Home Publishers Future Predicts In-House Measurement Will Spur More US Ad Spend

Future Predicts In-House Measurement Will Spur More US Ad Spend


Publishers are facing more uphill battles this year, given Google’s third-party cookie deprecation plans and the rise of generative AI-powered search.

To prepare, they will need to drum up more demand from advertisers and show their worth.

Future – the UK-based publisher of Tom’s Guide, Marie Claire and Guitar World – is expanding its in-house measurement stack to entice more spend from existing clients and get more US brands to advertise across its portfolio, said Anna Norfolk, the company’s senior insight manager.

Today Future announced the release of its Effectiveness Suite, which includes a new “lite” version of its campaign measurement offering for smaller and midsize campaigns and a new automated brand lift measurement feature for digital-only campaigns.

Survey-based solutions

As it worked with clients over the past two years, Future’s insights team noticed pent-up demand for more measurement capabilities to assist in driving better campaign outcomes, Norfolk said. In particular, advertisers wanted a slimmed-down version of its existing tool to measure midsize campaigns.

Campaign Effect, the Effectiveness Suite’s flagship product, has, up to this point, mostly focused on measuring large-scale cross-platform campaigns conducted by UK-based brands. Future began offering an iteration of the product outside the UK starting in 2022. Now, it is generally available in the UK and US, with plans to expand to other geos across Future’s global footprint. And the lite version can be used for campaigns with smaller and midsize budgets or for campaigns whose channel mix or campaign objectives don’t require the full-scale version.

Whether a campaign uses the standard version of Campaign Effect or the lite version depends on factors like the campaign’s budget, reach and target audience, said Future CRO Zack Sullivan. The decision of which solution to use will be made during the precampaign launch stage.

In addition, the insights team has some wiggle room to tailor the measurement approach to specific campaigns when required, Sullivan added.

Both Campaign Effect and the lite version are survey-based solutions aimed at measuring the attention consumers paid to ads on Future sites. They weigh three criteria: how closely the user read or watched the ad, how unique the ad was compared to ads for similar products and whether they can recall the brand featured.

Future emails an extensive survey to individual users to assess their attention to ads based on the above criteria. Campaign Effect surveys include about 30 questions, whereas surveys for the lite version include about 20. User responses are used to calculate an average attention score based on Future’s own attention metric, and these scores are compared to past campaign benchmarks. (Future has explored working with third-party attention metrics providers, but prefers to use its own in-house metric at this time, Norfolk said.)


AdExchanger Daily

Get our editors’ roundup delivered to your inbox every weekday.

To manage the surveys and aggregate their results, as well as institute frequency capping to ensure users aren’t inundated with surveys, Future works with UK-based research firm Differentology. Differentology also helps Future target the surveys to users at different ad exposure levels. And Future works with research technology provider Cint to create representative audiences for its surveys that are relevant to the specific brand running the campaign.

Rounding out the Effectiveness Suite is the new Brand Lift solution, which was created to fulfill demand for a measurement product focused solely on Future’s digital properties rather than campaigns that run across online and offline media.

For these studies, Future places code provided by Brand Metrics on its publisher pages. An on-page overlay serves a single survey question to select site visitors. These surveys assess factors like brand awareness, consideration, preference and the likelihood of completing a conversion action.

Brand Lift measurement functionality is currently integrated on about 50 sites in Future’s portfolio.

Demand in demand

It’s too early to say how much incremental demand the new measurement products will attract, but the suite is seeing plenty of adoption already. Between October and December, Future received bookings for 44 different campaign studies, Norfolk said.

Future’s need to court more ad business – especially in the US – is particularly pressing after a soft 2023. Its full-year ad revenue dropped 6% YOY, with its UK ad revenue declining 3% and US falling 8%.

In response to those numbers, CEO Jon Steinberg announced a plan in December to invest millions in shoring up the company’s US business. However, the creation of the Effectiveness Suite predates those investments and is not part of that initiative, Sullivan said.

In fact, Future is not actually making any additional investments in ad tech this year compared to previous years, Sullivan said. And the company’s monetization strategy remains unchanged, with no plans to grow ad tech’s share of revenue, he added. Future does not break down revenue from ad tech as a standalone measure in its financials. And it doesn’t consider the Effectiveness Suite to be an ad tech product but an in-house measurement capability that’s part of its wider market research offering.

The new measurement suite instead represents a continuation of Future’s existing in-house ad tech strategy, Norfolk said.

It also represents an effort to grow its insights service beyond a commercial focus to inform the monetization strategy of each of its publishing brands, Norfolk said. To facilitate this transformation, Future has doubled the size of its insights team over the past two years.

Now, the Effectiveness Suite is Future’s attempt to surface insights that matter to advertisers and that demonstrate the unique value of each publisher brand, with the ultimate goal of attracting and retaining ad spend.

Providing this type of hands-on service through an in-house offering is necessary because digital advertisers are drowning in data, Norfolk said. “So, we try to give the data a human touch and tell a story with our insights to support it.”

Must Read

LG Electronics

Alphonso Shareholders Win Their Suit Against LG Electronics Over Corporate Board Drama

After being summarily booted from the board of LG Ads in late 2022, Alphonso’s founding team has won its lawsuit against LG Electronics.

Bye-Bye Sizmek! Amazon Advances Flashtalking And Smartly As Alternatives In Advance Of The Shutdown

According to emails seen by AdExchanger that were sent to Amazon customers this week, Amazon is officially naming integration partners to offload clients of the Sizmek ad suite, now the Amazon Ad Server.

2024 Promises More Premium Inventory – And Bigger Budgets – For In-Game Ads

Given the deprecation of third-party cookies and the reemergence of contextual targeting, 2024 could be a big year for in-game ads – so long as game publishers position themselves as a source of premium inventory.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters

AdExchanger’s Top 3 Connected TV Newsletter Issues Of 2023

This was such a busy year in CTV land that we had to launch a dedicated newsletter just to keep up with all the trends, from measurement, currency, targeting and attribution to streaming data, identity, supply-path optimization and new ad formats – just to name a few.

M&A 2023: Ad Tech Deals Were Muted, But That Could Be A Mark Of Maturity

Who got bought in 2023, and who did the buying? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the most notable ad tech M&A activity from this past year (with a few media and agency deals tossed in for good measure).

Comic: The Great Data Lakes

Snowflake Acquires Data Clean Room Startup Samooha

Snowflake has acquired Samooha, a startup that develops software to make clean room technology accessible to marketers who aren’t necessarily SQL wizards or data scientists.