Catch CMO Ryan Gracie says first TV campaign delivered 9.5x return, but still backs Facebook and Youtube over BVOD
Online pureplay Catch is a brand convert, CMO Ryan Gracie will tell you. Six months into its first major brand campaign, the e-commerce platform has seen exceptional results. TV has been a standout, with an Annalect-built attribution model showing a 9.5x return. Gracie says Facebook is also pulling its weight as a brand builder, as is Youtube, though BVOD has flopped.
What you need to know:
- Catch CMO Ryan Gracie didn't believe TV's numbers. But after seeing its immediate impact on web traffic and awareness, he's a convert. An Annalect-built attribution model shows 9.57 x return on spend.
- Yet BVOD has disappointed, with Youtube the beneficiary.
- Gracie also remains a big Facebook fan, and believes it can build brand.
- He's not convinced by TikTok.
Measuring every TV spot and its impact on direct traffic allows us to dial-up and down the right version of the creative and see when another is losing interest. That's something I've never been able to do before.
Six months ago online pureplay Catch and its CMO Ryan Gracie were ready to give up the "performance marketing drug" and start funnelling more marketing dollars into brand-building and above the line channels.
Shifting its spend ratio from 5% brand marketing vs 95% performance marketing to 30% brand and 70% performance, the results are strong.
"The campaign has exceeded expectations. When we launched back in August the intention was to grow our unprompted awareness but we hadn't set a benchmark," Gracie told Mi3.
"After we conducted our first piece of research into our unprompted awareness score, it had lifted by 50% in the first three months, something that has roughly held to date."
Since paying $230m for the business in June 2019, Wesfarmers is nurturing its investment, said Gracie, giving the green light for Catch to continue to increase brand spend, which had previously been limited.
After six months in market, the brand campaign has proven its ability to shift traffic mix, with more people coming to the Catch site via direct channels.
Gracie said this has been driven primarily by new customers, indicating they’ve seen a TV, radio or outdoor ad and "been drawn to Catch by curiosity".
Over the same period, direct traffic has increased by at least mid-single digit percentages. When the brand cut spend for six weeks in January, "we immediately noticed the traffic mix reverted ... Without that above the line investment, we saw performance become the main driver once more. So it's been interesting for us to see the level of impact it has on the business when we redirect or turn brand spend on and off".
Are there plans to move to a 50/50 split following the campaign's success? Gracie said that is a matter for Catch's competitors.
The marketing boss says there is no exact figure, ratio or time frame he will put on how the brand invests in the two but will shift the balance based on how it affects share of voice.
"You will only grow your share of voice when you grow your advertising share of voice, so in order to compete with the major rivals, we need to be investing as close to or beyond them at a brand level," said Gracie.
"We need to continue to increase investment in brand but also our performance channels to strike the right balance between share of voice and ability to capture customers at the lower end of the funnel."
Gracie was unsure how TV would perform as part of the campaign and has doubted the accuracy of its reporting in the past. But he said attribution models from Omnicom agencies Annalect and Hearts & Science assuaged his doubts.
Using machine learning algorithms to measure the advertising's impact on driving business performance and a combination of aggregated and individual-level data, the agencies created a return on ad spend (ROAS) metric that gave "the most accurate measure of TV" Gracie has seen so far.
"They use a combination of macro data and then individual-level data that we feed them, including our own traffic figures and conversion rates, then they aggregate the two sources to establish the return on ad spend," said Gracie.
"The results were surprisingly high, as the ROAS came to 9.57x. This means every dollar spent on TV, Catch’s return on average was more than 9.5x higher. Being able to attribute it to online activity makes TV measurable for the first time I’ve seen in my career."
The attribution model also influences how Catch uses the 40 variants of the campaign's creative.
By knowing which variation is driving the most online traffic after running as a TV ad, Catch can measure the level of "viewer fatigue" and adjust its creative mix accordingly.
"Measuring every TV spot and its impact on direct traffic allows us to dial-up and down the right version of the creative and see when another is losing interest," said Gracie.
"That's something that I've never been able to do before and is a direct result of having an attribution model that proves the value of the creative but by also having enough tailored versions of the work to lessen the amount of fatigue among our audience."
Catch is also using digital channels to build brand – and Gracie said Facebook can perform that role.
"While we've got multiple channels that we utilise digitally such as paid search or SEO, we've found Facebook a valuable partner and channel to invest in brand. We run campaigns at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel so that we are capturing different audiences at different stages of their buy cycle."
Facebook conducted research into the campaign for Catch around ad recall, which improved by 23.9% against a benchmark of 8.2% for the retail category.
Consideration on the platform grew 6.9%, while brand favourability improved 10.8%, according to Facebook.
Gracie said the platform also helps shift perception and interest in "key shopping criteria", which includes price, delivery, customer support, CX and range.
"What we are trying to do now is obtain scale across Facebook, not just use it as another social media channel that we invest and forget it," he said.
"Alongside its brand building capabilities, we also using it for prospecting – using our current audience segmentation data to create likely consumer personas and lookalikes to target or re-target, depending on the product or category.
"We’ve also been able to fine tune our creative executions on Facebook across all of those points in the funnel and optimise to a point where we can create specific content that targets each stage of the cycle effectively."
Questioned on Facebook's recent blocking of news outlet pages alongside random non-news pages after the algorithm apparently lost control, Gracie suggested all's well that ends well:
"They're a strong platform for us and we know news is an important part of what Facebook offers. While we weren't impacted in the short-term, as an active user of its advertising services, we were glad a resolution was found."
One of the key issues with BVOD is the ability to scale. Due to audience size limitations, you tend to hit a frequency cap very quickly and begin to exhaust the creative with the audience.
Despite the success of TV, its digital counterpart, broadcast video on demand (BVOD), hasn't been as productive as Gracie had hoped.
"One of the key issues with BVOD is the ability to scale. Due to audience size limitations, you tend to hit a frequency cap very quickly and begin to exhaust the creative with the audience. It becomes very hard to reach a mass audience and manage the number of times they see the message," said Gracie.
"This creates a cap on how much you can spend on that channel as opposed to Youtube, which feels almost endless."
Measurement is also lacking Gracie says, referring to the TV industry's long-awaited "gold standard" for cross-screen metric, VOZ.
The CMO is a bigger fan of Youtube but thinks marketers should avoid looking at it as a sales conversion tool and more of a brand builder.
"Because there is a click function within the ad, marketers constantly look for a conversion, which I don’t agree with.
"It’s still a brand exercise if you think about it, unless you’re running a direct response campaign but overall a call to action is not the way to use it, it should be used for reach.
"There’s a massive amount of reach that you get with Youtube you can’t get anywhere else – and a lot of it comes down the innovation around frequency capping and scale of the audience on the platform."
The new player in the digital video space, TikTok, remains an unknown for Catch. While the brand has "dipped its toes" in the fast-growing social video platform, there are still issues around its advertising model.
"We found that TikTok amplifies your first post, so you think the product is amazing - but then it becomes increasingly hard to amass followers unless you continue to pay," said Gracie.
"I’m not so sure the platform is as sophisticated in its advertising regime as the other social channels. For us it has been slow and steady, we keep testing and trying to make it work – but we haven’t cracked it yet."
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