Chart showing ice cream sales

What is the Counterfactual? – Why do we need to assess it?

Posted by Ray Poynter 19 October 2018 If we are told that a before a marketing campaign the sales were at 10,000 units a month, and after the campaign sales are 20,000 units a month, then it is easy to assume that the campaign has increased sales by 10,000 units a month, or by 100%. However, this is an example of the classic fallacy “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” (which is Latin for ‘after this, therefore because of this’. Consider the chart below, an edited and anonymised version of a presentation I saw at a conference last year. The chart was presented by the head of social media to the head of insight in a company selling ice cream. The head of social media protested that the spend on social media advertising should be maintained at a high level. He pointed out that when social media advertising was increased sales, increased, and when the advertising budget was cut, the sales dropped. Therefore, the advertising budget should be increased, so that the advertising could be maintained at the higher level. However, the head of insight took out her pen and scribbled onto the chart three words and images, as in the […]

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Why you should subscribe to NewMR’s newsletter?

Every week NewMR sends out one or two newsletters/updates that we think you will find useful. You can subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here. Last week’s mailing included: How to access the slides and recordings from our recent webinar on Artificial Intelligence and Market Research (8 great presentations). How to become a speaker at NewMR’s Festival of NewMR, to be held in February 2018. Three new webinars to be held this year: Maximising Mobile, New! But Not Tech, and Beyond Market Research. So if you want to be aware of all the new resources, of the chances to speak at events, and hear about new blog posts, subscribe to NewMR’s mailing. You can access last week’s newsletter by clicking here.

The Paradox of Automation and Increased Employment

In Western society, fears and concerns about automation creating job losses and social disruption date back, at least, to the early 19th Century and the Industrial Revolution. In 1811 the UK saw the rise of the Luddites, protestors who were smashing looms and factories that were changing their lives – shifting them from self-employed home-workers to factory employees. The luddites were unsuccessful, production moved into factories, cost fell, output increased, wages fell and many starved. However, across the wider economy more people were employed and more people were better clothed. The economy won, many people won, but some people lost and suffered terribly. The history of automation has not simply been a history of job destruction; it has also been one of change and job creation. During the 20th Century the US saw automation change the nature of work. For example, automation-led change resulted in a fall from 40% of the US workforce being employed in agriculture to 2%, but it also led to an increase in the proportion of the US population in employment and a massive increase in the total number of people employed. The growth in jobs created by automation was facilitated by massive levels of immigration. This […]

Should opinions polls be banned in the run up to elections?

For those of you who do not follow UK news, there was an election last week in the UK and the Conservative Party managed to squeak a small majority of the seats with 37% of the votes. This has caused a big fuss and makes the market research industry look very bad since the prediction (based on many, many polls) was for the votes to be split 34% to Labour and 34% to Conservatives – which would have left Labour as the largest party, and they probably would have formed a coalition or minority government. Some countries already ban polls in the run up to the election and there are broadly two arguments that people who want to ban polls put forward: Polls can encourage people to vote for a party or candidate who is not their first choice – especially in countries where the voting system is not proportional. There is also concern that polls encourage copying behaviour, as opposed to considered decision making. If the polls are wrong, people may vote for a party that is not their first choice on the basis of bad information, distorting the election result. The first argument about polls is a philosophical […]

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What’s special about Keen as Mustard?

The post below is the result of a discussion between Ray Poynter from NewMR and Lucy Davison from Keen as Mustard. Q: Can you describe Keen as Mustard for me in 140 characters? A: Keen as Mustard is the only full service marketing agency that specialises in the market research industry. Let us tell your story. Q: What sorts of things do you do for your clients? A: We run the full gamut of marketing and PR activities for our clients. From branding and website design to media relations and PR, and the development of content that really tells the story of the client and raises their profile inside and outside of the industry. Building that narrative is where we excel. If you take a look at some of our clients, such as MaritzCX, Research Now, PRS, and end-clients like CPW, Sony and Lucozade, we’re telling stories with data. Whether that’s a press article, infographic, conference presentation, or a dashboard; we’re experts in communicating insights and getting the right, engaging content in front of the right audiences But the key to our work is strategy. A website, an email campaign or collection of content means nothing if the strategy isn’t […]

What’s special about MESH, the Experience Agency?

