Since the dawn of time (well…digital advertising time), marketers have relied on last-click attribution to measure the performance of their media. With the rapid growth of Connected TV (CTV), where advertisers can target and track their desired audience across multiple streaming TV channels and devices, many questions have emerged.

A common question we hear is, “How do I measure the performance of an ad that is not clickable?” Many advertisers and agencies, including Barrington Media Group, use incrementality testing to answer this question.

What is incrementality testing?

Incrementality testing is a method used to determine the amount of lift generated from an advertiser’s campaign. By measuring the incrementality driven by a specific media tactic, advertisers/brands can clearly see how many additional conversions were generated compared to those who would have converted without it. Simply put, it is a way to quantify the true impact of investing in a new marketing effort, such as CTV.

How does it work?

First, determine the performance metrics that should be analyzed. For example, you can look at homepage visits, leads, app installs, purchases, etc.

Incrementality analyzes the performance between two groups within your target audience: the test group – those who are served the specific ad or ads, and the control group – those who are not exposed (but are exposed to other paid/organic marketing efforts).

A positive incremental test shows that the group that was exposed to the media tactic performed better than the group that was not exposed.

Why is it important, from a performance perspective?

CTV has long been considered to be mainly an awareness tactic, used to drive incremental reach alongside traditional TV buys. While this is an effective strategy for many brands, those that are looking for the mid-to low-funnel impact of traditional performance channels like Search and Social are beginning to invest more of their advertising spend on CTV. One of the biggest reasons for this is the benefit that incrementality testing provides for non-clickable media.

We recently added a month-long CTV campaign for a client alongside their usual performance channels of Search and Social. At the conclusion of the campaign, CTV drove a 91.10% conversion lift against various actions taken across the client’s site. This insight allowed them to optimize their campaign to create more efficiencies and maximize ROAS.

Our recommendations for implementing incrementality testing:

BMG uses an automated process that leverages bid stream data from programmatic buying. Through our buying process, the platform automatically creates a holdout group of households that were within our target audience but were not served the ad due to a lost bid. This group is then compared to our exposed group that did convert.

Other common methods of incrementality testing are geo-testing, or Public Service Ads (PSA) testing (comparing your ads to “dummy ads” like a public service announcement). Unlike these traditional methods, our approach does not require any upfront planning or budget to be assigned, and is automatically “built-in.” Essentially, the only requirement is that the level of conversions generated is statistically significant.

Pairing incrementality testing with agile creative optimization can bring even stronger efficiencies. The ability to take the insights gathered from testing and adjust your creative instantaneously allows you to eliminate wasteful spending because you’re able to constantly optimize for the ads that are driving the highest conversions at the lowest costs.

Any brand that is looking to track its ad performance at any point in the funnel, from awareness all the way to purchase, can benefit from incrementality testing. As long as the data is statistically significant, you can run an incrementality test, even without a large investment – and the insight gained from incrementality is a powerful tool in any brand’s overall advertising strategy.