Media Trials


Media Trials are scientifically rigorous experiments that use next-gen research technology to quantify the effectiveness of new products and strategies.

The objective of our Media Trial program is to impartially prove the effectiveness of your unique ad products and/or media vehicles, and provide wide-scale marketing and PR for visibility.


The Humans vs. the Machines

September 19, 2018


LOS ANGELES – September 19, 2018 – Machine learning technology makes advertisers dramatically more effective at identifying and targeting the most receptive consumers, significantly increasing purchase intent as well as other KPIs, according to a study published today. Entitled “The Humans vs. The Machines,” the study was conducted and released by MAGNA, the intelligence, investment and innovation unit within IPG Mediabrands; and IPG Media Lab, the media futures and advisory arm of IPG Mediabrands; and true[X], the leader in attention-based advertising products.

The study analyzed three live ad campaigns utilizing UP//LIFT measurement technology powered by true[X], to determine if more impact is delivered over the course of a month when the campaign is managed with or without the assistance of machine learning — in effect, humans versus machines. Machines working with humans bested humans alone in virtually every category measured – including raising brand familiarity (machines: +6.2%, humans: +3.3%), brand interest (machines: +8.6%, humans +1.9%) and, perhaps most important purchase consideration (machines: +5.7%, humans +0.8%) and purchase intent (machines: +1.1%, humans +0.5%). Machine learning was also more economical, with only 3.08 ad exposures per consumers vs. 4.13 generated by humans required for brand recall.

“The goal of right message, right person, right time is a lot more complex than marketers realize, with dimensions like platform, location, duration, and live vs. on demand viewing all factoring in,” said David Cohen, president, NA, MAGNA. “It is a market that necessitates real-time optimization and the use of machine learning to deliver the best results for marketers.  We are excited to be able to quantify this impact with true[x] as a result of this study.”

A key learning from the study is that ad effectiveness surveys aimed at measuring brand lift should be shorter and to the point.  Long surveys not only have high dropout rates but induce fatigue, generating poor data and creating missed opportunities with hard to reach audiences.  Utilizing UP//LIFT’s “Brand Funnel Impact” (BFI) one-question survey overcomes these obstacles by asking consumers to self-report their position in a brand journey or “funnel” increasing survey completion rates from 67% to 93%.

“Streamlining traditional brand lift questionnaires into a one response brand funnel impact survey doesn’t just create a better user experience that can scale across devices, it generates more data, significantly increasing the representative sampling of a campaign’s reach,” said Jamie Auslander, SVP Research & Analytics, true[X]. “Higher volumes of observations then completely transform brand lift data from what have conventionally been performance notes post-campaign, to driving actionable data that machines can use to boost ROI in real time.”

“The Humans vs. The Machines” is the latest in MAGNA and IPG Media Labs’ media trial series. Recently, the companies explored the tangible impact of brand (un)safety in “The Brand Safety Effect”; harnessing the power of content creators with Twitter; the power of content targeting with Zefr; best practices for mobile ads in its “Battle of the Mobile Ad Formats” study;  360 video ads in its “The 360 Effect” report; the use of haptic technology in mobile video ads in its “Ads You Can Feel: The New Mobile Ad Experience” study and the impact of viewability on performance based campaigns in its “Pulling Back the Curtain: Viewability + Direct Response” report.

Read the Full Report here

The Age of the Creator: Promoting in a Social Environment

June 21, 2018

by TYLER VAUGHT and MEGHANN ELRHOUL. Published by TWITTER on 21 June 2018.

The Power of Creators on Twitter

By ‎@tylervaught‎ and ‎@megel‎

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The concept of brands partnering with creators to produce ads is not something new. Take a scroll through the numerous social feeds on your phone and you are bound to see branded content from a creator. For marketers today, it’s not “if” you should be partnering with creators but more so “why and how” to partner with them. What’s even more important for brands to understand is that there is a unique why and how for every platform – especially for Twitter.

To help brands and agencies better understand how to incorporate creator content into their Twitter strategy, we partnered with Magna and IPG Media Lab on a Twitter-sponsored study to analyze what brands and marketers should know about working with creators, how to optimize creator content, and what they have to gain from working with creators.


Creators are today’s celebrities. They are not just influential – they entertain, inform and inspire audiences by sharing original content every single day. On Twitter, they are more than just a part of  “What’s Happening.” In fact, 2 of 3 Twitter users agree that creators actually change and shape culture*. In many instances, they are “What’s Happening.”

