Have you noticed any changes in the balance between direct response and branding campaigns in recent times? If so, what do you feel has been driving this?

Brand Metrics logo
Brand Metrics

Kate Mezzanotte, Senior Director of Programmatic media, Jellyfish
It really depends on the client and where they are in their digital journey. The most mature brands have definitely ramped up branding spend on digital channels. For two main reasons: first, Digital TV solutions have become more suitable and measurable versus analogue TV. Second, because of general advancements in measurement. Digital direct-response efforts have historically been easier to measure and therefore more accessible. But with the wider availability of multitouch attribution, for example, we see more options coming online.

Damian Chandler, Head of Programmatic Advertising, Webrepublic
I believe due to Covid, the discussion over whether to focus more on branding versus performance has only intensified. In times of crisis, having a strong brand is even more important and respective long-term brand building measures are inevitable - even though short-term activation campaigns might seem more intuitive at first. That said, I get the feeling that even though traffic numbers generally have skyrocketed in recent months, programmatic is still not considered often enough for such purposes. Swiss publishers still sell most of their inventory through IO, which - as a media buyer that focuses on programmatic - can be challenging. I see this as a legacy issue, from when programmatic was mostly used to sell ‘remnant’ inventory at very low prices for performance campaigns. By now, most of what can be bought through IO is also available programmatically, be it standard display or video or special high impact formats. Next to general advantages like optimizability and centralization of media buying, it also offers much more flexibility, which is an important asset in uncertain times.

Jerry Daykin, Senior Media Director EMEA, GSK
Our sector is still traditionally heavily dominated by branding – whether products are sold online or in store. That said, we have seen an increase in direct response activity through the past year as a natural result of Covid, and the resulting growth of ecommerce, and it is certainly an area we have deliberately accelerated. Despite this greater focus lower down the funnel, we pride ourselves on training all of our marketers on Binet and Field, understanding that long-term branding effects are as important as ever.

Caroline Franzén, Programmatic Lead, Precis Digital
The emphasis we’ve tended to see in digital on performance versus branding isn’t a great mystery – it’s down to what is most easily measurable. Especially because direct response in digital is more instantly and widely measurable than what came before it. Digital branding and brand uplift haven’t traditionally been so easy to measure. We always strive to be as data-driven as possible - so branding, like any other measurement, needs a strong methodology and robust data behind it. Once that is in place, and widespread, stronger demand for it will inevitably follow. Looking at last year, it’s interesting to see just how much the shift to digital media accelerated even further. This might be due to Covid, but it’s also hard in many cases to see the process reversing. And ultimately, media investment will follow where people spend their time. With those changes, naturally there also comes greater pressure for more effective, trustworthy branding measurement. And when it comes to the big tech platforms, there are still significant gaps there.