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What: Multicultural Audience Measurement experts offer Portada insights around the problem of audience under-representation.
Why it matters: Measurement firms under-represent multicultural audiences by as much as 25%, which causes a negative impact in media investment and produces overall flawed results.

 

Audience measurement has never been more complicated, as cultural nuances and consumer behavior shift and change, and the proliferation of new technologies demands multi-channel strategies. The task is even more difficult when it comes to measuring multicultural audiences. Experts tell Portada major measurement firms under-represent these audiences by as much as 25%. If this is the case, the media budget for targeting multicultural audiences should be substantially higher than it is right now. Just for Hispanic marketing, Portada estimates overall expenditures of US 6.07 billion in 2019. However, if firms under-represent audiences by up o 25%, media expenses could increase by up to US 1.5 billion. Admittedly, this is a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Nevertheless, it highlights the importance of accurate multicultural audience measurement in satisfying clients’ needs, and its potential for the multicultural media industry.

The lack of a common audience measurement currency in multicultural audience measurement impacts media investment levels negatively.

Competition Rising

For many years now, companies like Nielsen and Kantar have offered advanced TV audience measurement. However, competition has increased. New players offer digital solutions that claim to be more comprehensive. This forces the bigger players to think of new ways to keep up with how audiences move and evolve. Inconsistencies between reported data reveal the lack of a common audience measurement currency in multicultural audience measurement. Hence, there’s a negative impact in media investment.

Furthermore, marketers’ biases lead to incorrect data interpretation. In turn, this leads to bad consumer experiences and negative overall results. How can we expect to move the needle if we can’t even tell where it is? In order to find out more about how to face these challenges, we talked to experts who understand how audience measurement impacts media planning and buying: Dana Bonkowski, SVP, Multicultural Lead at Starcom; Mebrulin Francisco, Managing Partner, Sr Director, MPlatform, GroupM; Nelson Pinero, Senior Digital Director, Senior Partner at GroupM; and David Queamante, SVP, Client Business Partner at UM Worldwide.

 

Audience Under and Over-Representation

All interviewees agree that multicultural audiences are still under-represented by major measurement firms. One of the reasons for this, explains Mebrulin Francisco, is the lack of insight into how audiences behave. Francisco mentions as an example all those times when data providers collected data on Hispanics. But once her team digged deeper, they realized the majority of Hispanics represented were English-dominant. This is a big issue because “it means the data is not representative of all the Hispanics in the U.S., creating a blind spot,” she says.

Mebrulin Francisco

The same has happened in the other extreme, where you can have over-representation of Spanish-dominant consumers, creating a blind spot for Bilingual or English-dominant Hispanics. “This is especially the case within sets that depend on cookie level data,” Francisco explained. “If this is true for the Hispanic segment, which is the largest among multicultural consumers, think about the under-representation of African-American or Asian segments. Many data providers do not even report on these multicultural sub-segments.”

 

Language preference won’t singlehandedly define and capture an audience. So, in many cases, a large portion of a given audience is not captured. 
Dana Bonkowski

Therefore, the first thing is having a representative sample of the audience. It might seem obvious, but in the words of David Queamante, “Unless measuring companies take the time to ensure they are gathering information from a representative sample of users, they will under-count multicultural audiences by default”. This represents a challenge. As Dana Bonkowski mentions, “engagement with culture-driven content is often the best signal to identify whether or not a person is ‘multicultural’. But language preference won’t singlehandedly define and capture an audience. So, in many cases, a large portion of a given audience is not captured.”

 

Multicultural Media Consumption is Elusive

Marketers have long assumed that a universal approach can reach audiences. However, “in doing so they fail to identify key nuances in motivations, attitudes, and behavior across consumer segments leading to an incomplete marketplace assessment,” explained Mebrulin Francisco. In the case of multicultural consumers, it’s even more complicated to hit the mark: Since datasets are limited, firms “do not flag multicultural consumers accurately and do not provide a holistic view of the brand’s performance, blurring meaningful insights,” said Francisco.

