A Case Study – How to Know Which Competitors’ Customers Your Ad is Going to Steal

August 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Across categories, companies/brands will oftentimes create an advertising initiative that is meant to target a certain competitor, or groups of competitors.  In doing so, they likely employ a communication strategy that they believe will target those consumers currently purchasing products/services from said competitors.  The problem is: How do they actually know if their communication strategy is going to source from the desired competitors – and at optimal levels?

Luckily, we at MSW-ARS have the perfect solution that quantifies this, and it utilizes our validated CCPersuasion® metric that has been proven to predict Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) results.

Our TouchPointTM Plus solution uses consumer respondent behavior to determine, among other things:

  1. Is the ad driving sourcing appropriately from the overall competition?
  2. Are the targeted competitors driving this result?

We want to use this blog entry to show you how we are able to do this while utilizing background information on our collection method as well as a real example of this data.

First, let’s give some background on gauging overall sourcing.  How do we compute the overall result?

Our CCPersuasion metric utilizes a competitive category set of brands/companies, which enables us to assess which respondents have a predisposition to favoring each competitor.  We are then able to see what happens to these groups of consumers once they are exposed to the test brand’s advertising.  The net shift toward the test brand is called CCPersuasion, or CCP for short.  The CCP level is evaluated against our Fair Share® Benchmark, which incorporates category dynamics like brand and category loyalty, level of competition, brand sizes, and country-specific biases.

 

By comparing to Fair Share, we are then able to determine if the CCP level (thus overall net sourcing to the test brand) is above, below, or at the average.

Next, we can examine how each competitor is affected by the test brand’s advertisement, contributing to the overall CCP score.

 

In this graphic (above), from a blinded study, we can see that Brand E is losing the most to the test brand while Brand A is losing the least.  However, what is not clear is what we should be expecting from each competitor.

Therefore, we must incorporate our Fair Share benchmark and compute what we expect to source from each brand…

 

 

This graphic (above) incorporates the expectations based on our Fair Share benchmark, which reveal some learnings we did not see in the previous graphic regarding each of the competitive brands:

  • Brand A: We initially saw sourcing from this brand was the lowest, but this data shows that perhaps that should NOT have been the case. Even though it lost less to the test brand, Brand A is actually much larger than Brand B – and should have lost more than it did.

 

  • Brand B: The -2.0 loss for Brand B did not seem impressive in the initial graphic, though it turns out Brand B is actually the smallest competitive brand in this set – thus their loss to the test brand is actually greater than expectations.

 

  • Brands C & D: Both of these brands are contributing to the test brand’s CCP result, but we now know with this graphic that they are actually the two largest brands in the set – thus their losses to the test brand actually should have been even greater.

 

  • Brand E: We knew from the initial graphic that Brand E was a stronger driver of CCP results, but what we did not realize until now is that they are actually losing a disproportionately high amount of their consumers to the test brand.

 

Now, let’s take a look at a real case study.  This is an example for a recently aired DirecTV NOW commercial that was tested by MSW-ARS.  This ad ran heavily during the Spring 2018 months.  If you watched a lot of March Madness coverage, then you may very well remember seeing this ad.  It is the same study we used in the Scene-To-Scene blog from last month in case you’re interested.

Here is a storyboard which summarizes what the DirecTV Now ad communicates:

 

And here are DirecTV Now’s sourcing results by company from the test:

 

As well as by groups/types of competitive television offerings:

Far and away the top driver of trial to DirecTV Now in this test is cannibalization from traditional dish-oriented DirecTV – which is sourced far beyond their expectation.  This DirecTV Now spot includes strong branding cues for DirecTV, and includes messaging around “No annual contract” – which we saw work well in the data explored in the previous Scene-To-Scene blog – and are likely driving this result (traditional dish-oriented DirecTV typically requires a contract).  Dish Network also loses to DirecTV Now at a slightly higher than expected level, supporting this notion.

Fellow over-the-top media services, PlayStation Vue, Sling, and YouTube TV, also contribute to DirecTV Now’s gains – though slightly lower than expectations.  This is likely due to the focus of the spot being more on the “out with the old, in with the new” thought – and these companies are already in the “new” – thus not necessarily targeted by this argument.

