Finding a balance between business objectives and financial return has become harder to justify for many marketers. With the plethora of marketing channels available today, an increasing pain point is identifying which media work to drive KPI and their role in short and long term business impact.
Gain Theory has produced a research study for ThinkBox as part of the Profit Ability report, which addresses the problem of how to effectively measure the long-term impact of media investment. This is the first study of its kind that discusses the issues involved, moving beyond the often-misleading ROI ratios, and showing the genuine difference that advertising makes.
In an interview with The Times Gain Theory Partner and senior practitioner, Matthew Chappell who led of the research said “Advertising spend has been a hot debate in marketing for some time. There is more data floating around than ever before. However, there tends to be a focus on short-term metrics, which is why this study is so important.
“If you publish a video, say, on a social-media channel, you see that it gets a certain number of likes and shares within the first half hour. But how do you know that it is building long-term success? It is very easy for marketing departments to see what’s driving short-term success, and put all their money in and focus on that. In doing so, though, you run the risk of losing sight of what is propping up the long-term business value.”
Mr Chappell says there is a long-term multiplier effect that many chief executives may not know about. “The findings show that there is often a multiplier to short-term impact,” he says. “For example, if the multiplier is two and you generate a million sales within the first three months of a campaign, then you are likely to make two million in three years.
“Bearing that in mind, we looked at the whole plethora of channels and the results showed TV tends to come out as the strongest medium.
“The numbers we have created are robust, and should provide confidence to chief executives and chief financial officers, and show TV advertising works best in the long and short term. Hopefully this study will add to and shift the conversation away from those short-term, easily measured metrics.”
Watch Matthew discussing the Long Term study:
Watch the full Profit Ability launch event session where Matthew presents the study:
To download the study please click here.
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This year’s Marketing Society Excellence Awards displayed the UK’s bravest and most impactful marketing achievements. Direct Line, Mars, John Lewis, The National Lottery, ITV and many more can now be added to the marketing hall of fame providing inspiration for years to come.
Reading the case studies, you get a real sense of vision and purpose. But what about measuring impact – the numbers behind marketing excellence? What role does measurement play in the ad campaigns that steal headlines, generate sales, and win awards?
In a world where a marketer’s currency isn’t solely focused on creative anymore, the data gold rush has taken its hold. A rush to measure, validate, optimise and manage based on the insights from the data mine.
Before we marshal marketers towards the fountain of eternal data and insights, let’s stop and think about the end goal. Why we’re doing it, how and when we should do it, the impact on marketers and crucially the business.
Research carried out earlier this year, conducted impartially by an ex-CMO with senior marketers in the US representing brands with a total of $1.9bn advertising spend, confirms a number of marketing measurement pain points: Metrics overload, or analysis paralysis; short termism, organisational structure and the need for one source of truth.
With this mind, the Society and Gain Theory have been collaborating to explore these challenges and how we solve them with senior marketers across global hubs – New York, London, New Delhi & Singapore.
Over dinner, high atop the London skyline at the lofty heights of the Gherkin, the Society convened Excellence Awards judges, winners and a wider group of senior marketers to take a 30,000 foot look at the choppy marketing measurement waters. We were in good company with marketers including Jaguar Land Rover, Direct Line, Samsung, HSBC, Wiggle, Hiscox and more.
Metrics that Matter
There was broad agreement on the following fact: we have so much data we can now measure the arse out of marketing.
The increase in channels available to marketers is leading to an increase in the number of metrics used for reporting. This firehose of analytics has crippled many marketers with “analysis paralysis” whereby there’s not enough time, resource, and skillset in a day – or a month – to go through all the numbers, identify the key statistics and discern lessons from them. One marketer sagely remarked, “Just because you can measure, doesn’t mean you can manage.”
In addition, some of the metrics are not sufficiently linked to business outcomes. As one marketer said ‘We have too many metrics that are not financial’.
The consensus is to focus on the metrics that really matter. One marketer said that her view on measurement was simply, “Do they see our comms and will they buy more as a result?” Everything else, it would seem, is salad dressing.
Then, there are metrics that we need on daily basis to understand and manage business impact of marketing to the ones that help us manage stakeholder expectation. Using the right ones for the right ‘internal audience’ was another solution provided around the table.
Other marketers highlighted that in the sea of available metrics “ROI is the easiest metric – it’s a winner.”
Another view was around digital – Google, Facebook et al all were name dropped, of course. The thinking here is that yes do it, but learn from it. To quote one marketing effectiveness leader at the table ‘Go play, but please measure’.