More than any other platform, Twitter is about conversation. Creators turn to Twitter to build a community, and their followers come to the platform to connect directly with the creators they love the most. In fact, 61% of Twitter users follow a creator, more so than on any other platform*.

When individuals who carry a wealth of influence and creativity become more accessible and their thoughts and conversations more transparent, audiences begin to trust those individuals. People look to creators for recommendations over online reviews, brand Tweets, and traditional TV and digital ads when it comes to what to buy, where to go, and what to watch. Today’s word-of-mouth marketing is often driven by creators on Twitter.

“The results of this media trial proved that creator content is a valuable asset for brands. To keep up with the fast-moving pace of social environments, branded creator content is a quick, easy, and affordable way for advertisers to impact consumers,” Kara Manatt, SVP Intelligence Solutions & Strategy at MAGNA.


Creators are unique in that they care just as much about the content they produce as the brand does – first and foremost, original content is their livelihood. In order to ensure their content feels authentic, 94% of creators look for brands that connect with their style and image*. They want to work with brands that share a common aesthetic, and partner to create content that feels true to their message and their audience.

Creators also want to be more than just a production resource – collaboration is key to successful creator-driven marketing campaigns. 93% of creators look for brands that want to hear their ideas and tap into their voice*. Creators are experts at eliciting a response from their audience and brands should trust this expertise. Provide guidelines but let the creator come back with ideas that feel genuine to their feed.


When you partner with creators in a way that feels authentic, all parties will benefit. Brand metrics are higher across the board when creators are recognized as genuine. These include:

  • +61% increase in brand favorability
  • +88% increase in purchase intent
  • +64% increase in recommendation intent*.

In fact, branded content from creators drives increased view times for those ads on Twitter. Audiences on Twitter spend 24% more time watching an ad from a creator, because they are more genuine and trustworthy*. This in turn drives significant impact to lower funnel metrics. Twitter users who recall an ad from a creator show a +39% increase in brand favorability, and +41% increase in purchase intent, versus ads recalled that were produced by brands*.


Finally, once you understand “why” and “how” to work with creators – you also need to determine the best way to connect with them. From a creator’s standpoint, they’d much rather work with experts in the space who can effectively translate the brand’s needs while supporting creators’ creative integrity.

For brands on Twitter, Niche is your solution. Niche is Twitter’s talented team of Strategists and Content Managers who connect brands on Twitter with the world’s best creators to reach an audience through premium, original content. Niche has one of the largest and most diverse community of creators in the world and understands fully how to optimize branded creator content across any category.

In addition to custom content needs, Twitter also just launched Creator Originals, a new program that enables creators to produce their own high-end content series. Brands can partner now with creators on programs, in line with our in-stream video sponsorship offerings.

Creators are what’s happening on Twitter – and with Niche, it’s easier than ever to partner with them for powerful branded content.


We conducted a research study with Magna and IPG Media Lab in a two-phased approach, using a creator perspective and consumer perspective. In Phase 1, the creator perspective, we partnered with Niche to survey creators in the US and UK and understand the creator experience of making content and the process in working with brands (n=171). In Phase 2, the consumer perspective, we surveyed participants in the US from a representative online panel via a mobile survey (n=3,251). We first asked demographic and media consumption behavior questions and then participants were asked to view their Twitter feed to determine their ad experience. We tested promoted content and leveraged a post experience survey to measure traditional brand metrics. This was done across 12 brands and 9 industry verticals.

*Twitter + Magna IPG Media Lab, ‘Art of the Creator’, 2018
Read the Full Study Here

Skipping Around the World: Optimizing Skippable Video

May 10, 2018

We examined ad skipping behavior in 10 countries to understand how to maximize ad performance.  

Read the full report here

Battle of the Mobile Ad Formats

May 7, 2018

With consumers increasingly spending more time with their smartphones than with television, advertisers are shifting more of their budget to mobile.  As a result, brands are adopting mobile-specific ads rather than simply repurposing content designed for other channels (i.e. linear TV).  “Battle of the Mobile Ad Formats” is the first study to test the efficacy of these new vs. traditional formats (i.e. 6 second non-skippable vs 15-second non-skippable, 360-degree video vs. non-360 degree video, native vs. standard display, etc.), analyze consumer response to them and offer recommendations to advertisers on which mobile strategies to employ.