Traditional cable companies and internet service bundles, as a whole, do not contribute to DirecTV Now’s gains as much as one may expect given their market share – they fall well below expectations.  Arguably, the main knock on these companies in this spot is around “no bulky hardware” and “get the live TV you love” – both of which are not powerful in driving the spot.

The under-sourcing from traditional cable companies and internet service bundles is even more apparent when you remove AT&T from that group as they are actually bucking the trend and losing to DirecTV Now beyond expectations.  As you may know, AT&T is the parent company of DirecTV (and DirecTV Now), and the AT&T logo is embedded within the DirecTV Now logo.  This appears to be garnering the attention of current AT&T internet service bundle subscribers. One of the most powerful scenes is the “Try DirecTV Now for $10 a month for 3 months” scene, which is featured amidst AT&T branding cues.

In conclusion:

  • We expect this spot to do more to drive dish-users to DirecTV Now than other OTT media service and non-AT&T traditional cable users. 
  • DirecTV dish-users and AT&T internet service bundle subscribers are expected to drive their respective sub-categories in switching to DirecTV Now after seeing this spot – likely in part driven by their familiarity with the companies, and the messaging speaking more to them. 
  • This degree of cannibalization is probably not ideal for DirecTV and AT&T.  However, given the changing landscape of this category, which includes consumers moving more to streaming options, it may be wise to point out that at least DirecTV/AT&T are driving consumers to their streaming option with this spot rather than losing them outright to a competitor.

 

Thank you for reading.  We hope you enjoyed this blog entry – and please look out for more in the future.

For more information on how our communications research tools can help improve your advertising’s effectiveness, please contact us at aklein@msw-ars.com.

Categories: Ad Pre-Testing Tags:

Dissecting Ad Effectiveness Using Our Scene-To-Scene Exercise

July 24th, 2018 Comments off

Have you ever struggled to understand why your ad is performing the way it is? Or better yet, which part of the ad is driving its result – and how you can duplicate (or avoid) it in future development efforts? If so, then we have the perfect solution, and it utilizes our validated CCPersuasion metric that has been proven to predict in-market Marketing Mix Modeling results.

Our solution is an exercise we call Scene-To-Scene, which is available in our Touchpoint Plus methodology.  It involves splitting the ad into its constituent “scenes” and then gauging positive and negative interest for each of them.  By taking this data and crossing it with our CCPersuasion exercise, we are then able to establish which parts of the ad are actually having the most impact on the ad’s effectiveness – both positive and negative.

To show this firsthand, we have included an example for a recently aired DirecTV NOW commercial that ran heavily during the Spring 2018 months. If you watched a lot of March Madness coverage, then you may very well remember seeing this ad. Here is a snapshot along with the ten “scenes” we established for it:

 

The first four scenes feature the opening drama, which parallels with the idea of switching from more traditional cable to DirecTV NOW – it includes an actress portraying a girlfriend who is throwing her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend’s belongings (including his traditional cable box) onto the front sidewalk.  Each “scene” includes a line from the ad so we are able to assess them individually – as well as collectively – if desired.

Beginning with scene 5, the next handful of scenes each talk one specific benefit of DirecTV NOW, which we are also able to assess individually using the Scene-To-Scene approach:

  • Scene 5: Live TV
  • Scene 6: No hardware
  • Scene 7: No satellite
  • Scene 8: No contract
  • Scene 9: $10/month for 3 months

Scene 10 is an ending tag with the call-to-action to the website.  While we do not necessarily expect the tag to generate a ton of interest, this allows us to check and make sure that is the case.

How did it turn out? See for yourself here:

 

As we expected, the opening drama in the first half of the spot received very polarizing responses – with a couple scenes actually receiving more negative interest (red) than positive interest (green) agreement, such as scenes 1 and 3. Others are netting more total attention, but still with substantial negative reactions, such as scenes 2 and 4.

 

The second half of the spot – well, that’s a different story:

 

Scenes 8 and 9, which talk “no annual contract” and “$10 a month for 3 months,” respectively, receive by far the most favorable responses of any individual scene in this ad.

