Tech Talk with three members of Omnicom’s data and analytics team

"It is truly a new world in terms of measuring and even predicting the outcomes of our campaigns,” says Omnicom PR Group’s Erin Lanuti.

(Left to right) Erin Lanuti, Jonathan Nelson and Mary Elizabeth Germaine
(Left to right) Erin Lanuti, Jonathan Nelson and Mary Elizabeth Germaine

Last month, Omnicom Public Relations Group launched OmniearnedID, an analytics platform to help communicators validate the impact of earned media on brand sales.  

Here Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital; Erin Lanuti, chief innovation officer at Omnicom PR Group; and Mary Elizabeth Germaine, partner and MD of analytics and insights at Ketchum chat with PRWeek's Aleda Stam about the technology. 

What is OmnniearnedID in layman's terms? 

Lanuti: OmniearnedID is a precision communications platform that enables us to solve some of the PR industry's biggest challenges. The first is about precise audience insights and another is understanding who has consumed content, be it an article, social media post or influencer post. Typically in PR, we understand earned consumption simply on metrics, but now we can understand who the demographics are [citing], their purchase behavior, their interests, their media habits and more. 

OmniearnedID can also provide cultural intelligence, so we can understand what's going on in culture today and predict what's happening up to two years into the future with 90% accuracy. 

Germaine: If there is a negative story, we can use this technology to see if it really reached tens of millions of people or if it was only a thousand unique views on that one piece of content. It can really help us figure out the type of responses clients need in the time of a crisis.

Why is this something your clients have been asking for? 

Lanuti: Just look at influencer marketing for argument's sake. That's a space that has been growing dramatically. Some clients are investing tens of millions of dollars, and they're not really understanding the business outcomes. Is it driving the sale of my beauty product or my sneaker? This now gives them a way to not only answer that when they're running a campaign, but we can also pre-qualify influencers in advance against the potential sales of that influencer against a certain product or category. It is truly a new world in terms of measuring and even predicting the outcomes of our campaigns.  

What exactly is it measuring? 

Lanuti: OmniearnedID ties the actual anonymized ID of a customer to a sale, be it online or offline. We're linked to thousands of retailers to be able to map these things together.  

Germaine: For example, if we do an earned media and influencer program, we can track through that unifying ID to ecommerce sites or even brick and mortar retail sites. We can now make the attribution of how earned and influencer and social content is actually driving a lift in sales or some other business metric. But we do it while complying with global data privacy regulation. 

Who are your clients? 

Germaine: They're all over. We have clients who've used this in the consumer goods category, consumer tech and food. Healthcare is a big one. There are a lot of new datasets we're introducing related to healthcare providers, and we can now segment within the healthcare space based on low prescribers or high prescribers of specific drugs. We can build very targeted and informed audience strategies. 

Any misconceptions you've had to correct about analytics in communications?

Nelson: We spend a lot of time clearing up concerns about privacy, explaining why this is privacy compliant and a bit of the do's and don'ts. Then perhaps pitfalls that you might encounter further down the road if you use non-ethically sourced and activated data sets. 

What do you see for the future of this technology in communications? 

Nelson: I think the more you use these kinds of technology, the better you get at predicting people's behavior. You won't be 100% accurate, but you can be amazingly accurate in knowing A+B+C=outcome. What we're working on right now is building machine learning into the whole thing and automating it. I think it will make us a heck of a lot smarter, faster, better and more effective. 

Lanuti: Every single day, we find new uses for OmniearnedID and this technology. It evolves so rapidly, I've made it clear to everyone it's going to live in a continuous state of beta because we're discovering new insights every day. You will see tremendous change as more agencies come on board to this type of methodology platform because it is a new way of doing our craft in a much more data driven way.

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