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Highlights of EffWorks' insights

Last week was EffWorks Global 2021, the IPA’s festival of marketing effectiveness, which Thinkbox proudly supports. And, if you missed it or found it hard to keep up with the torrent of cleverness on display, we are here for you.

To save you time going through it all, and to help you avoid the risk of feeling insecure about your own cleverness, we’ve cherry-picked some of the highlights here – particularly those that help us understand more about the role of TV advertising.

So what did we learn last week? With valuable insights from the likes of Karen Nelson-Field, James Hankins, Orlando Wood and others, there was lots to think about in terms of how brands are built, how online search is created, and how share of voice works…

Not all impressions are equal

Speaking as part of an Advertising Council Australia (ACA) presentation (see below) Professor Karen Nelson-Field argued that the media ecosystem is dysfunctional and that the data we use to assess advertising is flawed as it doesn’t consider attention.

Not all impressions are equal, said the professor. For example, if you are over-spending on low attention media (from her previous work, Facebook is a good example) and under-spending on high attention media (for example, TV) while your competitors do the exact opposite then the principles of share of voice fail. At an impression level you may well have the same share of voice, but the impact will not be the same.

What is needed, she reasoned, is attention adjusted share of voice. We should use attention data – such as her company Amplified Intelligence produce – to supplement impression data to adjust for performance difference. Brands should optimise for maximum attention and cater their media plans to how humans actually view advertising. Plan for the amount of attention you’ll get.

How to build mental availability

Earlier this year, Advertising Council Australia (ACA) launched a report called “To ESOV and Beyond” and one of its co-authors, Robert Brittain, went through the key findings at EffWorks.

He showed how mental availability – the propensity of a brand to be noticed and/or thought of in buying situations – is critical to growth. And it is brand-building activity that creates the mental availability which sales and activation activity can then exploit. Brand building sows the seeds, activation harvests them.

Looking at the ACA’s effectiveness database, Brittain and Peter Field have worked out how to build mental availability and have identified three driving forces behind its creation: budget (or ESOV, excess share of voice – when your share of voice is higher than your share of market); media selection (they have evidence that TV/video advertising is the key driver); and creative strength.

Share of search is driven by mass media

Last year, Les Binet and James Hankins revealed their share of search study, which found that a brand’s share of online search is a good proxy measurement for its share of market. As not everyone has access to market share data, this metric is potentially very useful.

Last week, James Hankins was back with more on the subject courtesy of new work by the IPA’s Share of Search Thinktank. He revealed that there is an average 83% correlation between a brand’s share of online search and its market share – and the correlation is dynamic; when share of search changes so does share of market (but, again, remember this is a correlative relationship, not a causal one).

He also referenced work by EDO in the US that has shown that mass reach, broadcast media like TV have a greater impact on share of search – and therefore, by proxy, share of market – compared to more targeted, narrowcast channels.

Hankins also made the point that not all impacts are equal – echoing Karen Nelson-Field (above). He gave an example of a brand that had increased its spend and excess share of voice but had seen its share of search plummet – the reason was that it had taken money out of TV advertising and put it into social media. And he gave an example of a brand that had shifted money into TV and seen dramatic growth. It would be remiss of us not to mention these examples.

Rightmove’s search success

Also on the topic of search, Rightmove’s head of consumer marketing Sarah Brown explained how search volume is a key metric for Rightmove, helping them understand consumer confidence and the general desire to move house.

She revealed that Rightmove’s search volume index almost always sits 20-30 points above the search volume index of the property market as a whole. The strength of the brand “transcends” the category and among the factors she credited with driving this search success was Rightmove’s “always on TV” strategy – in partnership with Channel 4 – which has kept the brand top of mind.

Brand building is becoming more important

Our culture – including our advertising – is increasingly detached and less vital, argued the polymathic Orlando Wood, who launched his new IPA book, ‘Look Out’, during EffWorks.

Billed as “an advertising guide for a world that’s turning inwards”, Wood’s new book is a clarion call for better, broader, more entertaining advertising creativity that doesn’t assume but creates interest in products.

And that’s not just a nice idea; there’s a serious business imperative. Wood showed that to create effective advertising that builds the brand fame and trust that in turn creates market share and profit, we need the ‘broad-beam’, right-side of the brain, emotional attention of a broad audience.

So, in our digitally-accelerating, technologically-disrupted, inward-turning world, brand-building advertising is, he demonstrated, becoming ever more important. We need people to look up and to look out by bringing back advertising with wit and charm and human vitality; advertising that entertains.

All sessions from EffWorks Global 2021 will be freely available to watch on demand on the IPA’s EffWorks online hub from 28th October.

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