However, while this is an obvious qualitative win for those two scenes, which are heavy on the product messaging and not so much on the creative drama, it does not necessarily prove that these scenes themselves are great at driving the ad’s CCPersuasion level…

 

Therefore, we can cross these responses with CCPersuasion responses and approximate just how impactful these scenes are – as well as all the others. See this in the graphic below, which includes a % below each scene indicating its share of impact on the CCPersuasion result:

 

As we likely expected, this verifies scenes 8 and 9 are powerful in driving the persuasive power of this spot – combining for half of the result and being far and away the most impactful scenes.

However, this also shows data we may not have expected with the opening drama. Scenes 1, 2, and 4 – which all involve the girlfriend actively “throwing out the old” – all return around 10% of this ad’s persuasion power apiece – meaning that even though they were not necessarily receiving significantly higher positive responses than negative responses, they are still valuable to the spot – especially setting up interest in the product benefits.

Scene 3, which appeared to be similar to Scene 1 on the qualitative scale, is actually not nearly as powerful in driving viewers to DirecTV NOW. This scene is different in that it is a break from the action and the “sorry, not sorry” line is also a break from the definitive change message of the other opening scenes.

Scene 5, which talks “live TV,” does not appear to be very powerful either qualitatively or in driving CCPersuasion, but perhaps is a necessary set-up line to explain what DirecTV Now is, as opposed to on-demand streaming services such as Netflix.

And while the “no bulky hardware” and “no satellite” scenes achieved fairly decent qualitative feedback, we can see that they really do not compare to the two scenes that come directly afterward (8 and 9) in terms of driving CCPersuasion.

 

Last, but not least: we are also able to provide qualitative feedback to add perspective into what exactly is driving each of these scenes. Every study that includes Scene-To-Scene will also include a file that shows what exactly respondents are saying drove (and didn’t drive) their interest. Here are some examples for one of the most popular scenes in this spot (scene 8 – “no satellite”):

  • “I have satellite now, and would like to try something different.”
  • “It would be nice to not need a satellite”
  • “I like that you don’t need a satellite.”
  • “I like the idea of no satellite which often goes out due to weather conditions”
  • “This means that there is no need to drill or screw or ask landlords/HOA permission to subscribe to a satellite dish.”
  • “Because when I think DirecTV in general I think of Satellite and this doesn’t need one”
  • “Because DirecTV has been a satellite focused company in the past”
  • “You do not have to have an unsightly piece of hardware attached to your roof”

 

Thank you for reading.  We hope you enjoyed this blog entry – and please look out for more in the future.

 

For more information on how our communications research tools can help improve your advertising’s effectiveness, please contact us at aklein@msw-ars.com.

Categories: Ad Pre-Testing, Emotion, Qualitative Tags:

Stop Them in Their Tracks! The Importance of Gaining Viewer Interest Quickly

June 21st, 2018 Comments off

Stopping Power in advertising can be defined as an advertisement’s ability to capture audience attention and interest.  For a print advertisement this would represent an ad causing a reader to stop reading an article or flipping the pages and take notice of the ad.  For a video commercial this would represent an ad’s ability to capture a viewer’s mental attention (versus such things as competing screens, idle conversation, a quick zap from the remote or perhaps a journey to the fridge for a snack).  Logically, stopping power would be expected to raise the likelihood of viewers actually receiving the advertisement’s intended message.

 

The Benefit of Stopping Power

Among the various ways to measure stopping power, MSW-ARS has used the Scene-to-Scene Trace technique to gauge respondent interest in a commercial. The Scene-to-Scene Trace illustrates how quickly the ad is able to build – or lose – interest, making it a meaningful measure of an ad’s stopping power.

 

 

One useful metric we have derived from studying interest profiles is the slope of the interest profile in the first 5-seconds of a video advertisement. A stopping power hurdle based on the opening slope of the interest profile has been established. The 41% of cases in the MSW-ARS database which were able to attain this hurdle have CCPersuasion® scores which are substantially stronger than those which do not exceed this hurdle.

 

 

While stopping power is clearly beneficial, it should be noted that it is equally important to sustain interest throughout an ad. In fact, those ads that are able to grab attention and hold onto it (by meeting an average interest level hurdle) have even stronger CCPersuasion results, on average.

 

 

Achieving Stopping Power – Visual Complexity

A study published in the paper “The Stopping Power of Advertising: Measures and Effects of Visual Complexity” (Pieters, Wedel & Batra, Journal of Marketing, September 2010) assessed the effect of visual complexity on stopping power for print advertising.  This study found that two types of visual complexity – Feature Complexity and Design Complexity – had opposite effects on the stopping power of print ads.

