial video about AdVantics On Demand:

And please reach out to us for more information and let us help improve your TV Advertising.

Single-Serve Coffee Brand Leverages NCS Data to realize a 23% Lift in Offline Sales

A leading coffee brand harnessed the precision marketing power of Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) purchase based targeting to realize a very impressive 23% sales lift driven by a recent campaign for their new single-serve K-cup brand.

The mobile campaign strategically targeted previous buyers of the single-serve coffee category, ensuring that impressions were served to a highly receptive audience.  This purchase-based segmentation strategy yielded a whopping $8.45 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for the brand.

To see more details of this campaign, you may read the entire case study. For more information on how NCS purchase based targeting and measurement can inform your next campaign, please contact us.