Profit Ability from Thinkbox

By Alex Hurley, Director of Planning

Blockbuster Research

Last week Thinkbox launched an update to their 2018 blockbuster research Profit Ability, choosing the similarly blockbuster venue of BAFTA to premiere the sequel. 

Fortunately, with the short and long-term payback from over £1.8bn of media spend analysed, Profit Ability 2 looks to be much more akin to Godfather 2 than Jaws 2. So, look out for “nickable charts” coming to a PowerPoint near you… 

Whilst the full report will be published in the summer; we were treated to some of the highlights and the good news is that advertising is still paying back. With a risk of giving away too many spoilers, here are just some of our observations on what promises to be very influential research. 

TV’s kids are growing up.

It has been a popular mantra that TV is not dead it is just growing up and having kids. This remains true; however, it is clear those kids are growing into sensible adults with some very sensible profit ROIs.  

Social might have growing up to do? 

Dr Grace Kite has often drawn parallels with our use of digital channels and Gartner’s Hypecycle. The argument being that we have passed through the “peak of inflated expectations” and the “trough of disillusionment” to a happier place of knowing how to use them effectively.  

Profit Ability 2 supports this, though different digital channels are at different phases. Whereas PPC & online Display would appear to be moving towards the “plateau of productivity,” social has been more challenging for many and as a result has seen ROI slide.  

Increased fragmentation = a vital appreciation of nuance

As the media landscape evolves and fragments, appreciating nuance is becoming increasingly important. Whilst the civil servant riposte “it depends” might be a frustrating conclusion, the marked changes in channel performance from category to category was striking.  

Amen to leaving brand vs. performance behind

Having whinged ad-nauseum to colleagues about the often-damaging cliff-edge of “brand and performance” it is pleasing to see a growing consensus on the danger of this false dichotomy.  

Profit Ability 2’s proposed shift to understanding the required efficiency, time & scale is a laudable attempt, though I can’t shake the feeling that “time” is an awkward newcomer to a familiar scale. 

Shared language is critical for widespread understanding

The presenters did an excellent job of making the complex seem simple. Largely because they were clear and consistent in their definitions.  Widespread adoption of their response horizons of immediate (1 week), carryover (2-13 weeks) and sustained (14 weeks – 2 years) would help us all.