NEW YORK: Choice Hotels, the owner of brands like Econo Lodge and Comfort Inns, has used in-depth media-mix modelling to refine its approach to programmatic ads, as part of a wider shift in its strategy.

Neena Graham, the organisation's senior director/marketing strategy analytics, discussed this topic while speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation's Audience Measurement 9.0 conference.

Working with Analytic Partners, a specialist measurement company, allowed Choice Hotels to implement a more holistic approach to media-mix modelling that pulled together its various existing streams of data.

An especially valuable lesson yielded from this exercise was the discovery that some web users were being exposed to its ads too frequently.

"In our first few rounds of insights, we really learned that we were over-serving ads to certain users," Graham said. (For more, including how the company generated incremental revenue via more precise modelling, read Warc's exclusive report: How Choice Hotels turned data into dollars.)

"And I'm not talking 20 ads per user: we were sending ads to people who had hundreds of ad exposures … This was pretty egregious from my perspective."

By way of a response – and to guarantee its ads are not wasted, but ultimately helping to drive bookings – some new rules were issued to its partners.

"We implemented frequency capping with specific partners, particularly from those that were programmatic, to boost efficiency and really make sure that we weren't wasting ads for no reason," said Graham.

As with finding the optimal frequency, Choice Hotels drilled down into what size of ads were delivering the best results.

It discovered that it was running many small ads – such as tiny text links – that were not having the desired effect, confirming an internal hypothesis it had not previously been able to prove.

"So we specified – again, particularly with our programmatic partners – that we would purchase specific ad sizes: namely, standard ad sizes," said Graham.

Data sourced from Warc