More advice around the table included:
- Think about the “So What?” factor – only measure things you can do something about
- Talk soft metrics and the board are not interested! Focus on metrics that give you credibility
- Define the 6 things that drive value creation
- Where measurement is concerned, it’s incumbent on marketers to set the agenda
Is Brand Marketing Dead?
A challenge that was cited repeatedly, is the sharp pendulum swing towards short-term activation. It feels like marketers are bemoaning a lack of focus on long-term impact, and thus the demise of brand marketing and subsequent impact on long term growth. One view was that this is being caused by C-Suite and shareholders expecting instant results.
Another perspective is that digital has been a pariah to long term effectiveness with one marketer saying “Digital allows us to activate sales quickly.”…“Brand marketing is dead.” Said another “We are so short-term focused – it’s all about instant results. If our campaign isn’t generating sales after 5 hours, its pulled.”
So, marketers are left wondering: how do we highlight how brand marketing can impact growth?
One solution offered was using the right language and metrics when communicating to the business and especially the C-Suite. Marketers must be able to communicate growth via metrics that impact both top and bottom line. So, it follows that even long term brand impact must be able to show an ROI.
Ultimately, we all agreed that short term is not a bad thing but rather that it’s not a battle between short vs long but more a case of re-evaluating short term within long term.
Magic vs Logic
There is a place for hard metrics and a place for being brave and trying things that are not measured or measurable.
There was a sense that if you’re able to walk into the board room with a great creative idea then your short term ROI worries go out the window. Big, bold executions still win hearts and minds of consumers, and after all after isn’t the goal for marketing to change human behaviour?
As one marketer said, “We all know that the number one driver of ROI is creative.” Gemma Greaves, Global CEO at the Society, cited the Cadbury’s gorilla campaign which apparently didn’t initially receive a great reaction internally – there were reservations:
Lee Rolston, Cadbury’s director of marketing at that time, is quoted to have said, “We had a pragmatic concern that it was just too far for Cadbury to go from where they were at that point; that there had to be some sort of stepping stone. But then we thought, ‘You know what? This is an opportunity; we should do what we feel is right rather than what we think they will think is right.’”
Apparently, the board were tasked to take the creative home for the weekend and show it to friends and family. Come Monday, the emotive, game changing power of the creative execution and its potential was clear: everyone loved it and the creative was given the go ahead.
What was truly great about the dinner in London was how open everyone was about their challenges, views and crucially how happy they were to offer a solution to each other. This is what makes the peer network of the Marketing Society so great.
There are a few key takeaways. Firstly, it’s imperative to focus only on the metrics that matter and that you can do something about. Secondly, it’s about managing a portfolio of risk both short and long term. Finally, even in a time of Big Data, there are occasions when tossing out the spreadsheet and going with your creative gut can move hearts and minds and ultimately ROI.
My final thought is that marketers are well placed to set the agenda for measurement. Not only do we have the data and resources to hand to measure top and bottom line growth but we also possess, in my mind, the biggest power of all: the ability to tell compelling stories that touch the hearts and minds of people. We must be braver and bolder in using the story telling ‘super power’ more with internal stakeholders, remembering to utilize the right language for the right audience whether C suite or across the organisations.
Read the original article here.
As marketers, many of us start our careers mastering our craft and learning the art of marketing, advertising and communications. A few years pass and we start managing teams, and with this comes the development of new craft: balancing the needs of the day-to-day job whilst inspiring our colleagues and team members to help them achieve their full potential.
Then, there’s leadership – not just leadership of large marketing teams but leadership within the organisation, flying the flag for business growth and the ability to inspire everyone with a vision that will rally the troops towards a common goal. Unfortunately, that’s not a skill that is directly taught but, it’s an area where most of us want to be successful.
However, the path to becoming a marketing leader presents inherent challenges which can, in part, be progressed if we have honest, uncomfortable and brave conversations around the topic with peers and leadership experts.
With this setting in mind, the Marketing Society and Gain Theory partnered to host a dinner for marketers in Delhi, India addressing two topics:
- Marketing leadership
- Challenges and pain points around measuring marketing’s value
Our 20 high-calibre dinner guests spanned a range of industries – banking, telco, tech, retail – and passionately took part in the conversation. The opinions expressed were lively and arguments were passionate – there was no place to hide for those lacklustre in opinion.
The table was set and by god, the conversation was going to crackle throughout the evening.
