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NeustarAK-Media-Spend-Efficiency-Comparison-in-Q2-Aug2014Social ads continue to outperform portals, networks, and exchanges in cost-effectively reaching new and exclusive audiences, although the data may be skewed by social users who use private browsing, details Neustar Aggregate Knowledge in its latest quarterly “Media Intelligence Report” [download page] covering Q2 activity. The study reveals that social ads performed 167% better than the 4-channel average in reaching new and exclusive users at a low cost. (The potential data skew would be the result of users accessing social on multiple platforms and devices and via private browsing; Neustar explains that each time a user accesses social in a private browser, they appear as a new cookie, or user.)

Social ads were also effective in reaching quality users – those that can be targeted consistently. While social trailed exchanges in the “user quality index,” it remained above the 4-channel average due to an increase in both impressions and the frequency of ads being shown to the same users.

Additionally, the study shows that social ads remain a bargain, being 70% cheaper than average in Neustar’s “cost index,” which measures a channel’s ability to drive impressions, clicks and conversions at a low cost.

Separately, the report notes the considerable impact of leveraging CRM data in advertising campaigns. In its analysis of data from clients in 3 verticals, Neustar reveals that those using offline, first-party CRM data to target advertising performed:

  • 19 times better than the advertiser average in the telecommunications vertical;
  • 55 times better than the advertiser average in the retail vertical; and
  • 98 times better than the advertiser average in the entertainment vertical.

As found in earlier reports, targeting display campaigns to top audiences based on attributes such as age and income results in substantial lifts in user conversion rates, with the education (2500% lift), telco (1100% lift) and health (1100% lift) verticals singled out for their success.

Zeroing in on the health vertical, the study illustrates that view-based conversions (where the user saw the ad, did not click, but eventually converted) were 2900% above-average, whereas click-based conversions were only 100% above-average. The authors suggest that advertisers “not focus solely on optimizing for clicks and click-based conversions.” Indeed, prior research (such as this and this) has shown that online ads have purchase influence that extends beyond the click.

About the Data: Neustar describes its methodology as follows:

“For the Q2 2014 Neustar Media Intelligence Report, data was compiled from a representative sample of Neustar’s client base. This includes approximately 220 billion digital events.
The methodology for data collection, analysis, and reporting consisted of multiple steps. Data was collected through the Neustar Aggregate Knowledge “pixel” (or “tag”), which was then ingested by the Neustar AK Media Insights platform using the proprietary Summarizer technology.

A team of data scientists then worked with the platform, querying for channel-based performance and cost data, as well as targetability, overlap, and exclusive reach metrics. Raw event data was also reviewed for converting users to see whether or not those users had seen an ad on a particular channel (or combination of channels) further upstream, providing additional insight beyond that revealed by last-touch attribution.

The methodology for vertical industry performance consisted of an analysis of the top audiences for each vertical. The analysis focused on core display campaigns, excluding search, site tracking, retargeting, and email campaigns.

Data represented in this report covered over 750 different inventory providers across key vertical industries such as CPG, Education, Entertainment, Health, Media, Retail, and Telco.

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