Thinkbox releases new Demand Generator with enhanced capabilities

  • Developers have built in new flexibility to adjust media channel choice and media spend levels
  • Enhancements are in response to feedback from early users
  • Optimisation tool is best in class starting point for media budget allocation and ROI forecasting
  • Tool is based on £1.4 billion of media spend by 50 brands across 10 forms of advertising over 3 years

Thinkbox’s Demand Generator optimisation tool, developed by Gain Theory, MediaCom and Wavemaker and released at the end of last year, has been expanded and enhanced to offer users greater flexibility to tailor its output.

The Demand Generator enables marketers to determine the optimal advertising media mix specific to their business and its objectives. It is designed as a starting point for brands that don’t already do econometric analyses of their media performance.

As well as determining an optimal media mix, it forecasts the likely business results of following its guidance, both in terms of incremental revenue/profit per year and revenue/profit return on investment (ROI). Since launching in November 2019, it has been used over six thousand times by agencies and advertisers from 77 countries.

The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic makes smart media planning more important than ever. The Demand Generator is a best in class starting point for budget allocation and ROI forecasting for advertisers who don’t have their own econometric analysis.

Following the update, there are four key changes to the tool:

1.  New option to deselect advertising channels from the optimisation

Previously, once all the variables have been inputted, the media spend is optimised across 10 advertising channels. Following the update, users now have the option to deselect channels from the optimisation and the media spend will be recalculated and optimised across the remaining channels and the revised estimate of return on investment displayed.

2.  New option to choose different media spend budgets in year two and three

Previously, there was only the option to look at the revenue/profit/ROI effect of repeating year one’s spend in the subsequent two years. Users can now input different figures and run various ‘what if’ scenarios to see what impact that has on the outcome.

3.  More detail on how the effects accumulate over three years

Effects are broken down by campaign uplift (i.e. short-term effects) and base growth effects (i.e. long-term effects). It will also have an improved graphic (i.e. chart) for how these effects build over time.

4.  New data download format

As well as pdf, report data will now also be available to download in csv.

Previewing the new Demand Generator, Sam Gaunt, founder of The Working Fifty and former Head of Media at Lidl:

“The ROI estimates and media channel weighting that this tool recommends for different categories are comparable with many econometric models I have worked with. The latest features provide greater insight and flexibility allowing the tool to be adapted for different scenarios. For brands without bespoke econometric insight, the Demand Generator tool is an excellent starting point for smarter media planning.”

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director, Thinkbox:

“The Demand Generator has seen fantastic take-up since launch. It seems to be filling a genuine gap in the market for those brands that don’t already do econometric analysis. Following its successful launch and welcome feedback from early users, we’re delighted to now build in greater flexibility and hopefully make it even more useful. In the current climate, with so much uncertainty, having a tool like this that offers such a well-informed place to start from is vital.”

Jane Christian, Managing Partner, Head of Business Science, MediaCom:

“Since the launch, we’ve had lots of positive feedback and requests for increased functionality, which this second release delivers on. I particularly think that the ability to select your own channel mix to optimise is a real win, making the Demand Generator optimisations more bespoke for agencies and advertisers.”

The Demand Generator is based on key variables that influence advertising effectiveness: a brand’s category, budget, size, appeal, online sales, and desire to minimise risk. These were determined by the findings of the Demand Generation study, by Gain Theory, MediaCom and Wavemaker, an econometric analysis of £1.4 billion of media spend by 50 brands across 10 forms of advertising over 3 years. It found that some forms of advertising are much riskier than others and that, although most channels boost the efficiency of others, the scale and consistency of the effect differs significantly. You can read the full study here.

Notes to editors:

COVID-19 adjustments

As the tool’s data is based on pre-COVID-19 econometric analyses, in the short term, users will need to make some manual adjustments for factors that can be realistically predicted, such as changes in demand or pricing. Specifically,

  • Some media channels are temporarily unavailable, so the new channel selection tool can be used to take these channels off the plan until they are available again.
  • Predicted ROIs will need manual adjustment to account for the change in demand. For example, if demand in a sector has fallen by 50%, then it’s likely that the immediate ROI will fall by a similar level. The opposite applies to brands for whom demand has increased.
  • As media prices have been impacted (TV advertising has been priced 30-40% lower than before COVID-19) budgets now go further. Users should adjust the media budget in accordance with the latest pricing data.
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