Read the Full Report Here

Content Targeting: Driving Brand Growth without Collecting User Data

May 1, 2018

LOS ANGELESMay 1, 2018 – Zefr, a technology company that provides content targeting solutions for brands advertising on YouTube, today announced the results of an in-depth study conducted by MAGNA the intelligence, investment and innovation unit within IPG Mediabrands, and IPG Media Lab, the media futures and advisory arm of IPG Mediabrands, which examined if brands can effectively reach consumers on YouTube without relying on audience data. Commissioned in response to advertisers’ mounting concerns around data, safety and privacy on the platform, the study captured the reactions of over 3000 consumers as they were exposed to the same advertisements delivered via three popular methods: content targeting, demo targeting and channel targeting.

The study revealed content targeting over all other methods, to be the most effective approach for brands looking to capture the interest of desired audiences. It also found content targeting to be an especially formidable foe to ad skipping, which is one of the industry’s most persistent and widespread obstacles. In fact, ads that were viewed as being relevant to content were less likely be skipped on mobile devices. According to the study, consumers who were fed ads via content targeting on mobile achieved up to 34 percent higher completion rates over other targeting methods, and they found content targeting to be up to 33 percent less intrusive than channel or demo targeting as well.

“The way advertisers operate on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is under more scrutiny than ever before,” said Rich Raddon, co-CEO of ZEFR. “Between questions on audience data collection, brand safety concerns and legal challenges like GDPR, brands are in need of a new approach that will help them reach the right audiences in a safe and suitable way. We’ve long been big believers in the power of content targeting at the video level, and how it can help brands effectively reach consumers without relying on audience data or violating their privacy, but this study takes our information to a whole new level. It is clear that content targeting is the most powerful and effective approach for brands advertising on YouTube available in the marketplace today.”

The study, conducted over the first quarter of 2018, tested how content targeting (when a video advertisement is directly aligned with content at the video level), demo targeting (when a video advertisement uses demographic signals to reach desired audience) and channel targeting (when a video advertisement is run on popular YouTube channels) performed across campaigns from Hulu, Jeep and a major CPG brand.

Yet, while the study points to consumers’ appreciation of content targeting, it also shows that when ads are misaligned with content, it can annoy desired audiences. In fact, some respondents went so far as to say that when they viewed an ad that seemed misaligned, they felt the advertiser didn’t know what they were doing and that they didn’t care about their potential customers. And, worse yet, when ads ran in front of misaligned content, it could easily become detrimental to brand perception.

To help ensure brands align with the right content and meet their brand safety requirements, Zefr’s unique video-level content targeting solution enables advertisers to have a highly curated YouTube environment, in which every video is vetted for safety. This video-level, content-first solution differs from channel level solutions, which traditionally evaluate channels based on their past history, popularity and subscriber count. As an added safety measure, Zefr also leverages this video-level approach to measure the suitability of entire channels for brands. This ensures that disreputable or toxic channels are not included in Zefr’s inventory. Thousands of toxic channels, and all of their videos, have been deemed ineligible for Zefr’s curated whitelist solution.

For more information about Zefr and the company’s approach to content targeting, please visit

About Zefr
Zefr is a technology company that provides content targeting solutions at scale for brands advertising on YouTube. Unlike other YouTube advertising solutions that focus on audience, Zefr’s advanced technology dissects content at the video level to ensure every brand message is delivered in the right context and against the right premium content every time. This in turn ensures that all brand messages are not only safe but are brand suitable. As a result of its unique offering, the company has built up a robust client roster that includes major brands across retail, automotive, beauty, entertainment, music, and more. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with offices in New York, and Chicago. For more information, go to:

MAGNA is the centralized IPG Mediabrands resource that develops intelligence, investment and innovation strategies for agency teams and clients. We utilize our insights, forecasts and strategic relationships to provide clients with a competitive marketplace advantage.

MAGNA harnesses the aggregate power of all IPG media investments to create leverage in the market, negotiate preferred pricing and secure premium inventory to drive maximum value for our clients. The MAGNA Investment and Innovation teams architect go-to-market investment strategies across all channels including linear television, print, digital and programmatic on behalf of IPG clients. The team focuses on the use of emerging media opportunities, as well as data and technology-enabled solutions to drive optimal client performance and business results.

MAGNA Intelligence has set the industry standard for more than 60 years by predicting the future of media value. The MAGNA Intelligence team produces more than 40 annual reports on audience trends, media spend and market demand as well as ad effectiveness.

About IPG Media Lab
Part of the Interpublic network, the IPG Media Lab identifies and researches innovations and trends that will change the media landscape and how brands engage with their audiences. Since 2006, the Lab has worked with our clients and with industry partners who can help them best adapt to disruptive change. Its expertise, resources and consulting services also help to inform the learnings, strategies and business outcomes of all Interpublic agencies.


Read the Full Report Here