Find the Value Creation Zone
To set the scene, Thomas Barta – a marketing leadership author and speaker – spoke about what it takes to drive business impact and career success based on research of over 8,600 leaders in 170 countries worldwide. He highlighted 12 specific ‘marketing powers’ that help mobilize your boss, colleagues, team and yourself. Amongst many inspiring insights, some of the truths that resonated with us are:
- Marketing is often perceived as a cost, the ‘fortune teller’– with little tangible value attributed to efforts, specifically value defined in business metrics that impact the bottom line
- Many marketers spend time on things that don’t really matter to the business
- You have to find the ‘value creation zone’ – projects that matter to your CEO and your customer. Where the two overlap should be your point of focus.
- Spend time getting commonly agreed metrics in place, to validate marketing contribution to the business
- …and articulate marketing value in business KPI terms
Mad Scientist Effect
When it comes to focusing time on the right things to become a marketing leader, a few bemoaned the ‘Mad scientist’ effect where many spend time following the latest shiny marketing toy which, in the end, distracts them from becoming a leader. One marketer said, “you need to heavily prioritise what you take to your CEO/CFO/CIO.”
However, the lesson is simple – when it comes to investment in innovation, test and learn and rather than wait to sell in change, just get on with it prudently under the radar with small portions of budget. One marketer at the dinner said, “Cypher off an amount of investment in your annual marketing budget for innovation and see this as ‘under-the-radar’ investment.”
Balancing the Spinning Wheels
One of our guests pointed out that whilst we try to become leaders, marketing is under immense pressure to answer a multitude of questions. Who are our high value customers? How do we cross-sell across category? How do we invest in innovation? How can you deliver and exceed customer experience?
Then there is the tug of war between short term results and long-term effects of marketing activity.
There is no other department being asked such a range of questions.
One solution offered was to balance the expectation of these questions, how they ladder up to business objectives and agree metrics by which to measure them.
When the conversation shifted to the trend that marketing initiatives and budgets are getting the last slot at the board meeting, there were a number of empathic nods around the table. There’s an expectation for marketing to come into the Board meeting with the fun campaigns, the pretty pictures and talk about softer metrics which don’t resonate with business language used in that forum.
One marketer said we need to ‘de-glamorise marketing’ and present the numbers that ladder up to business key performance metrics. Once you do this, the Board will start to lean in and take notice of the value that marketing brings in. Marketing can then start to be perceived as an investment that has tangible impact on the P & L instead of being perceived as a cost.
Marketing Value – Challenges & Pain Points
Manjiry Tamhane, Gain Theory’s Global CEO shared some insights from an independent research commissioned earlier this year with CMOs from brands representing over $1.9bn in advertising spend. The research revealed several marketer challenges and pain points around marketing measurement. A sample of quotes from the research were:
- “Can’t agree on which few metrics to measure or focus on”
- “Too many data points = paralysis”
- “We are making observations versus true insights into what’s driving the business”
- “Still too many silos in our organisation and not enough sharing between the data scientists and marketing”
- “We need one source of truth, a True North, that will drive our metrics and resulting insights”
- “No agreed method for cross media attribution”
Many of these quotes resonated with our dinner guests but on the last point,
one senior marketer pointed out that Marketing Attribution – understanding which marketing investments are working, in real time – is a real challenge and there is no common standard. There’s a need to understand which tech platforms to invest in, education around the topic and a need to invest in the right skillsets.
Metrics – the Cornerstone of Success
Metrics were a recurring theme, underpinning most conversations during the evening. Thomas pointed out that agreement on the key success metrics takes time, it might even take a year, but is worth investing the time.
“Ask sales what is meaningful to them in terms of metrics and work hard to satisfy and if not exceed this” said one marketer. Another said “It is your job as a marketer to set expectations. Satisfaction is ultimately about managing expectation and matching that with the right delivery”.
What we learned
As W.B. Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.”
Whilst the take outs listed above are all immensely helpful to our journey in becoming leaders, W.B. Yeats’s quote rings particularly loudly in relation to our dinner in Delhi. Mostly because the fire that was lit that evening through honest, uncomfortable, passionate and brave conversation led to the education of all around the table.
This article was originally published on The Marketing Society site.
Through Q1 2017, the major talking point in marketing, especially in the U.S. and U.K., was brand safety. This is a challenge which has existed for years, but two events caused a brighter light to be shone on the issue.
