Because of new breakthroughs in data and technology, the elements of targeting, reach and recency can significantly affect sales outcome of a campaign. In fact, the effect of media on sales has increased to 36% from 15% over the past 11 years. That comes according to research from Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

While creative still reigns as the most important factor in delivering effective advertising, new ad technology and the expansion of ad channels are expanding the criteria for a winning campaign.

“Because of new breakthroughs in data and technology, the elements of targeting, reach and recency can significantly affect sales outcome of a campaign,” the report notes.

However, brand-related components, including creative, still account for the bulk of a campaign’s success. Creative currently represents 47% of a campaign’s effectiveness, while context is 2% and brand 15%, Nielsen Catalina reported.

As brands invest more heavily in digital media, including the most popular emerging options mobile, digital video and social media marketing, marketers need to be aware of each platform’s capabilities, including targeting and analytics, and tailor both their campaigns and their expectations, Nielsen advises. In the fast-moving world of digital media, which is already plagued by problems of ad fraud, transparency and ad environment, those can be difficult metrics to monitor. But digital media can deliver targeting and precision unlike any legacy media buy, which is why many brands continue to increase their digital outlays.

Meanwhile, Nielsen notes, traditional media offers marketers an important vehicle to deliver their creative in reach and recency. One of radio’s hallmarks is its ability to reach a large group of potential consumers and deliver ads close to the point of purchase. Coupled with strong creative, this can be a winning formula for many brands to convert advertising into sales.

“It may seem obvious, but reaching a large number of consumers with advertising is critical to the success of a campaign: only consumers exposed to an ad can be influenced,” the report notes.

When a campaign effectively reaches a large number of consumers in a timely fashion, it can result in a boost in purchase activity, Nielsen notes, such as beer ads on Thursday and Friday leading to beer runs on the weekend. “Advertisements delivered on these days deliver almost three times more incremental sales lift than ads running on other days of the week,” Nielsen observes.

The bottom line for advertisers, Nielsen concludes, is that there are more factors than ever for marketers to consider when crafting a campaign and to monitor once they’ve deployed messaging. But whether a brand is deploying a digital campaign or buying radio spots, Nielsen says they need to keep focused on producing top-notch creative, as that remains a key indicator of success, regardless of the platform. Says Nielsen: “When the creative is strong—sales lift is higher and is affected less by media.”