Multicultural media consumption is concentrated on certain outlets that [aren’t always] included on measurement companies’ surveys and reports. Therefore, multicultural media consumption may seem to ‘disappear’.
David Queamante

Moreover, multicultural audience measurement is rarely accurate. Why is that? As David Queamante explains, “Multicultural media consumption is concentrated on certain outlets that may not always be large or prominent enough to be included on the measurement companies’ surveys and reports. Therefore, multicultural media consumption may seem to ‘disappear.'” Besides, as Queamante mentions, not all measurement companies offer surveys in Spanish. This oversight considerably reduces the representation of Spanish-dominant Hispanic audiences, for example.

 

Privacy Issues Complicate Measuring Even More

This new era has brought significant advantages. For example, we can measure whatever happens as long as it happens online. However, the fact that it’s now easier to use and collect data as also brought up important privacy issues. Nelson Pinero predicts: “With audiences paying a little bit more attention to how and which personal data is being shared, it will become a bit more difficult to reach a diverse audience.”

Nelson Pinero

However, this is already a reality. Media buyers and agencies are working together around the problem of accurate audience measurement. But “what follows now is all part of the balancing act between data and the years of experience that allow the media buyers to react dynamically to market conditions and to, ideally, optimize plans,” adds Pineiro. “Audiences will take more control of how they are reached, and agencies trying to find the right audience will need to cross-reference their deterministic/probabilistic data to enhance plan performance.”

What Happens Now?

The obvious prediction is that data science will become even more important in the digital world. “Measurement is the new black,” declares Mebrulin Francisco. “As we push towards a data-driven age in marketing, science, quantification, and data are going to continue to be a cornerstone of decision making. If I cannot measure the impact of my investment, understand my audience impression on a site, or reach potential, it will be very hard to make a case for using a partner.”

Start building out multicultural and cultural expertise in house to accurately represent these audiences in your data streams.

Moreover, the immediate future is inescapably multicultural. Marketers need to use art to harness the power of all this data in order to represent audiences accurately. Experts like Mebrulin Francisco believe a good way to start is with first-party data. “If you are in the audience measurement space my recommendation is to start building out multicultural and cultural expertise in house to accurately represent these audiences in your data streams.”

When asked for her views on the future, Dana Bonkowski shared the hope that “marketers invest to better understand the business-building power of multicultural audiences. More than 30% of all Americans fall in one or more ‘multicultural’ audience buckets. The question should be “How can you afford not to invest against better multicultural audience measurement?”

 

What: For audience data analysis, CNN blends and analyzes multiple data streams that reveal its audience’s preferences. Thus, the world-renowned news organization produces content that keeps viewers coming back.
Why it matters:  CNN’s VP of digital research and analytics Seth Holladay outlines the challenge of finding the right data and analytical tools to ensure that content engages loyal viewers and attracts new ones.

 

Audience data analysis tools

Cookies are not enough when it comes to a complete understanding of your audience, according to CNN’s VP of digital research and analytics Seth Holladay. In other words, the bits of data stored on users’ web browsers provide only a partial picture of CNN fans’ interests and viewing habits.

To really know its audience, CNN turns to multiple data streams gathered from its own online properties and third-party data sources. For example, this includes Google and Alexa voice-activated speakers. Moreover, it analyzes users’ behavior on CNN’s websites, Holladay told Portada during a sit-down interview at Portada Miami.

CNN uses multiple sources of data and data analysis tools to inform its editorial, advertising, and content strategies. “We watch how people are interacting with our content,” Holladay said.

For instance, one tool CNN uses for audience data analysis is Adobe Analytics, to track users’ interaction with CNN’s websites. But cookies aren’t enough. Thus, CNN also uses third-party data sources, like Comscore, to better understand its audience demographics.

 

Third-party data and other data sources

“Across the CNN portfolio, we cover a lot of topics. Comscore for the U.S. market allows us to understand the demographics of our viewers,” Holladay told Portada. “We take a lot of our really granular Adobe-level data, users’ actions on our website, and within that we are blending in different types of data using a lot of third-party sources to enrich that data.”

Seth Holladay, CNN

Audience information drawn from third parties includes data from Alexa and Google Home smart speakers that, while not directly connected to CNN, still provides valuable insights, Holladay said.

We have increasing interest from Hispanic audiences across the world in what is happening in the U.S.

 

 

Connecting the dots with mobile

To further close gaps in audience data analysis, CNN looks at data drawn from consumers’ mobile advertising IDs.There is an ability to connect the dots with mobile advertising IDs, what people are doing and the online behavior data from Adobe, and then match those with the advertising side to create a richer picture of the audience,” Holladay explained.

