For decades, marketers have been taught to focus annual media investments around major, tentpole events such as new product launches, store openings, and pop culture. Companies frequently view this style of activation as a way to make the biggest impact. While there is a place for this “go big” approach, it’s simply not the way consumers shop any longer.
- Consumers have short memories when it comes to ad recall, meaning the impact of an ad campaign begins to decline as soon as the campaign ends. This phenomenon is known as “decay” and is measured as a “media half-life”. As the media impact decays, consumer recall of a brand will fall, taking sales in the same direction.
- Another problem is that once the media impact has begun to decline, it can actually require a higher level of investment to get consumer awareness and recall back to peak levels. While it may appear to save money in the short-term, the approach will likely increase costs in the long run.
- The additional investment brands are making to overcome media decay is money they could have spent to make additional increases in consumer awareness and ad recall, strengthening their brand for long-term growth.
One specific example of this comes from a Household Cleaning Product, which has run numerous campaigns with AdAdapted. The brand ran a 5 month campaign from March to July followed by a 2 month break July to September, and then another campaign from September to January. The chart below shows the increase in brand-specific purchases relative to other household categories. It is easy to see the increase in purchases during each campaign and the dip when the media went dark. Additionally, you can see that the purchases in the second campaign were actually higher than in the first campaign, a result of increased loyalty driving repeat purchases in addition to winning new consumers. Running always-on campaigns results in more consistent and efficient sales growth.
Chart above: KEY INSIGHTS – Brand X ran two campaigns with AdAdapted in 2020, split by a gap of 2 months. The brand saw a significant increase in its brand added to shopping lists with the second campaign seeing a higher peak. However, the break in the campaign caused growth to slow.