According to the paper, ads with feature complexity “contain more detail and variation in their basic visual features, color, luminance, and edges” and are “visually cluttered”.  Ads with this type of complexity were found to have poor stopping power.  As an example, this ad from LG is extreme in the detail and variation of its visual features and colors.

 

 

Ads with design complexity are characterized by “the structured variation in terms of specific shapes, objects, and their arrangements in the advertisement” and “intricacy of the creative design”.  The paper established six dimensions to quantify the degree of design complexity of a print ad:

  • Quantity of objects (many = complex)
  • Irregularity of objects (irregular = complex)
  • Dissimilarity of different objects (dissimilar = complex)
  • Detail of individual objects – not the ad as a whole (detailed = complex)
  • Asymmetry of object arrangements (asymmetric = complex)
  • Irregularity of object arrangement (irregular = complex)

Ads with this type of complexity were found to have strong stopping power.  This ad from Bumble Bee has a relatively large number of distinct objects which are irregular and dissimilar (particularly the different ingredient pictures) with extensive detail in the dominant image.  The offset of the can provides an additional feeling of asymmetry and irregularity of object arrangement.

 

 

Observations from Video Ads with Strong Stopping Power

In a non-scientific attempt to understand what type of content in the first 5 seconds of video ads might be driving initial stopping power, the thirty video ads with the highest interest profile opening slope in the MSW-ARS database were reviewed. The following elements were observed across multiple of these ads with strong stopping power:

  • Music: particularly music which is lively or suggesting suspense or tension
  • Creative Demonstration: a visually engaging demonstration of the product in action
  • Suspense: Images or action that provoke curiosity and keep viewers engrossed
  • Surprise: An unexpected or novel visual element
  • Provocative Statement: Some promise that may sound too good to be true – e.g., “How would you like to look ten years younger”
  • Facial Close-Up: This was particularly true for beauty care ads. Note that research has shown that faces have a strong tendency to draw viewer attention and so are likely to detract from the ad’s effectiveness if the facial image is not related to the product itself.
  • Scenic Beauty: Needs to relate to the ad’s message
  • Children: Caution is also advised in using children, as most of the cases with children had weak CCPersuasion scores possible due to the presence of children not being consistent with the ad’s message or taking attention away from focus on the product.

Note that many of these elements are consistent with the idea of design complexity in that they are related to creativity and the presentation of ideas in a visually unique and engaging manner. A number of the most successful cases have no spoken words in the first 5 seconds but instead use music or visuals to gain viewer interest and attention.  Also it is important that the brand’s identity and the ad’s message not get lost in pursuit of misguided creativity (that which entertains but does not sell).

 

Some Examples

The following ad for Kohler had very strong stopping power, with an opening slope of over 3 times the hurdle level. Not only does it have lively music and a brisk pace, it also is completely product focused and demonstrates the product’s functionality in a creative way.  It also seems to adhere to the principles of using visual complexity by keeping it simple (avoiding the visual clutter of feature complexity), but also attaining design complexity through varying not only the number, arrangement and size of the shower heads but also the speed and type of demonstrations.

 

 

TurboTax’s Humpty Dumpty ad brings both suspense (the urgency of the armor clad men rushing through a modern urban landscape) and surprise (the unexpected visual of the shattered figure of Humpty Dumpty) in its first five seconds.

 

 

This Super Bowl ad from Intel gains attention by making the provocative claim that “Intel 360 Replay makes everything look epic.”

 

 

The opening of the following viral ad for Miss Dior perfume features a facial close-up (of Natalie Portman) which may work in this case since the product is all about allure and image.  Its music also evokes a feeling of tension and suspense which likely aids in generating strong stopping power.

 

 

Kia’s popular Super Bowl ad featuring Melissa McCarthy opens with a shot of a Kia driving through a forest of soaring pines.  Ultimately this opening visual of scenic beauty is tied to the message of Kia’s crossover vehicle being the most fuel efficient in its class.

 

 

For more information on how our communications research tools can help improve your advertising’s effectiveness, please contact us at aklein@msw-ars.com.