Standout vs. Standard: Measuring ROI of product placements
April 29th, 2024, Hoang Nguyen

Standout vs. Standard: Measuring ROI of product placements

In recent years, the product placement industry has grown in significance and sophistication as advertisers gather evidence of the impact of product placement on brand awareness, consumer recall, and customer loyalty.

The increased focus on measurement comes at a time when audiences are fragmented across numerous streaming platforms and advertisers grapple with challenges such as ad blocking, data privacy regulation, and standing out from the competition.

These factors underscore the need for a nuanced understanding of product placement effectiveness. YouGov’s latest whitepaper, “Product Placement Plotted 2024: The Standard vs. Standout Formula,” delves into this very topic, exploring how to measure the ROI of standout placements, traditionally seen as the gold standard, and how these fare against more frequent standard placements in today’s media environment.

Through a combination of real-world case studies involving major brands, in-depth consumer research, and data-driven simulations, the whitepaper equips brands with the knowledge to unlock the effectiveness of product placement strategies.

What's the perfect product placement formula?Download report

Here’s what you can expect to learn from the new product placement report.

Unveiling the brands and research

YouGov partnered with BENlabs, an entertainment AI company specializing in human behavior, content intelligence, and brand integrations, to understand the world of scale within product placement and considerations associated with both standout and standard approaches.

BENlabs provided 43 placements across four major brands for this research. These placements include those for a leading automaker, snack brand Cheetos, a global tech brand, and a prominent paint brand in popular shows, whose viewership data is tracked by YouGov Stream. They were classified as either “standout” or “standard” based on predefined criteria.


To meet the data-driven demands of a burgeoning industry, YouGov employed a multifaced approach to gain a holistic understanding of product placement effectiveness:

  • YouGov PQS (Placement Quality Scoring): This industry-standard tool provides a quantitative assessment of efficacy, accounting for factors like prominence, narrative integration, and emotional context.
  • YouGov behavioral research: Custom surveys delved deeper into how viewers perceive product placements, including brand awareness, recall, and sentiment towards the featured products. Additionally, a separate study explored general audience perception of product placements and their relevance in today's advertising landscape.
  • YouGov Signal: This social listening tool contextualized the product placements within online conversations surrounding the shows, providing valuable social data.

Leveraging a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and social data, this study equips marketers with a comprehensive understanding of how both standout and standard product placements influence consumers.

Simulating success: Standout vs. standard placements

To measure how standout vs. standard product placements perform against each other, especially at scale, YouGov conducted three simulations:

  • Baseline simulation: This compared one standout placement to one standard placement.
  • Simulation A: This pitted one standout product placement against multiple standard placements.
  • Simulation B: Here, two standout placements were compared to four standard placements.

What did the data show? We found that standout placements certainly have a high impact, generating an average Net Placement Value of $412,400, compared to $299,803 for a standard one. In addition, data from YouGov Signal reveals that standout placements reside in shows that average higher indexed search volumes, Wikipedia page views, and viewership than standard product placements. In a one-on-one situation, this shows that standout placements give a higher return on investment.

But this valuation changes when we scale the number of placements, with standard placements eventually taking the lead in terms of valuation as they increase in number.

For a complete picture of the results and detailed insights from these simulations, download the full "Product Placement Plotted 2024: The Standard vs. Standout Formula" whitepaper

Beyond size: Market research for effective product placement

The size and valuation of a placement is just one piece of effectively executing and measuring product placements. The research underscores that brands need to craft the right moment for the right audience to truly resonate with viewers. YouGov offers a range of tools that can empower brands to:

  • Establish brand awareness: By monitoring brand awareness before and after a campaign, brands can gauge effectiveness and tailor approaches for future placements.
  • Build brand affinity: Seamless integration of a familiar brand into a show viewers enjoy can reinforce positive feelings and brand loyalty.
  • Spark discovery: Strategic placements can pique viewers' curiosity and encourage them to seek out new products.

Combining YouGov’s market research and product placement valuation insights can provide brands with the best approach, considering its overall marketing strategy, risk tolerance, and ability to support product placements with other marketing initiatives to maximize the upside of powerful marketing tool.