BIA Advisory Services Podcast: CTV Attribution and the Importance of Proof of Performance with Jessica Daigle

In this BIA Advisory Services podcast, our very own Jessica Daigle, Vice President of Sales Intelligence, chats with BIA’s new Vice President of Forecasting & Analysis, Nicole Ovadia, about the importance of high-quality content and the challenges faced as attribution commands more respect in the conversation between buyers and sellers. 

Meredith Cunningham Published: April 29, 2022

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Full Transcription: 

Nicole Ovadia: Hello, welcome to BIA, a leading local insights podcast, where we provide an immediate and deeper look into our current insights and assessments into local media. I’m Nicole Avadia, vice president of forecasting and analysis at BIA Advisory Services. 

Nicole Ovadia: Today, our special guest is Jessica Daigle, Vice President of Sales Intelligence for TEGNA. Jessica focuses on using data to grow revenue in this role. She is responsible for TEGNA’s efforts around TV and OTT attribution, spot TV pricing, and sales analytics. I’m excited that Jessica’s here to speak with us today because we will focus on attribution. 

Nicole Ovadia: Let’s dive right in. First and foremost, can you define attribution for us and share TEGNA and PREMION’s unique approach?

Jessica Daigle: It’s such a hot topic. It’s such a buzzword. When I think about attribution, I think about proof of performance. If you go back to the linear days, posting is what we used to call performance, but posting is delivery. Posting is not performance outcomes. Measurement is true performance. 

Jessica Daigle: Did this campaign drive an outcome, drive a result, move the cash, register, move foot traffic for a business? That’s what I think of when I think of attribution. We measure cross-platform, linear, and CTV, including reach extension. It consists of the overlap across our platforms’ reach because that’s a vital part of our performance indicator.

Jessica Daigle: We’re not talking about impression delivery. We’re talking about reach as a whole. As you mentioned, we’ve been doing this for a long time. We’ve probably been doing it the longest last year alone. We ran over 3,000 campaigns for advertisers, probably way more than in terms of campaigns through our network. I think we have the most complete solution on the market. 

Jessica Daigle: We’re fortunate to work with a company called TV Squared, which you all probably know very well. Today, when we’re in-market and talking about attribution, I think of it in two layers. We have our base product, which we offer for almost every advertiser we can imagine, which includes website attribution, reach frequency, and that kind of measurement. Then we have vertical-specific solutions depending on the type of advertiser you are.

Jessica Daigle: So there are a whole lot of different options. The name of the game is we want to provide you with the correct performance measurement based on the brand you are and your campaign goals. 

Nicole Ovadia: What are some of the misconceptions or objections you encounter when discussing the attribution concept with advertisers and their agencies?

Jessica Daigle: We sit in a fun spot because we talk to small, local businesses where the person who manages their website is the grandson of the business owner. Then we talk to massive agencies that have invested in folks to help them be thoughtful and understand the industry and people who are mired in data and have a lot of initials at the end of their title. We run the spectrum there.

Jessica Daigle: We run into things like, ‘you’re not putting your website pixel on my website. It’s going to slow it down.’ Or ‘what other data might you be collecting?’ Those are sort of basic objections. 

Jessica Daigle: Misconceptions or understanding or around linear attribution: are you just looking at Google analytics? Are you just doing spike analysis? This is a panel. Is it the same panel as Nielsen? Is it the same as comScore? Nope, Nope. It’s a separate panel. It’s one single data stream, connecting viewership to outcomes across whatever platform we’re measuring. 

Jessica Daigle: More recently, some of the interesting conversations I’ve had with clients on objections are around taking full credit for performance. That’s where it’s getting much more sophisticated and exciting, and this happens across the board.

Jessica Daigle: I’m particularly thinking about one of the car dealers that we work closely with. If you know much about what’s going on in the automotive marketplace with a huge supply shortage and a massive spike in demand – the highest demand ever in March – It doesn’t take that much to sell a car. So when we’ve produced reporting that says, we sold a hundred cars for you this month, they pause and take a step back. That’s where you get to some really exciting kinds of objections or conversations about what is media’s role in the path to purchase. 

