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Kellogg’s Aaron Fetters Shares Insights on Ad Accountability its Role in Product Sales

There’s no question that today’s marketers expect accountability. However, varied measurement methods, the analysis of multiple data sets in a Big Data world, and the need to demonstrate how specific advertising relates to product sales all combine to make the dynamics of accountability extremely complex.

Aaron Fetters, Director of the Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at the Kellogg Company, the world’s largest cereal maker, has spent a lot of time considering these issues, and frequently shares his innovative findings on the digital path-to-purchase at major industry initiatives ranging from ANA and IAB conferences to BrightRoll’s Video Summit last week.

He admits: “For every dollar that Kellogg’s invests in advertising and marketing, we measure the effectiveness, and find that we are getting more out of our investment every day. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.”

Although the measurement of large data sets or big data may be the next frontier in competition and productivity, as well as in innovation, Aaron Fetters would advocate that finding the “right data” is key to improving return on investment for any brand. Kellogg’s approach began with an analysis of what was working, and Aaron recognized that a key performance indicator like viewability could have an effect on optimization in real time, as well as sales. “Clear KPIs,” he said, “start with viewability.”

At the BrightRoll Summit, he talked about investment quality and its relationship to the viewability of online display and video advertising. “We were early adopters of the effect of viewability on campaign sales effectiveness, which we define as how many boxes are sold off the shelf for each ad we put in the marketplace.” He admitted that today 70% of Kellogg’s campaigns in online display are viewable, while they started with just 30% viewability. “We reserve the right to get smarter as we measure more accurately and to hold partners more accountable.”

Digital advertising has been historically transacted on the number of impressions served, but industry estimates now suggest that anywhere from 30% to 50% of all online ad impressions are registered when the ad is outside the browser window and not viewable to users.

However, major progress has been made since March 31 when the Media Ratings Council (MRC) announced a viewable impression currency in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). This now means that advertisers and agencies can expect guarantees on viewable display impressions. For an ad to be considered "viewable," 50% of its pixels must show up in the viewable portion of a browser for at least 1 second. For in-browser video impressions to be considered viewable, the MRC is advising a gating period through June 30, 2014 before trading. In-browser video viewability is currently suggested as a minimum of 50% in view for a minimum of 2 seconds.

Aaron Fetters puts these concepts into perspective when he says, “If you are running a contextually relevant ad today, you’re paying a premium for it. In truth, it’s about ad placement, context… and, of course, great creative in a relevant environment. All these elements combine to become a significant investment. Viewability is critical, because it insures that the whole advertising investment is not lost. It has also encouraged Kellogg’s to go further--to deliver the best total experience in our advertising.”

As Director, Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at the Kellogg Company, Aaron Fetters oversees a broad marketing insights organization. From product, idea, and communication assessment through marketing effectiveness analytics and research, his group delivers services and insights that power brand growth.

Previously, he served as associate director, global digital strategy and analytics, responsible for enhancing Kellogg Company's capabilities in digital marketing measurement and analysis, with emphasis on digital media performance, insights, and digital marketing ROI. In addition, he was the lead digital strategist for the Pop-Tarts and Eggo brands, advising and co-creating digital marketing solutions with agency partners.

Aaron Fetters began his career at P&G, where he helped develop industry-leading capabilities in the areas of digital marketing and digital marketing research.