During 2020 we’ve published seven category-specific media effectiveness investigations covering Food & Drink, Tech & Telco, Alcohol, Finance, Personal Care & Beauty, Automotive and Retail. Through this process we’ve discovered that each of these category doors has its own media effectiveness keys, but there are also a few master keys which unlock impact and effectiveness across all categories.
One size doesn’t fit all
The 20:80 rule based on learning from the Kantar Connect database says that 20% of touchpoints typically create 80% of total brand impact. Less is generally more; however, the most impactful touchpoints differ significantly per category. For instance, TV is among the top 3 most influential touchpoints for most categories, but is less important for Retail brands. Print advertising is among the most impactful touchpoints for Food & Drink, Finance, and Personal Care & Beauty, but isn’t as important for other categories. This means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the perfect touchpoint mix, and each brand needs to identify what works best for their category and country, as well as their own positioning and competitive situation.
Another key learning is that around 75% of total brand impact comes from non-paid touchpoints (including product experience and word of mouth) across all categories. Interestingly, Tech & Telco, Retail and Automotive tend to get slightly more contribution from paid media, while FMCG categories (Personal Care, Alcohol and Food & Drink) seem to benefit more from non-paid media. This isn’t too surprising because product experience becomes even more “personal” when we’re eating, drinking or dealing with personal care.
Kantar’s CrossMedia solution reveals that the most powerful overall paid media efforts are observed in the Automotive, Tech & Telco, and Personal Care & Beauty categories. In part, this is due to these categories generating a higher share of contribution due to synergistic effects across media. Generally, 77% of paid touchpoint impact comes from offline media, yet Retail and Auto brands rely less on offline media, while Food and Drink rely on it more.
There is further variation across categories when we look at how cost-effectively brands manage to deploy certain media. Some categories manage to turn less cost-effective touchpoints into more profitable ones (like Online Display in the Alcohol category or OOH for Tech & Telco brands). Also, some touchpoints do not build brands as well as they do for all categories (like Online Video for Food & Drink brands and Newspapers for Tech & Telco brands).
Some of the major variations in cross-category impact are summarised in the following table:
Despite this variation in the impact and performance of media across categories, there are a couple of recurring themes which operate as master keys.
One recurring theme is that brands should not rely too heavily on any one type of media. Although too many touchpoints can cause inefficiency, the same is also true when too few are deployed. Variety in the media mix, along with high levels of integration, increases the chances of synergistic effects… which will result in more impactful campaigns.
The second recurring theme is the power of word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family based on positive product experiences. These are among the most impactful touchpoints for many categories. Brands should create more personal relationships with users by blending innovative and digitalised physical experiences with more human and friendly digital experiences. This online versus offline dilemma doesn’t need to be a trade-off. Both can happen when sales staff in stores can better answer your question because they can instantly check stock via an app, or when an online store has a chatbot that actually works, or hands you off quickly to a real person if it doesn’t.
This comprehensive new learning provides helpful general insights to help unlock media effectiveness doors. However, the media landscape is currently especially volatile, so brands need to constantly review the most relevant channels of communication, and test what works best for them.