IAB-SEAIndia-Analytics-balancing short term long term

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Marketers are in a bind to produce immediate returns amidst revenue pressures. With long term impacts only measurable over time, investing in the long term is often undermined by short term demands. Evidence suggests that this hurts overall marketing effectiveness, defined by a brand’s ability to turn short term acquisition into retention and loyalty.

Striking a balance between short term impacts and long term objectives requires a solid measurement framework to attribute success across platforms, devices and media. Data is everywhere but this does not mean that it is easily accessible. According to Kantar Millward Brown’s Getting Media Right 2018 report, only 12% of marketers in APAC have access to all the data they need. For that reason, identifying the right KPIs and data sources is more important than ever to be successful.


The Dilemma of Short Term Impact vs Long Term Effectiveness

A marketer’s ability to prioritize resources and make the right strategic calls in their advertising plans requires identifying the right KPIs. In the climate of revenue pressures where organisations are moving towards budgeting practices that require deeper scrutiny of every need and cost (such as zero-based budgeting), the tendency to favour avenues that bring in direct sales and functions more easily justifies their impact on the bottomline.

Identifying the right KPIs is especially hard for challenger brands with less resources available for measuring effectiveness and a higher focus on short-term gains. Yet, marketers recognize the importance of balancing long and short term KPIs. 81% of marketers in APAC acknowledged that the most important measurement of ROI is a combination of short and long term metrics, but only 45% of them actually do it. 43% solely measure short term KPIs and 12% measure long term ones only, revealed Kantar Millward Brown.

The dilemma of tactical campaigns for short-term impact versus brand campaigns for long term benefits has been explored at length by numerous research bodies. As IPA’s study indicates, combining both Brand and Tactical campaigns can more than double the effectiveness of running activation channels alone.


Source: The Long and Short of It, IPA, 2013

Effectiveness also starts to taper off when the brand-tactical budget ratio varies too much. As IPA’s study shows, business effects are more apparent when brand building budget ranges between 50-70%.


This puts marketers in a challenging position as long term effectiveness is only measurable, as the name suggests, over a longer period but investments to build these long term effects needs to start now.

According to a study by Wunderman with 250 senior business decision makers from global brands, 72% said they are future focused, but conversely 70% won’t sacrifice short term gains for long term benefits. This begs the question of how can we measure effectiveness in the absence of a straightforward way to attribute success.


Holistic Measurement Framework for Short Term Wins and Long Term Gains

One of the biggest challenges faced today is how to have holistic measurement that helps marketers make the right decisions across platforms, devices as well as online and offline media. Our consumers move seamlessly across these touchpoints and the boundaries we experience from an advertiser perspective of walled gardens and digital versus the “real” world is completely blurred to them. Our measurement should also mirror those behaviours.

Global research conducted across marketers, revealed the main data gap lies on cross platform and cross device measurement – this is also true in APAC.

Attributing Performance Throughout the Journey

In 2017, IAB SG published a whitepaper on “Connecting the Dots: Guidelines for Marketers to Strengthen Measurement Frameworks”. It uses the consumer journey and its stages to guide the planning of consumer-centric strategies and defining of campaign objectives and associated metrics to measure and optimise marketing performance. In particular, proxies (or surrogate measures) can be used to infer a campaign’s impact and should be built into an organization’s measurement framework to account for both short and long term effectiveness.



As a follow-up to the white paper, we will explore further sophisticated approaches for mid and long term measurement using a combination of techniques, including deterministic and probabilistic approaches. A simple and visual way to view the different techniques would be to organize them in a T shape:


At the top of the T shape is the most strategic and complex measurement, that measures all marketing actions collectively, linking these actions to sales. Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) in its different forms is still the most powerful technique; it measures how the different marketing investments such as media campaigns, distribution, price and promotions contribute to sales. Moving to the bottom of the T-shape are long term tactical and short term measurement methods, linked to brand and specific media and digital activations.

Marketers have to be diligent on the metrics and measurement used; some are still using campaign metrics as a proxy to long term growth and brand impact metrics. Evidence shows how, for example, CTRs are not a good predictor of those.

Source: Can Rich Media Metrics Predict Brand Impact?, Ken Mallon, Kantar Millward Brown and Rick Bruner, Google


Marketers today still struggle to unify processes to measure cross-channel and cross-device marketing success and long term effectiveness, where we then are trapped into decisions and measurement methods that are short term in nature.

Using the T-Shape guide to establishing a customer-centric data driven measurement framework enables marketers to:

  • Identify customers and properly segment them.
  • Personalize the customer experience or journey across multiple touchpoints.
  • Measure the effects of multiple touchpoints on that single customer.
  • Turn those measurement insights into actions such as optimizing marketing and media mix or leveraging predictive scoring to optimize customer engagement.

If we put the same KPIs in a T Shape framework:

Using Short Term and Long Term Metrics to Build Customer Relationships – Long Term Loyalty Starts with Short Term Interactions

While the above portion of this paper focused is principally focused on the acquisition of customers in a measured and cost effective manner, three numbers tell us that post-purchase relationship marketing can no longer be ignored:

  • 500% – Depending on which study you resonate with, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one
  • 67% – How much more returning customers spend vs. new ones
  • 16% – The percentage of APAC audiences using ad blockers on mobile. This number should continue to grow as we speak

Whilst the costs and challenges of short-term acquisition are growing, longer term loyalty offers many opportunities including loyalty programs, CRM messaging, service products and even basic remarketing. However, not all are right for every brand and rather than focusing on tactics, the first thing brands must understand is post-purchase customer perception.

One tool to track this is Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS can used as an overall brand metric, or can be tracked on a product/service basis. The greater the granularity the greater the understanding of how loyalty and post-purchase relationship marketing can be improved to drive business performance.

While NPS serves as a guide to understanding brand / product health, the ultimate ambition for marketers today should be to use loyalty data to better understand lifetime value (LTV).

Whilst complex due to the volume of potential data inputs and time, LTV provides a unique perspective on where and with whom brands should be investing. And in that regard, LTV offers clues into how best to acquire the most valuable customers. For example, if a brand has mapped out the behavioural cues and triggers of their most loyal and valuable customers across the full purchase journey, then look-a-likes can be identified and targeted to fulfil short-term acquisition targets.

In this manner, brands are able to use LTV based on the the data of existing customers, to optimise the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and to balance and prioritise spend across top of funnel marketing.



The rise of digital marketing enables marketers a more precise view of the user and increase relevancy of ads with data and technology. Brands are able to establish an individual relationship with the user through personalized, one-to-one communication. For marketers on the journey to attaining the holy grail of user retention and loyalty in the long run, having a holistic framework of short term and long term impacts of your marketing efforts serve as essential roadmaps.


IAB SEA+India Analytics Committee
  • Eunice Loh, Associate Director, Global Client Solutions, Wavemaker
  • Justin Peyton, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, Digitas APAC
  • Pablo Gomez, Head of Media, North Asia, South East Asia & Pacific, Kantar Insights Division
  • Susi Pokar, Head of Data Solutions, Dentsu Aegis Japan