When it comes to evaluating shopper media, marketers believe ROI measures would be vastly superior to GRPs. Right now most would be happy to get either one.
Performance metrics linked to sales and profits are twice as desirable as in-store Gross Rating Points or other third-party ratings, according to a new survey from consulting firm VSN Strategies. Findings from the Retailativity Study of Shopper Media Network Practices and Trends suggest that so-called “in-store GRPs” may not be adequate to support strategy and practice for in-store advertising media, including the emerging digital networks. CPG marketers demand a degree of certainty that their investments in the store will pay out, both in terms of short-term results and long-term brand equity.
Conducted last fall, the study asked respondents about their usage of the full range of shopper media networks, ranging from floor graphics and instant coupon dispensers to the latest in digital video and audio distribution.
The recent shopper marketing phenomenon in the retail consumer products industry has brands, retailers, agencies and suppliers focused on the store. With billions of dollars in ad spending earmarked for reallocation, established at-retail media networks are jockeying for position, while new suppliers rush to market.
When asked to rate the importance of seven measurement methods, 63% of CPG marketers rated “Comparative ROI analyses of shopper media channels” highly, and 61% gave high ratings to “Lift analyses.” By comparison, only 30% of respondents gave top marks to “Evaluating shopper media GRPs” and 30% to “Third-party measurement (ratings) of shopper media.”
In addition to ROI and lift analyses, more than half (51%) of respondents rated “Linkage to shopper loyalty measurements” highly important, while 21% gave high ratings to “Panel-diary studies” and 18.6% to “Exit interviews measuring ad recall.” (Ratings were based on a 1 to 7 scale, where 6 and 7 equal high and maximum importance respectively).
The study, conducted in the Fall of 2006, netted 175 respondents from the marketing, retail, agency and supplier sectors. More than half (98) were CPG marketers, representing many of the nations’ largest companies.
Marketers who participated in the survey accounted for more than $1.3 billion in shopper media spending in 2006, with 20% reporting plans to increase spending in the coming year and only 8% anticipating a spending decrease. At the top end, 16% report plans to increase shopper media spending by more than 5% in 2007, and four responding firms indicated that they spend $100 million or more annually on shopper media.
This concentration of interest at the top reflects the range of attitudes that consumer product firms presently hold toward shopper media. When asked to choose one statement that best describes how their companies presently view shopper media, just a single respondent indicated “It’s becoming our primary method of reaching customers.” But overall, six respondents in ten indicated that shopper media play a role in their marketing mix, with 12% indicating that they already “make a measurable difference for our brands.” Two of ten (20%) selected “It’s growing rapidly in importance and we are responding,” while nearly three of ten (27%) see shopper media as “a small but useful part of the marketing mix.”
The survey results indicate that CPG marketers are working with a range of shopper media types, ranging from traditional printed shelf signs (employed by 50% of respondents), to digital shopping cart displays (used by 2%). Floor decals and coupons at checkout are each employed by 32% of respondents, followed closely by shelf coupon dispensers, used by 30%. Use of in-store audio/radio was the fifth most common, with 26% indicating usage.
Overall, the digital video channels that have attracted so much excitement in the past years are still a relatively small part of the mix. Just 17% of CPG marketers indicate use of video in store aisles, 9% use video in checkout lanes, and 3% use the new shelf-edge video devices or in-store video walls to advertise to shoppers.
Also of interest, only about one-third of responding CPGs (35%) indicated that they have a corporate strategy in place regarding shopper media. Almost half of those have a dedicated marketing group focused on the activity, while many others are organized brand by brand or within key account groups.
Detailed results of the study will be available in the VSN Shopper Media Handbook, which explores further how CPG and other brand marketers make use of in-store advertising networks.
The Shopper Media Handbook defines the scope of the shopper media phenomenon and establishes benchmarks for present industry activity. It will be available for purchase from online links at http://VSNstrategies.com and www.cpgmatters.com.