Global Media Intelligence Report - Q4 2012



Where Math Men Meet Mad Men

Today’s marketers are leveraging “big data” to drive their marketing decisions. This report covers key insights into customer engagement and reach, cross-channel, as seen by one of the industries premiere media intelligence companies. The goal is to inform marketers on industry trends so they can increase the efficiency of their current media budget, resulting in increased reach and delivering new sales.

About the Report

The 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 Q4, 2012, over $100 million of media was bought based on the actionable insights provided through Neustar’s Media Intelligence Platform (MIP).

Neustar measured the aggregated data (approximately 150 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 channels as a major shift emerges in how marketing budgets are spent. The ability to bring offline data online to drive focused campaigns across channels and better understand audiences, reach, and drive conversions has emerged.

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 150 billion ad events, 35 billion impressions, and 780 thousand conversions. Some key trends seen from Q4 2012 include:

  • Exchanges and social deliver clicks and conversions at the lowest cost of any channel.
  • Social performs more than 2.5 times better than the indexed average in reach efficiency and its ability to reach exclusive users at the lowest cost.
  • Networks and exchanges perform 35 to 69 percent below the indexed average in reaching high-quality users that can consistently be marketed to.
  • When looking at which channels are seen most in the upper part of the attribution funnel, social and portal influence is the most undervalued.

Channel index keys include:

  • Exchanges
  • Networks
  • Portals
  • Social


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

Exchanges deliver clicks and conversions at the lowest cost (29 percent cheaper than the next best channel).

media intelligence report chart


Exchanges deliver clicks and conversions at the lowest cost. Looking at pure cost data, such as CPM, CPA, and CPC, only tells one side of the story. The lowest cost does not always mean it is the most efficient or effective at driving the key performance indicator (KPI) you care about. This is the type of data that most marketers use today to make media buying decisions be- cause it is what’s available; however, relying on this data alone is flawed and does not give you the full picture.


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

Social performs more than 2.5 times better than the Indexed average in reaching exclusive users at the lowest cost.

media intelligence report chart


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 exchanges that were the cheapest channel from a cost-only per- spective fall the most when looking at its ability to reach exclusive users. Social continues to perform well above average, pointing to its ability to deliver exclusive users not found on other channels at a low cost.


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

Networks and exchanges perform 35 to 69 percent below the indexed average in reaching high-quality users consistently.

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 ensure higher quality and deliver more sales. The data shows that both social and portals perform above the indexed average, pointing to their ability to deliver quality users. Now, with this type of data to rely on, marketers can look beyond costs alone to start to understand real user quality and value.


The Likelihood That a Channel Influenced Conversion in the Upper Funnel

Social and portal influence is the most undervalued when looking across the entire attribution funnel.

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 which channel is seen in the upper funnel vs. the conversion credit it gets, the data shows that social and portals gain the most value when looking at the funnel across all customer touch points (or via a multi-touch attribution model).

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 is the industry standard today despite its limitations.


Data Tables

Cost Index
Channel Score Index
Social -250
Portal 350
Network 250
Exchange -350
Reach Efficiency Index
Channel Score Index
Social 284
Portal 32
Network 62
Exchange 22
User Quality Index
Channel Score Index
Social 196
Portal 108
Network 65
Exchange 31
Funnel Attribution Index
Channel Score Index
Social 8
Portal 2
Network 0
Exchange -10



For this quarterly report, Neustar compiled data from a representative sample of its customer base. This includes 530 campaigns, accounting for 70 percent of Neustar’s total impression volume and 84 percent of conversions across approximately 150 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 500 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 impres- sions 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.