Beyond reach - Tackling wasted media and digital measurement challenges

While the digital age offers unparalleled reach, the Goafest Fireside Chat highlighted the crucial need to address wasted media consumption and the limitations of digital measurement. Brands need to prioritise delivering value, focus on quality over quantity, and utilise a multi-platform approach to build trust and engagement with consumers.

Khushi Keswani
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Mumbai: The 2024 edition of Goafest, India's premier advertising and marketing festival, witnessed a thought-provoking Fireside Chat on navigating the evolving landscape of marketing and media in ‘The Age of Adaptability. 

Hosted by Viacom18, the session featured industry leaders Ankit Kapoor, Head of Marketing & International Business at Parle Agro, Mahesh Shetty, National Sales Head at Viacom18, and Navin Khemka, CEO of South Asia at Essence Mediacom. 

The discussion delved into the complexities and opportunities presented by the ever-shifting media landscape, with a particular focus on the growing challenge of wasted media consumption and the limitations of digital measurement.

The conversation began with a stark acknowledgement of the undeniable shift in consumer behaviour. As Ankit Kapoor pointed out, "Consumers are spending more time than ever on mobile devices," highlighting the need for brands to adapt their strategies accordingly. Mahesh Shetty echoed this sentiment, stating, "The way people consume content has changed dramatically. "We need to be where the audience is, and that's increasingly on digital platforms."

However, Kapoor also raised a crucial point, often overlooked in the excitement of digital growth: "What about the wasted media consumption?" He pointed to the need for brands to go beyond simply reaching audiences and focus on delivering value and minimising wasted impressions. This aligns with a growing industry trend of prioritising quality over quantity in media consumption. As per the recent revelation by Ad Blocker Usage Worldwide, 32.8% of internet users worldwide use ad blockers at least sometimes when online, GWI data shows. 

In the data-driven world of digital marketing, measurement is paramount. Navin Khemka emphasised, "Metrics are the guiding light. They allow us to track campaign performance in real-time and ensure we're reaching the right audience." And herein, Viacom18, as Shetty pointed out, utilises well-defined metrics to optimise their campaigns and maximise their impact.

However, the discussion also acknowledged the challenges associated with digital data. "There are concerns about the authenticity of the data," Khemka admitted. "Bots and irrelevant impressions can inflate metrics, making it crucial to address these issues for accurate campaign measurement." This concern echoes a broader industry conversation about the need for transparency and accountability in digital advertising. Initiatives like the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) are working to address these issues and ensure that brands can trust the data they are using to make marketing decisions.

Despite the focus on metrics, a key takeaway from the discussion was the inherent limitations of measuring true impact in the digital age. As Kapoor stated, "Digital platforms are great for reach, but they're not always great for measuring the true impact of your message." This highlights the challenge of measuring brand sentiment, emotional connection, and long-term brand building within the digital landscape.

The conversation then related how building brand love in the digital age is what marketers should ideally focus on. Herein, Kapoor suggested that a multi-platform approach is important: "We need to use a combination of platforms, including television, social media, and on-ground experiences, to consistently reinforce brand messages and build trust." This aligns with the growing trend of "omnichannel marketing," where brands leverage multiple channels to create a cohesive and consistent brand experience for consumers. According to a report by Moengage, brands have 89% customer retention with an omnichannel presence, as compared to the absence of it.

While digital-first platforms are increasingly utilising television to reach a wider audience, the panel agreed that trust ultimately stems from brand actions and value delivery. "Television provides a platform for family viewing and curated content, which can play a vital role in building trust," Shetty explained. This suggests that while digital platforms offer reach and engagement, television can still be a powerful tool for building brand trust and emotional connections with audiences.

As the industry continues to navigate this ever-changing environment, the fireside chat urged brands to prioritise delivering value, focus on quality over quantity, and utilise a multi-platform approach to build trust and engagement with consumers. Additionally, addressing the challenges of data authenticity and exploring alternative measurement methods beyond reach metrics could also be crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts in the digital age.