Global Media Intelligence Report - Q1 2013



Where Math Men Meet Mad Men

As the ad world continues to grow, reaching an expected $189 billion by 2016 according to eMarketer, digital ad spend will begin to make up a significant share of investment. Currently mNeustaring up about 25 percent of ad budgets, the increase in spend moving online is pushing marketers to leverage “big data” and invest cross-channel to drive their online marketing activities. This report covers key insights into cost, customer engagement and reach, and channel influence, as seen by the industy’s premiere media intelligence company. The goal is to inform marketers on industry trends in Q1 2013 (as compared to Q4 2012) so they can increase the efficiency of their current media budget, resulting in increased reach and delivering new sales.

About the Report

The Neustar Global Media Intelligence Report answers key questions such as:

  • Which channel delivers clicks and conversions at the lowest cost?
  • Which channel is most efficient at reaching new users not seen on other channels at the lowest cost?
  • Which channel has the highest quality users that can be marketed to consistently?
  • What channels are most undervalued or overvalued in a last-touch model?

Neustar has the data that Fortune 500 brands, advertisers, and agencies need to keep up with the explosion of digital channels and spend their media dollars more efficiently.

In Q1, 2013, over $120 million of media was bought based on the actionable insights provided through Neustar’s Media Intelligence Platform™ (MIP).

Neustar measured the aggregated data (approximately 130 billion ad events in the quarter) of the four most prevalent channels in the digital marketing world – exchanges, networks, portals, and social.


Marketers today are faced with many challenges around the explosion of digital channels as a major shift emerges in how marketing budgets are spent. According to a recent study by Accenture Interactive research, 66% of marketing executives plan to allocate at least 25% of their budget to digital marketing and nearly 23% plan to spend more than half on digital marketing. Given this, marketers must think smarter about which channels will deliver the best audiences, highest reach, and most conversions to both maintain and grow budgets in the future.

Neustar brings together media and audience data on a single platform so marketers can make decisions based on real-time information and analysis. Cross-channel visibility across exchanges, networks, portals, and social delivers command and control for marketers to adjust media spend on the fly to ensure the highest efficiency to maintain and grow their budgets over time.

This report delivers key findings from our analysis across approximately 130 billion ad events, 27 billion impressions, and 1.8 million conversions. Some key trends seen in Q1 2013 include:

  • Exchanges continue to be cost effective. Coming off the high season of Q4, portals delivered the lowest cost at 2.5X below the indexed industry average
  • Portals and social continue to drive reach efficiency, with portals improving 5X quarter/quarter
  • Social continues to deliver the highest quality users, performing 65% better than the industry overall and 33% better than the next best channel
  • Social influence in the attribution funnel increased 61% from Q4 highlighting its value when looking at all customer touch points

Channel index keys include:

  • Exchanges
  • Networks
  • Portals
  • Social


A Channel’s Cost in Relation to Driving Impressions, Clicks, and Conversions

Exchanges continues to deliver clicks and conversions at a low cost. Portals saw the most change in Q1, performing 2.5X better than the indexed industry average.

media intelligence report chart


Q4 represents the highest quarter of the year in terms of an advertisers spend across all channels. Due to the seasonally higher demand for high impact ad placements like home page tNeustareovers and sponsorship buys last quarter, we see the largest decrease in cost from Q4 to Q1 coming from portals as volume and spend normalized normalized towards seasonal trends. Social costs increased quarter over quarter as the advertiser mix shifted with new social entrants working to optimize their placements and frequency to align with social buying behavior.


A Channel’s Efficiency in Reaching New Users, Coupled with Exclusivity and Cost

Portals and social continue to drive reach efficiency, with portals improving 5X quarter over quarter.

media intelligence report chart


Sometimes more important than cost is the ability to efficiently reach users you care about. TNeustaring into account users that are “exclusively” found across each channel and the cost associated with reaching them, you see that portals that were an inexpensive channel from a cost-only perspective continue to perform well in its ability to reach exclusive users. This can be attributed to the rise in advertisers using second-party data overlayed on their media to make better informed decisions on who to target and with what message.


A Channel’s Ability to Reach a User That Can be Marketed to Consistently

Social continues to lead the way in its ability to consistently reach and market to quality users, performing 65% getter than the indexed industry average.

media intelligence report chart


The next step beyond reach efficiency is to look at a channel’s ability to deliver quality users. The goal of any marketer is to find new pockets of users that have not seen their message before and consistently market to these users to drive more sales. The data shows that both social and portals perform above the indexed average, while exchanges and networks fall short. This highlights the need for advertisers to better understand the frequency with which they are hitting their audience to ensure the best brand experience without inundating consumers leading to negative brand image.


The Likelihood That a Channel Influenced Conversion in the Upper Funnel

Social influence in the upper funnel increased 61% over Q4, signaling its ability to drive conversions when looking beyond just last touch.

media intelligence report chart


The final step in understanding where best to invest media dollars is in funnel attribution. Providing a more granular look at upper-funnel activity, this index exposes the fact that many channels get undue credit when looking at a pure last-touch attribution (LTA) model. TNeustaring into account the value of all customer touch points vs. just the last touch, the Q1 data showed that social improved significantly quarter over quarter in influencing conversions.