First, Marc Pritchard of P&G called for more transparency in media buying, honestly admitting that he did not know where and how some of his advertising was being used. Second, a front page on the Times, a U.K. newspaper, revealed that some of Britain’s top brands were being seen alongside unsafe often highly explicit and violent content, setting off a chain reaction of brands boycotting platforms like YouTube.
Since then, as we would expect from marketers, there has been a lot of chatter. But is online brand safety the only issue here?
The short answer is no. The main issues in digital marketing are still viewability, robots and bad measurement, all of which have their roots in short-termism. Here’s why:
Let’s consider, for a moment, the type of people who would be consuming unsafe content for brands. There’s an argument that frequent viewers of this kind of stuff are beyond reproach to start with; if they already have such a low opinion of themselves, then who really cares what they think about a Jaguar XJ or Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo?
However, what is true is that this advertising is wasted, because if you think they’re contemptible enough to not care for their opinion, then you shouldn’t be advertising to them in the first place.
So this media buying goes into the waste basket, alongside non- or barely-viewed videos or display ads.
As an aside, let’s take a second example. Let’s say a German discounter takes out a full-page ad in a leading right-wing tabloid newspaper, which goes directly opposite a Brexit polemic. Suddenly, a 2 million-strong group of people will associate, consciously or unconsciously, this company which is not from Britain with the very closed-ranks Britishness of the Brexit tribe.
Which is more damaging to a brand? Two million people or a single loser?
But what does this have to do with short-termism? Short term KPIs, such as conversions, or clicks, or impressions or reach, can easily, and badly, be achieved with a spray and pray approach. This kind of approach often results in low levels of viewability and an unsafe environment — making it tricky to deal with.
A lot of companies use white or black lists — the difference being that white lists aggregate sites on which you can advertise; blacklists, conversely, identify which sites should be avoided. The challenge for blacklists is that bad sites continue to proliferate and, for whitelists, there will be some sites previously labeled safe which suddenly become unsafe due to some regretful content. Keeping both lists up to date can be a Sisyphean task.
And even if the buying is against a specific audience, be it demographic or behavioral, showing no care for which sites the content ends up on, or where on that site it exists (i.e. if it’s viewable or not), is going to get you into trouble.
The bigger picture
This is why brands should focus beyond short-term, easily measurable metrics, and into the complex but ultimately more rewarding world of long-term payback. Remember, not everything that can be counted counts.
The best brands are those which are salient, different, and meaningful; the best brands outperform the market. No brands achieved salience, difference or meaning by having un-viewed or bot-viewed advertising, or by being in unsafe environments.
The real concern for advertisers should be about how to change hearts and minds of consumers by telling a great story to the right audience. Brand safety is only one part of the puzzle, and when advertisers are trying to measure payback, they need to look at the whole picture.
Read the original article here.
In February 2017, the Warc Media Awards took place to recognise comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. The fast-paced change across the media landscape is having seismic shifts on communications planning. As a result, some of the most pioneering thinking occurs at this stage of the process.
Through these awards, Warc captured communications planning best practice, showing how brands, their media agency partners and media owners are using new tech and platforms to help meet business objectives. The awards recognise brands that are getting the most out of their collaborations, as well as showing how data and analytics are revolutionising communications planning in real time.
In recognition of Gain Theory’s authority in data and marketing effectiveness, Jon Webb Managing Partner acted as a judge on the ‘Best Use of Data’ category alongside a mixed jury including Sital Banerjee, Global Head of Media at Philips.
This category sought to recognise the role of data in an effective communications strategy and saw numerous entrants from leading brands globally.
Here are Jon’s insights from his judging experience –
The top entrants within the “Best Use of Data” awards were very strong, with the papers submitted making a strong and clear link between how insights from data can play a fundamental role in driving additional value from media and marketing campaigns. It was good to see that the successful entrants placed as much emphasis on using the data to tell a compelling story around the path to purchase as much as on more complex issues surrounding programmatic. And for those entrants who weren’t successful this year, there were some clear guidelines…
- Make the data a fundamental part of the story, not tagged on as either an after-thought or to justify pre-determined action
- Insights from data can be very simple as well as very powerful – the grand prix winning entry was a great example of this
- Some marketing initiatives take great courage to launch – using real time insights on customer feedback from social media is a great way of course correcting to stay on track
Overall the caliber of entrants were high and I have every confidence that next year the bar will be raised even higher.