CNN has a “number of initiatives underway” to deploy AI and machine learning to analyze the data it collects. But human decision making is still a key component of how CNN uses data to guide its content decisions.

“From a business perspective, at our core we are a news service. We have a lot of editorial oversight so that will remain the main driver in our decision making.”

 

Multi-cultural advantage

CNN en español allows CNN to isolate the Hispanic audience in a unique and discreet way, Holladay noted.

And the current political climate in the U.S. has turned into a plus for driving new Hispanic viewers to CNN’s properties.

We are blending lots of different data.

 

“What we have now is a platform for people that want to consume news in both languages. We have an increasing interest from Hispanic audiences across the world in what is happening in the US,” Holladay told Portada.CNN discusses audience data analysis

Moreover, CNN en español also allows the news network to draw a deep understanding of content preferences in the different countries in Latin America where it is available. This is also very useful for audience data analysis.

“One of the most basic things we collect is the geography of the user,” Holladay said.

 

Informing editorial decisions

First, CNN collects and analyzes “tons of signals” to understand its visitors. The company examines what digital properties they’re clicking on, what causes them to leave a site, and their digital touchpoints.

Then, it deploys a real-time dashboard to give its editorial professionals a true picture of the impact of content. In this way, they see “what types of topics and subjects resonate with different types of audiences,” Holladay said.

 

What: In order to drive content strategy, brands need quality, granular data. As #PortadaLA panelists discussed, digital media allows gathering precise data that serves as a good starting point to make media, budget, and attribution decisions.
Why it matters: Content is one of the best ways to connect with consumers, but there is a need to develop better tracking methodologies and newer data tools that can be leveraged to reach the Hispanic audience more effectively.

By Ryan Orvis, guest Portada contributor.

 

The relationship between data and content formed the basis of ‘How Data and Content Continue to Fuel the Evolving World of Advertising’, a Portada Los Angeles panel discussion led by Guillermo Arduino, CNN Anchor and Correspondent for Encuentro (CNN en Español). Joining in the conversation were Caro D’Antuono, Vice President of Marketing for Northgate Markets; Frances Rubio, Multicultural Marketing Analytics Manager for GroupM; Roxane Garzon, Media Director for Casanova; and Robin Garfield, Senior Vice President of Research and Scheduling for CNN.

Robin Garfield and Frances Rubio

A key takeaway from the panel was the need for quality, granular data to drive content strategy. This is particularly crucial for the Hispanic market, where there is a strong need for a common currency of audience measurement.

The panelists discussed utilizing data to construct a user profile as a starting point. “Who are we connecting with, and where is there an opportunity?” asked Caro D’Antuono. “Most of the time [content] resonates with a specific audience whether it’s male or female, a specific age group, or a language preference.”

Roxane Garzon explained how digital media allows us to hone in on a specific consumer to gather precise behavioral data. This data can then be leveraged to make decisions on media, budget, and attribution.

Roxane Garzon

For Frances, the process begins by looking at all data sources —including social, syndicated, and internal— to understand who the audience is. “There is no single source of truth,” she explained, describing the importance of a data-agnostic approach.

Robin discussed using real-time data to discern what people are thinking as opposed to what actions they are taking. “First we want to think about the people. Data is a representation of the audience and what people are doing. It’s one part of the research ecosystem. What’s really important is that we connect the data to audience insights.

Data is only as good as where you’re getting it from— especially in multicultural [marketing],” explained Roxane, outlining the challenges of attributing data to specific points in the sales funnel. This is especially difficult for smaller businesses, for whom multicultural audience data is expensive and relatively scarce.

Caro D’Antuono and Guillermo Arduino

Caro described content as one of the best ways for advertisers to connect with multiple users at different stages of the funnel, something that has become increasingly necessary with developments in media and technology. “The world is changing so much faster outside of our organization. Everything from the media landscape, to the consumer, to everything they have access to is changing so rapidly.”

Frances stressed the importance of developing better methodologies for tracking the Hispanic audience, especially as younger audiences grow increasingly diverse. This includes using multiple data sources to develop a fuller view of the audience and working with partners to develop new tools for data collection.

“It’s a fascinating time for us to be able to push the way forward,” she said. “[We] need to focus on speaking to growth opportunity segments, and those who don’t will be left behind.”

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