Jessica Daigle: What does the true lift look like when looking at a key campaign? What would happen if we didn’t run media? We’re also doing that kind of analysis, really looking at the lift in particular with some of our clients. 

Jessica Daigle: We run the gamut regarding the objections and the different kinds of feedback we’re getting. There’s still a lot of work to do educating on enablement. The way we like to do it is we want to run experiments. We like to run hard and faster. That’s sort of how we operate. Just let’s go, let’s just do it together.

Nicole Ovadia: I want to dig in there a little bit more. The best attribution we could do honestly back in the day was – here’s your ad, and then in the next 20 minutes, this is the number of people that visited your website. So we must have been responsible for that. Can you talk more about how your attribution is better attributable? 

Jessica Daigle: This is one of my favorite topics. I call that spike analysis, which we’ve all been doing forever. We have access to thousands of clients, Google Analytics, and so forever and ever, we’ve gone in and said, you see that spike in that line, you can see a lift in performance. That’s sort of how we’ve always done it. 

Jessica Daigle: With the advent of ACR data sets and the co-mingling of set-top box data, that’s gotten cleaned up, and the spaghetti has gotten straightened out. Now we can see who saw your ad, what the IP address is of the home, and then tie that to the digital world in their outcomes. And yes, it’s a panel. So 15 million home panels are what we’re using today. 

Jessica Daigle: For somebody in the TV space, I can tell you, we are measuring hundreds of thousands of homes in every one of our major markets, and that’s statistically significant. That’s a meaningful panel to be able to measure outcomes against. 

Nicole Ovadia: Can you talk more about the difference between mean local versus national in terms of attribution?

Jessica Daigle: Some of our local advertisers are the most sophisticated because they focus on performance. They get prescriptive and detailed about their creative, placement, frequency, targeting, and how they mix and match their CTV campaign with their linear campaign in a way that our national advertisers don’t. This is Main Street. This is, are we selling cars? Are we selling couches, right? Are we moving the business? 

Jessica Daigle: They’re much more focused on reach. Am I reaching the right eyeballs? Am I reaching them at the right frequency across my videos? 

Jessica Daigle: The third group is these digital agencies. They’re not that new, but they’re newer to TEGNA as we’ve broadened our scope in that they do both. They work with local clients, and they work with household brand-name national clients. 

Jessica Daigle: Those are the agencies pushing us the hardest by far. They’re buying linear. They’re buying CTV. They are testing and iterating. They have very clear-cut APIs, and we love those kinds of partners because they make us smarter. 

Jessica Daigle: For local, we run into data fidelity challenges. It’s hard to measure a linear campaign in Buffalo, New York, Knoxville, Tennessee, or Macon, Georgia. If they’re not spending on adequate media, they need to spend enough money in the market to move the needle.

Jessica Daigle: We also need to have enough data to tie it down to the outcome. Depending on how narrow you’re trying to get in your outcome, that’s where we can run into some of the challenges. 

Nicole Ovadia: That sounds fascinating. The large scope, the small scope, and how I am thinking about these smaller campaigns, these local people, and how you can have statistically significant relevant data to help them make better decisions. To know that, ‘okay, I only have so much money. I’m just a mom-and-pop shop.’ So using your platform can make things a lot more efficient for them so that they’re not wasting their money.

Jessica Daigle: Exactly. We’ve done this for so long, and we have so much data. We offer to let them know what’s good performance and what needs tweaking and optimization. We have enough comparison to say, ‘this month, we ran in 500 furniture stores across the country, so here’s what tends to look like when you’re a furniture store.’ That can be very helpful to our local advertisers.

Nicole Ovadia: Can you share some of your key campaign attribution, discoveries that have surprised you?

Jessica Daigle: We have a lottery app client, a cool, fairly new company. Last year when we were running with them, they had the biggest pot of money possible. It was fascinating to watch the video amplification that we generated with mass media. When we were watching linear attribution, we were seeing costs per download, cost per install, and the sort of cost per high-level engagement metrics like purchases analogous to their organic traffic. So when I’m talking about a cost per install, it was like $21, which is extremely efficient. 

Jessica Daigle: If you think about these people downloading the app and then lottery tickets, they’re not just buying one. They are regular lottery ticket users. The ROI in that was really solid. 