Grand Prix –
Narellan Pools, Australia
Hindustan Unilever, India
Destination Canada, Canada
Royal Philips, China
Marking the 2017 International Women’s Day, Gain Theory – part of the WPP group – has just launched Lumena, a global female network, aimed at supporting its women and empowering them to become future leaders at all levels.
As part of the ‘Common Ground’ initiative, each of the large holding companies pledged to dedicate effort to one of the six United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, with WPP choosing to focus on gender equality.
Lumena’s mission is to ignite the future female leader by amplifying her potential through training, networking, mentoring and coaching opportunities.
“Gender equality is not just a good cause, it’s good business,” said Manjiry Tamhane, Global CEO, Gain Theory. “It’s key to helping our people and clients achieve great things and crucial to recruiting and retaining top industry talent – giving us the broad skill set to serve our clients across all disciplines and locations. The more our company makeup reflects the diverse range of partners we work with and consumers they sell to, the more effective and successful we are in servicing them.”
Whilst Lumena is a female development programme, Gain Theory is committed to remaining an equal opportunities employer and many of the events run by Lumena will be open to men as well as women. It will include gender equality initiatives and raise awareness of unconscious bias in all its forms.
Lumena will also improve senior and management representation by providing more female role models, networking opportunities, improved policies for women and increased adoption of gender diversity best practices.
The initiative was conceived by Manjiry Tamhane, Global CEO and developed by female executives in each of Gain Theory’s regions: Marina Stuefer (EMEA), Kavya Madhava (APAC) and Courtney McDonough (NA).
If you are interested in speaking at a Lumena event please contact: email@example.com
In a world where you have so much choice, it’s hard to deny the desire for more.
This is especially true for consumers who according to a new study by Wunderman, want brands to actively demonstrate “they understand and care about me” before they consider purchasing.
Marketers are primarily focused on developing consumer loyalty to their brands, but the data shows that brands now need to demonstrate their commitment to serving the consumer and exceeding their expectations every day.
The study conducted in partnership with Penn Schoen Berland surveyed 2,000 people in the US and UK. With the findings consistent across ages, genders and geography, 79% of consumers surveyed said that brands must actively demonstrate ‘they understand and care about me’ before even considering a purchase. So what can marketers do to demonstrate their commitment, and stay one step ahead?
- Setting New Standards
Historically, marketers focused on developing customer loyalty to their brand, but consumers now have new expectations. In a generation where everything is only a click away from a phone, brands need to adapt quickly, understand consumers’ needs and respond to those needs every day, to show that they are committed every step of the way.
- From Building to Serving Customer Loyalty
Consumers want to feel valued, but it is no longer about just sending over a promotional coupon. Marketers now need to commit to serving customers, every day and at every point in the relationship. The key here is delivering needs, as loyal brands.
- Data-Driven Approach to Understanding Expectations
By looking at data, marketers can not only understand the consumer’s perspective and expectations, they are able to serve the right messages and experiences consumers need, at the right time. Here, insight turns into action.
Whereas exceeding expectations is the new norm, brands now thrive by not only seeking loyal customers, but understanding that customers are real people, who yearn to be cared for.
Check out the Wantedness website here.
Digital marketing channels today are divergent – search, video, social, display, email, mobile – the list goes on. Marketers have a myriad of options to choose from to reach consumers to hit KPIs. But the biggest challenge is understanding which digital media work best…and how to optimize those.
The holy grail of many brands today is establishing which digital investment gets the credit for delivering a conversion event. Where should we spend our money? What can we cut from the budget? How? When?
As more media is bought digitally, more data is produced and with that comes an ability to measure effectiveness at a granular level.
The future is increasingly connected and for some big digital advertisers, requires the right measurement solution.
Digital Attribution can provide the right measurement and optimization solution. But you need the right tools and conditions to do so and what’s more – it’s not for everyone.
We have compiled an 8 Step Guide to Digital Attribution to help navigate marketers through the subject and understand whether it’s a journey they want to embark on.
The 8 steps are:
- Significant Digital Media Spend
- A Clear Online KPI
- A Skilled Team of Data Scientists
- The Right Purpose
- The Ability to Optimize Quickly
- The Right Data Set-Up
- Unified Digital Tracking
- The Right Methodology
You can read the in depth article published in AdMap, by downloading the article on the top right hand corner of this page.
Visit our digital-attribution.com website to view the video.
Matthew Chappell, Partner at Gain Theory, attended the IAB Video Conference: Thinking Differently in London on Wednesday 16th November 2016. Here are his thoughts from the event:
Halfway through AOL’s session, Mark Milling asked the audience to put up their hands if they’d seen the new John Lewis advert. And then hold them up if they’d seen it online first. And then keep them held up if they’d seen it on TV at any point in the last week.
