Last month, Thinkbox – the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK – published the sequel to its ground-breaking Profit Ability analysis of the business case for advertising from 2017. Pooling data from multiple sources – including Gain Theory, Mindshare, Wavemaker UK, Essence MediaCom and (of course) Ebiquity – the Profit Ability 2 report proved that advertising is a profitable driver of business growth and that all forms of advertising pay back, especially when sustained effects are taken into consideration. 

In this latest edition of our Marketing Effectiveness team blog series, The Wheelhouse, Group Director Nic Pietersma hunts for Easter eggs in the Thinkbox sequel and picks out the one killer slide that nearly flew beneath the radar. 

As far as sequels go, the Profit Ability 2 report seems to have landed well. The launch event dropped 80 slides on the audience in 80 minutes, so even the keenest viewer could be forgiven for missing a few gems. One of my favourites was the slide below. It flew past – blink and you miss it. 

picture 01

Why is this a killer slide? Our industry has great ad monitoring data courtesy of Nielsen. It’s classified nicely and kept right up to date. But it also has blind spots in biddable media, such as generic search, paid social, and online video, including YouTube. Fortunately, it’s in the nature of Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) that you need to collect all the data to get the big picture, so these blind spots are not such a big issue here. 

Ordinarily, these gaps are like the dark matter of ad spend. We know something’s there, we know the competition is investing, but it’s not so easy to see. Using the Profit Ability 2 data we have one more point of reference to piece together the puzzle.  

Is this a perfect measure of the market? Not even a bit.  

It is biased towards larger B2C brands, with complex media plans across both traditional and digital media channels. They invest in brand tracking and econometrics. These brands clearly do their homework and work on improving their budget allocation. 

So not representative … but putting it this way, it sounds like a pretty great dataset to look at. 

Is your brand over-indexing on some media line? Is your agency making bold recommendations? That’s fine, but why? Would an upweight be justified by an ROI advantage? Or is there a strategic rationale? 

Planning to sector averages is lazy of course, but as a sense check … ideal.

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