Jessica Daigle: When we saw the huge jackpot happen, they ran way more media. We noticed that cost for installation went way down, and they were blown away. I think that was a fun external factor to get to play with. To measure the amplification that video and mass media can have. So that’s one example. 

Jessica Daigle: I think another example, which is also not truly groundbreaking, but it’s cool to be able to measure, is around content quality. We drill into the performance of all of our partners on the CTV side. As you probably know, PREMION is TAG Certified. We take content quality and fraud super seriously. We only offer the most premium content to our partners. 

Jessica Daigle: We recently ran a study with a Caribbean destination for one of our digital agencies. We did this for them as a favor – they were in between attribution partners on their own side. And I will say that PREMION did very well.

Jessica Daigle: We saw three times the visit rate in terms of website attribution than in any other partners. I can’t say specifically the quality of their content, but I can tell you that we have extremely high-quality content. When you drill into the providers and the partners, you can see the performance. That was neat. Those were a couple of good examples. 

Nicole Ovadia: Tell me more about what kind of challenges you think buyers and sellers of TV and video will face as attribution implementation execution and post-analysis commands greater respect in the media community.

Jessica Daigle: When we first started doing this, it was so much education. What is this data set? What are you even talking about? Now a lot of folks know a lot about it. I think there are a couple of things, though, that as I look on the horizon, we still have to work on as an industry, as a business. 

Jessica Daigle: One is this co-mingling of the concept between measurement and attribution. There are different concepts. Yes, I understand why it’s a natural conversation, right? It makes some try to tag on top of attribution because you need a lot of good data to do attribution. But they’re different specialties. They’re different expertise. They require different methodology. 

Jessica Daigle: As somebody on the local side, they require different training and enablement. They are completely separate. So I think that is one of the risks slowing them both down. But I love that people are challenging the status quo and that we’re asking the right questions on measurement. I love that we’re pushing forward on attribution, but I think they need to stay separate to be able to move as fast as possible, which we all need in this space. 

Nicole Ovadia: And that’s so hard, though, because the measurement is what people know. It’s like they’re building the foundation, and now they’re going to build more, learn more and go into attribution. You’re saying, ‘we have to keep those things separate.’ I have fallen victim to that, and it makes a lot of sense hearing you say it that way – measurement is different than attribution, and you have to separate the two. That’s gonna be challenging to get people to think that way.

Jessica Daigle: We get paid on measurement, so you won’t pay us if we don’t deliver our ads. That makes total sense, but you hire us because we perform. You keep us because we perform.  They should both be innovated, and they should both be growing, but they need to be separated. 

Nicole Ovadia: Is data privacy another challenge that you’re running into? Are people like, ‘wow, you can tell me you can attribute somebody seeing an ad and then walking into the store?’ That immediately elicits ‘what’s that data privacy like?’ and ‘what are you and your company doing to address that?’ 

Jessica Daigle: We take it very, very seriously. TEGNA has leadership super-focused on data privacy and ensuring that everything is fully compliant. Of course, we have a vetting process for all of our partners. I think that many people do have that initial reaction – is my television watching me? No, your television isn’t watching you — none of that. 

Jessica Daigle: I think it’s a lot about education on how it happens on the web and then how it happens in video? It’s a lot of the same practices. Most of the time, our marketers are like, ‘huh?’ Then they’re like, ‘Ooh, I want that.’ That’s more the conversation that we tend to have with our market. 

Jessica Daigle: But just staying on top of it, we, of course, have a task force and a team to make sure that our partners are compliant with all privacy laws and that we are compliant in all of our training and our marketing materials as well. We all know it’s going to continue to evolve, and we just have to stay close to it.

Nicole Ovadia: Anything else you want to talk about or any last thoughts you’d like to share?

Jessica Daigle: I just hope that as your audience listens to this, if they have questions, they should feel free to reach out to me and check us out TEGNA and PREMION. It’s an excellent solution for advertisers of all sizes that wanna buy locally. 

Nicole Ovadia: Jessica, I want to thank you so, so much for joining us, and Mitch, thank you for everything that you’ve said and done in this podcast. I’d like to thank you all for listening to this, be sure to tune in more for more BIA podcasts, where we bring industry insight straight to you. 

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