Networks and exchanges lose the most value as they are not as prevalent in the upper funnel, but get credit in the lower funnel via a last-touch model that only looks at the last click where a conversion took place.


Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 Data Tables

Cost Index
Channel Q4 Score Index Q1 Score Index
Social -250 150
Portal 350 -250
Network 250 250
Exchange -350 -150
Reach Efficiency Index
Channel Q4 Score Index Q1 Score Index
Social 284 145
Portal 32 162
Network 62 68
Exchange 22 25
User Quality Index
Channel Q4 Score Index Q1 Score Index
Social 196 165
Portal 108 124
Network 65 48
Exchange 31 64
Funnel Attribution Index
Channel Q4 Score Index Q1 Score Index
Social 8 13
Portal 2 -3
Network 0 -3
Exchange -10 -7



For this quarterly report, Neustar compiled data from a representative sample of its customer base. This includes 872 campaigns, accounting for 80 percent of Neustar’s total impression volume and 79 percent of conversions across approximately 130 billion ad events.

The methodology for data collection, analysis, and reporting consisted of multiple steps. Data was collected through the Neustar “pixel” (or “tag”), which was then ingested by the Neustar Media Intelligence Platform (MIP) using Neustar’s proprietary Summarizer technology. Neustar’s team of data scientists then worked with the platform, querying the MIP for channel-based performance and cost data, as well as target ability, overlap, and exclusive reach metrics. Neustar also looked over the raw event data for converting users to see whether or not those users had seen an ad on a particular channel (or combination of channels) further upstream, providing additional insight beyond that exposed by last-touch attribution.

Data represented covered over 600 different inventory providers across key vertical industries such as telecommunications, finance, retail, automotive, and consumer packaged goods.


Glossary of Terms

  • Ad Event: The delivery mechanism (envelope) for the impressions and audience data that Neustar counts and reports on.
  • Attribution: Credit, typically given to an ad for leading a user to a subsequent conversion.
  • Average Frequency: Amount of times a user sees an ad within x period of time within y channel.
  • Channel: Electronic mediums used for communication such as blogs, social networks, web portals, etc.
  • Click: A record that a user has clicked on a specific advertisement or message.
  • Conversion/Action: A record that a user has performed a particular action (purchase, acquisition, etc.).
  • Converter: A user who performs a conversion/action.
  • Cost Index: A comprehensive cost measure, encompassing eCPA, eCPC, and eCPM.
  • CPA: Cost per one conversion/action.
  • CPC: Cost per one click.
  • CPM: Cost per 1,000 impressions.
  • CPUU: Cost per unique user.
  • eCPA: The effective CPA of the data (total data cost/total number of conversions).
  • eCPC: The effective CPC of the data (total data cost/total number of clicks).
  • eCPM: The effective CPM of the media (total media cost/total number of impressions x 1,000).
  • eCPUU: The effective CPUU of the data (total data cost/number of unique users).
  • Exchange: Technology platform that facilitates the bidded buying and selling of online media advertising inventory from multiple ad networks.
  • Exclusive Reach: The size of audience reached that was not seen on any other channel (i.e., seen only on ad network and not on social, exchange, or other).
  • Frequency: Amount of times a user sees an advertisement.
  • Frequency Cap: Maximum number of ad impressions served to a user per day.
  • Funnel Attribution: A complete view of credit given to every touch point prior to and including a conversion (from first touch to last touch).
  • Impression: A record that an ad was shown (clicked or not).
  • LTA: The current industry standard for attribution. Last-touch attribution gives full attribution to the most recent ad event (either the most recent click, or if there are no clicks then the most recent impression).
  • MTA: Multi-Touch Attribution refers to attribution models that extend credit beyond the last touch. Neustar’s MTA solution is a time-based, multi-touch attribution model that provides credit to all ad events in a user’s history, with more credit going to ads closest to the conversion point.
  • Network: A company that connects advertisers to web sites that want to host advertisements. The key function of an ad network is aggregation of ad space supply from publishers and matching it with advertiser demand.
  • Portal: A website that brings information together from diverse sources in a uniform way.
  • Quality User: A user that was seen multiple times on a single channel within a specified period of time. Because the user is seen again, this generally means that their likelihood to click or convert is higher than a generic user who is seen only once and then never seen again. This qualification is used to eliminate the poorest quality users that are the most difficult to target or track in the future.
  • Reach Efficiency: Impressions x CPUU x exclusive reach.
  • Social: Includes any company that drives campaigns directly through a social media channel or website that is focused on enabling users to be part of a community.
  • Stack Rank: Ranking several metrics against each other to determine a scoring value.
  • User Quality Index: Represents the ability to consistently market to quality users.

Only inventory providers with a meaningful amount of impressions are included in this report. When selecting items for inclu- sion in the report, Neustar’s data science team selected metrics that were clear and meaningful. Granular measures were broken down along many categories, which resulted in a large amount of data. Rather than reporting all of this data, the Neustar team chose to high- light those measures that give meaningful insights into the data set as a whole.

All data contained in this report is proprietary and owned by Neustar. Any and all data that you wish to use or redistribute needs the prior consent of Neustar.