The only people who didn’t have their hands up to start with were probably asleep following lunch. Almost all of those who had seen it had seen it online first. Only seven people in an audience of 600 had seen it on TV at all. Seven.
Online video is no longer the future – it’s here. But how do we make the most of it? And, as the question posed by the conference title asked, how do we think differently?
First, a look back. In the early noughties, when digital was emerging, brands talked about how much money to invest in digital. Then, they talked about how much to invest in specific channels. Now, with the biggest digital channels we need to be asking how we allocate spend within them and how we create content that fits – what is the right message at the right time to the right people?
This is especially pertinent in video. In the past, brands put their TV ad online and that was that. Now the opportunities are limitless. Indeed, according to Millward Brown the average consumer spends 65mins a day watching video on mobile or tablet (vs 61mins on TV). There is vast potential attention but brands need to capture it quickly.
Two of the best sessions, from Facebook and Google DoubleClick, focused right in on this.
The Google DoubleClick session, run by Atossa Vaziri, discussed three different types of video content: meal, snack, bite. Sometimes you want a three course meal, or a three minute brand video; sometimes you want a snack. Sometimes you don’t even have time for a snack, just a bite of your friend’s cake. At different times you have different needs, and video advertising can and must reflect this. For example, on Facebook mobile, 98% of videos are watched in portrait (according to Jonathon Milne, CrO Celtra), most with the sound off. Advertising in this circumstance should probably be bite or snack sized, not a four course French dinner.
Ian Crocombe, from Facebook, also discussed three different ways of telling stories and capturing attention. He started with the old fashioned TV ad: a 30s build to a climax, with the brand displayed at the end. In the online video world this is flipped on its head, you show the brand and the punchline first, before exploring further in the next however many seconds. There is a third way, by which a brand pulses impact, humour, and emotion throughout the video, such as in the McDonalds example from Brazil, below. This is a fascinating way to grab attention and hold it for a long period, in this case 1min 45s.
Both told the same story in slightly different ways, but the takeout is the same. As demonstrated by Lucy McHenry from Twitter, Nielsen have shown that there is little correlation between video length and engagement. However, 81% of videos which drove high engagement had a hook in the first three seconds. And most good videos were optimised for sound off.
The main goal for advertising is still to capture attention and engage with consumers. There are many ways to do this, and for some brands this might not be video. The great thing about any digital media is its agility – the ability to test and learn quickly, fail fast and move on.
What we learnt today is that more brands than ever are willing to do this; to think differently on how to use video to improve their marketing effectiveness.
Last night, as the results trickled in and the remaining votes were distributed it became a certainty that Donald Trump would be the next President of the US.
..And yet, this was pretty much the exact opposite of what the opinion polls had been saying. The Huffington Post published a handy summary of these polls running back to June 2015.
It shows pretty clearly that, based on what people said, Clinton should have won.
And that’s the point. It’s based on what people have said. Surely we learned from the UK and Brexit that if you call anybody looking to quit the EU either stupid, racist or both, people might not be entirely honest in reporting their voting intentions. On a slightly less extreme level, we even saw it at the last UK General Election where a Conservative majority was apparently a surprise to many self-declared experts.
So where now for opinion polls? More technical adjustments to make the predictions more accurate? These have been promised before and they don’t seem to be working out too well for the pollsters. That’s because whatever changes are made, the technique still relies on what people say they will do, not what they actually do.
Some people will no doubt say that opinion polls are still the best thing we have and that there is no real alternative.
But that’s wrong.
With the increasing popularity and availability of machine learning and advanced statistical modelling techniques there has to be a better way of using the lead indicators that are out there. At Gain Theory we use Lead Indicators commercially to ensure that our clients hit their business targets in retail, entertainment and tech. They work well: checking content on owned and earned media like Twitter, Pinterest and quality of website visit can reveal preferences far more accurately than just asking people, partly because it shows strength of engagement. And with this knowledge our clients have the ability to course correct in the way that resonates most with their customers. So it’s not just a number like an opinion poll, but a framework to improve delivery – something that the Clinton camp would have benefitted from!
And as automated text / sentiment analysis improves, techniques like our Lead Indicators will only improve.
So perhaps it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, look out of the window into the second decade of the 21st century and stop using a technique that has remained fundamentally unchanged for more than 100 years.