We Like it When they Give us Big Data: Forecasting Campaign Success With Staffan Hulten

First impressions are everything. When thinking about the elements needed to make a great advertising campaign, many start off with contemplating messaging, visuals and platforms for distribution. But the Vice President of Research and Analysis of Media (RAM) Staffan Hulten takes a different approach. He recognizes if you don’t catch the attention of the audience within seconds, the campaign is in jeopardy of failure. This makes understanding each member of the client’s audience from an independent level essential for campaign success.

We’re excited to highlight Staffan as our expert speaker for the October monthly AZIMA event and pick his brain about what it really takes to forecast the success of any ad campaign.

Using big data to create meaningful and memorable campaigns for audiences is key according to Hulten. As a founding partner of RAM, he works closely with traditional and digital media clients to develop robust research panels that truthfully mirror their client’s viewers, readers and listeners. This helps to dig down into the roots of the media medium and determine the most effective ways to reach their key audiences with their campaigns.

According to Hulten, with over 75 million interviews locked in and an additional ½ million interviews being added to their database every month, RAM is the Ikea for media data. This data gives RAM the ability to identify industry fallacies to provide valuable consultancy and education so their clients can focus on what matters most: generating results.

“A code that is placed on print and mobile ads can be monitored to measure different individual aspects of a user,” said Hulten. “Not many people want to know that they are being shadowed, but we can see exactly what they do and how frequently they do it.” That information is helping analysts and big brands learn.

Hulten notes that not everything users do online is being watched. Select things are examined to better understand consumer habits. Another big change in the industry is the ability to evaluate device preference. RAM evaluates their panel members by listing out the devices they use, which allows them to ensure a more accurate representation of preference and frequency of usage for devices and browsers.

Hulten stresses how important it is to get information from the individual level rather than the browser level. Tracing something like “reach” which is measured differently for every channel is not as accurate as measuring memory traces. Asking panel members and people if they remember a campaign and gathering data on that is much more relevant.

“If I let go of 1 million balloons outside of my hotel, I would have a reach of 1 million,” said Hulten. “But if no one sees it or resonates with it, it won’t have any impact. There are often huge campaigns with no impact at all.”

Staffan grew up in Sweden, moved to East Africa for several years then moved back to Sweden, where he attended University and currently lives. He and his partner founded RAM after noticing a big hole in the media evaluation market. What surprised them most was even though they were focused on print, any other form of media was simpler to provide feedback on. So they set out to make a system that made monitoring more lateral.

When he is not advancing campaigns with tactical data, you can find Hulten enjoying guitar music festivals and practicing his juggling skills for laughs. He advises colleagues and individuals entering this field to be open and very quick to understand and adapt to what really counts. Traditional measurement evaluation is still important, but analysts should be aware that they should monitor the things that result in impact or change

If you are interested in learning more about the world of marketing, be sure to attend our monthly events by signing up as an AZIMA member here: http://joinazima.org/join-azima/

Megan Breinig

With four years of experience in PR and marketing, Megan Breinig has worked closely with clients such as the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Lottery. Employing her strong writing skills, she has made key contributions to blogs and social media campaigns, and has implemented foundational PR strategy on behalf of her clients.

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