The post below is the result of a discussion between Ray Poynter from NewMR and Fiona Blades, President and Chief Experience Officer at MESH. Q: Can you describe MESH for me in 140 characters? A: Brand growth is driven by all experiences people have with brands, yet half or more typically go unmeasured. MESH uniquely addresses this gap. Q: What sort of brand experiences are going unmeasured? A: Three that come to mind are: Retailer advertising, advertising by retailers such as Best Buy, Tesco, or Walmart. We have seen many cases where being featured in retailer advertising has had major impacts on brands, but it is not usually picked up by traditional Share of Voice measures. Peer observation, seeing other people use a product, e.g. a mobile phone, impacts brand consideration, but is rarely measured by most brands. We have seen cases where ‘Seen others using it’ was actually the lead driver of purchase. Experiential touchpoints, for example for Gatorade in Mexico this meant understanding how people interacted with the brand and its messages in gyms, fitness centres, and parks. People experiencing these touchpoints were twice as likely to endorse the brand. Q: Why do you think so many brand […]

Two key challenges to measuring the ROI of social

Want to know how you should be evaluating social media campaigns? Do you want to know how to balance short-term activation events with long-term effects? The answers are in the recently launched #IPASOCIALWORKS Guide to Measuring Not Counting. As one of the authors of the Guide I have been involved in several events, including the launch at the IPA, workshops, and conference sessions. Whilst these events have been generally positive, two major challenges have been exposed by our interactions with attendees and people working inside advertisers and agencies. These two challenges do not include the complexity of econometric modelling and experimental design. Although those topics are complex, there are people who can help. No, the two problems are: Being asked to measure social too late Not having access to sales data Measurement needs ‘baking in’ to social All too often the agency or social team are asked to evaluate campaigns that are about to start, or perhaps underway, and even sometimes that have finished. Occasionally this is possible, but usually it is just folly. As the Guide points out, the measurement of a campaign is about much more than likes, shares, downloads, and plays. The measurement needs to be in […]

Why mobile campaigns and advertising are underachieving and how to change it

Are mobile campaigns and advertising underachieving? At first glance things look great, the spend on mobile advertising has ballooned up to $19 billion in 2013, according to the IAB. The problem is the comparison between ad spend and mobiles share of media, mobile campaigns and advertising are way behind the use of mobiles in general and use of mobiles for media consumption in particular. In the US and UK about one-third of media consumption is now thought to be via mobile, but mobile ad spend is about 3% of the total – implying advertising is underachieving by a factor of about 10. Most new phones are smartphones, tablets sales are surpassing PC sales, the number of mobile devices is about 7 billion, which is the same as the number of people on the planet – this is the age of the mobile as far as the population is concerned. However, most mobile campaigns remain small and mostly uninspiring, often being little better than banners or pale imitations of online campaigns. There are exceptions, such as JackThreads (an app based campaign that used re-targeting and ads within other apps linked to their app activity) and Macy’s (using a word association mobile […]

My take on social media – Gaelle Bertrand

Guest post from Gaelle Bertrand, Client Director, Brand Insight, Precise, UK. This post is based on material Gaelle contributed to the #IPASocialWorks ‘Measuring Not Counting’ project – and is slightly different to most of the other posts in this series (click here to see a list of the posts in the series) but it provides a good overview of using social media to evaluate media campaigns. Using social media to measure traditional media campaigns Introduction Measuring the effectiveness of communication campaigns through traditional media such as TV advertising has long been the remit of quantitative researchers across the globe. Representative sample surveys aimed at measuring the public’s awareness of a campaign, recall of its messages and more importantly whether it has shifted the needle in terms of brand awareness and perceptions are the norm. However, the advent of social media and the unprompted brand mentions it yields means that researchers now have a unique opportunity to get a read on most campaigns’ effectiveness. So what does social media analysis bring to the equation? Strengths and weaknesses One of the key strengths of social media is its immediacy, so it is an excellent way to get an early read on what […]