Understanding the different ad decay effects of advertising across different channels
A successful media plan strategy involves allocating advertising dollars to different media channels in proportion to their effectiveness. Marketers traditionally measure the effectiveness of media channels along the twin dimensions of reach and frequency (see our earlier blog post here). Our research has shown that there is a third dimension that is equally important: how long the effect of an ad persists.
Reach x frequency x decay
Let’s say two media channels (TV and Radio) have the same reach, frequency, and cost but an ad on one media persists for a week and on the other channel only persists for a single day. Obviously the first channel should get a higher share of ad dollars. This is why we always measure the effectiveness of an ad in terms of reach, frequency and the persistence effect.
Quantitatively, we measure the persistence of an ad by its half-life: the period during which the effectiveness of a single airing reduces by half. Analytic Mix has developed a proprietary method to measure the half-life of any ad. Over numerous cross-media campaigns across variety of product categories, we have discovered that the half-life of an ad depends on the media. It is highest for TV, followed by radio and lowest for digital ads. Even for digital ads, we have found social media ads to have slightly longer half-lives than banner and email ads.
What gives ads life?
TV ads have the highest half-life because the medium allows moving images which can create powerful imagery. Of course, radio ads cannot use visual imagery and must rely on creative use of audio signals to increase the life of an ad. Both TV and radio ads monopolize the full attention of their audience while the ad is being broadcast. Digital ads, on the other hand, have to compete for attention with other content on the site, and therefore tend to have shorter half-lives. As for social, any involvement of one’s friends and family through the recommendation process makes ads more noticeable—thus giving it a longer shelf-life.
What does this mean for media planners?
All media planners strive for maximized efficiency for any media buy. In today’s cross-channel media landscape, this can be easier said than done, which is why it’s critical to understand and account for the differences in reach, frequency and decay in your media plans.
Are you facing a challenge with optimizing your media plans to account for decay? We can help — contact us for a quick demo.