Unleashing Cross-Platform Advertising: The Tip of the Spear

I recently spoke at ARF’s Cross-Platform Advertising event in Chicago. My talk was titled: “Unleashing Cross-Platform: The Tip of the Spear in Planning, Executing, and Measuring Multi-screen Platform Campaigns.” At this point you might be wondering: what’s the issue here? Who needs a spear anyway?

The Advertiser View of Cross-Platform Advertising

Advertisers already understand the need for a spear. In a recent industry survey, advertisers confirmed that integrated multi-screen advertising campaigns are going to become vastly more important in the next 3 years, they intend to dedicate more of their investments to these kinds of campaigns, and to do so they need to measure audience delivery, brand lift, and sales impact with common metrics across screens.

Media Consumption Overview

Why are advertisers feeling this way? Because they know what the future portends:

  • Traditional TV still dominates video viewing at 84% of total.
  • But the top quintile of online video viewers are watching online video almost ½ hour per day.
  • Heavy TV viewers are, surprisingly, also heavy online users—and potential heavy online video users.
  • Online video usage is becoming a larger and larger share of total online activity.
  • Smartphone (62%) and Tablet (24%) adoption is dramatically rising—driving yet more video adoption.

What this all means is that video is moving across advertising platforms, and this proliferation is only going to accelerate.

Integrated Multi-screen Campaign—What Advertisers Want

Advertisers understand this, and are trying to accomplish two basic things with integrated multi-screen campaigns:

  1. Drive unduplicated reachReach is of paramount importance for the simple reason that you have to reach your target to have an impact. And reaching one incremental person is more valuable than reaching someone a second time. For a multi-screen campaign with 70% TV reach and 30% online reach, the ideal would be to deliver 100% unduplicated reach—e.g. online would be entirely incremental to TV.

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  2. Drive TV/Online duplication—Duplication can be important if you know that exposure to your advertising on one platform drives better advertising performance on the other platform—which is usually the case. So, for a multi-screen advertising campaign with 70% TV reach and 30% online reach, the ideal would be to have all 30% of your online campaign reach overlap or duplicate TV—e.g. total reach would be 70%, with 30 points of duplication.

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How Are We Doing with Integrated Multi-screen Campaigns?

Until recently, it was very challenging to measure the audience delivery—e.g. reach, frequency, and GRP’s of cross-platform campaigns. New tools and techniques now measure only/only/both across screens. That is, we can measure the R/F/GRP’s for TV only, Online only, and both.

A meta analysis of Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Advertising Campaign Ratings shows that the majority of multi-screen campaigns actually deliver “random duplication.” What is random duplication? It’s the TV reach “x” the Online reach—and what you would see if TV and Online were planned and bought completely independently of one another.

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A well planned multi-screen campaign to drive reach or maximize duplication would not show random duplication. What this tells us is that there is much room for improvement.

Successes—Here and There

Despite the results above, we do see that there are some multi-platform advertising campaigns that do a very good job of driving incremental reach or maximizing duplication.

For example, taking the same 70% TV and 30% Online reach campaign we discussed earlier, smarter planning and buying to increase the % of online impressions that are incremental to TV from 1/3 to ½ would increase overall unduplicated reach from 79% to 85%.

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What’s different about the success stories? What’s different is that to one degree or another, Agencies are beginning to use new tools to address the challenge of integrated multi-screen campaign planning, buying and measurement. Here’s what the best of them are doing:

  1. Improve Planning Tools and Data Sets—Agencies can now use cross-channel advertising planning tools (vs. mono-media planning tools) with fused TV and Online audience data sets (vs. separate data sets) that enable them to plan which web sites to use to either add incremental reach to TV or maximize TV/Online overlap.
  2. Real Time Bidding—Real time bidding is the big new trend in digital audience buying. What’s even newer is the Agency’s ability to bid on digital audiences based on TV viewing behavior. To say it differently, it’s now possible to bid only for those digital audiences that are unlikely to have seen your TV advertising or vice versa. This is, obviously, key to maximizing reach or duplication.
  3. Cross-Platform Advertising Audience Measurement—Measuring the R/F/GRP’s and only/only/both delivery of your TV and Online campaigns is fundamental. Without this measurement, there is no easy way to improve results. Unlike years past, when it couldn’t be done, there is no excuse not to measure in this way and learn how to improve your results.

The tip of the spear in integrated multi-screen campaigns is here—although only a select few have taken up arms to date. My advice to advertisers? Arm yourself with the latest learnings, engage your agency, and get prepared for the future—or risk getting being impaled by the crashing wave of cross-platform video.

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