M&E Journal: The Growing Necessity For Cross-Screen Technology

By Stephanie Gaines, YuMe

As NBC has shared, the network sold $1 billion in ads for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a combined total that includes national broadcast, cable and digital ad sales. The ability to reach massive audiences on a global scale has been long held as a key advantage for any Olympic sporting event, but as advertisers make plans to maximize the opportunity, there is no question that digital has become a core component of media planning for the event.

This is a direct reflection of a massive cultural shift in the way in which sporting events — and content in general — are viewed across myriad devices. This is the era of the liquid audience, one in which consumers move dynamically and fluidly throughout their day consuming content and video on whatever device is most convenient to them, from the TV at home, to the laptop at work, and smartphones and tablets on the go.

So, how do you reach this liquid audience cross-screen, and overcome any inherent fragmentation challenges? It’s important that marketers first understand the dimensions of content, screen, data and technology that need to be addressed in order to implement campaigns that are capable of reaching audiences cross-screen and at scale.

Content: In the past two decades, it has become cheaper to produce and easier to distribute video content, which has served to increase fragmentation exponentially. With hundreds of channels to choose from on cable subscriptions, thousands more websites to choose from online and apps on mobile screens, it’s a viewer’s paradise and a marketer’s headache.

Screen: It is now common place for the average person to use multiple devices to access video content, often “dual-screening” by watching a game or show on their TV while browsing content on their mobile device.

Data: Content is viewed on apps and in browsers, on smartphones, tablets and smart TVs as well as on different operating systems and device manufacturers. Thus, collecting data about video consumption has become substantially more complex. Unifying data across all sources to reveal actionable insights is key to evolving a brand’s success in a heavily fragmented digital environment.

Technology: Although new technologies enable easy creation and consumption of video content at scale through platforms such as Netflix, YouTube or Roku, technology fragmentation has made it harder for marketers to distribute video branded messages, as well as collect and process data that can later be used to optimize media strategy.

Path to executing successful cross-screen campaigns

The impact of fragmentation can create a ripple effect throughout the entire ad campaign process, but addressing it at every point along the way will minimize its impact and help drive toward a more successful outcome.

Planning: Planning media spend across channels is an art, and arguably one of the most trying parts of a marketer’s job. It is intricate in nature and requires many decisions about the right marketing channels, channel vendors, tactics, variables to control for within channel and KPIs to optimize towards such that holistically, and globally, the marketing strategy converges yielding desired results.

screen Targeting: Fragmentation creates problems for marketers when keeping track of audiences. Lack of brand messaging relevancy can cause negative brand sentiment. Fragmentation also complicates targeting as each device type has its own environment and is therefore able to collect and then pass on different information to the buyer’s targeting requirements.

The Open RTB Consortium was created to address this issue and has been widely adopted, but not all screens are yet Open RTB ready. Tracking consumer behavior is crucial to create a more relevant relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Measurement: When it comes to measurement, fragmentation causes many vendors to use different methodologies to report on relevant metrics. While there is currently no unified standard all adhere to, standardization is shaping up with Open RTB adoption and vendors getting “certified” by third-party independent organizations such as the Media Rating Council (MRC) which validate audience measurement methodologies. With this common denominator across all data, marketers can compare apples to apples and optimize spend accordingly.

Optimization: Fragmentation along channel- specific KPIs and datasets makes finding a common denominator challenging and often steers brands away from the optimal path.

From a decision-making standpoint, understanding cross-channel effects and interactions between marketing tactics is critical to achieving an optimal solution.

Accuracy at scale: Fragmentation across video environments and screens makes it difficult to accurately reach the right people on the right devices at the right time and with the right branded message. Exposing the branded message to enough people such that positive brand impact is generated (i.e. reaching scale) is equally difficult. Marketers’ need to find the right balance between accuracy and scale is tricky, especially in the context of growing privacy concerns about how data is tracked, stored and used for marketing purposes.

Realizing the value of crossscreen technology

Cross-screen technology innovation continues to drive massive benefits for marketers. A closer look at the value of cross screen technology reveals five key benefits:

Holistic view of the consumer: As the number of connected and addressable screens continues to grow, extending to other aspects of life—smart homes, smart gyms, smart cars and smart stores—identities associated with each person become ever more complex and data rich. A universal identity management solution helps create a link between siloed data sets combining them to get a more complete picture of the customer. In turn, marketers benefit from the augmented dataset, to make better decisions about how to maximize brand performance.

Increased ROI: Cross-screen frequency capping helps marketers reduce waste associated with unwanted impressions. It also helps minimize negative user sentiment that would otherwise result from overexposure. Moreover, feeding the frequency data back into the decision engine and correlating it with brand performance KPIs can yield even higher ROIs for brands.

Extended audience reach: Marketers translate audiences across screens, extending reach and frequency across all identities (e.g. from desktop across to mobile and vice-versa). It can also help extend first party advertiser CRM data into digital, while deduping users when maximizing reach across channels resulting in increased control over reach and frequency.

Global planning: Cross-screen planning tools bring rigor and intelligence into planning, adding more science to the art. As a multi-channel marketer, pick the right vendor, decide on channel specific tactics, pick the channel specific KPIs to optimize towards, understand uncertainties and prepare for them.

The software can aid factor in cross-channel effects and interactions when forecasting key brand metrics such as reach, frequency, awareness, recall, etc. and also enable optimization towards global KPIs instead of local, channel specific ones.

Increased ad influence: Sequencing in cross-screen technology enhances tactics by overlaying multiple types of touch points at different times for the same user in a sequence that yields greater ad influence.

For example, a film production company may expect to see an increase in lift in offline movie tickets sales by running branded video ads on desktop throughout the week and then tapping into mobile with a coupon on weekend nights. Cross-channel, cross-device sequencing followed by a call to action can help drive better results for brand advertisers.

As cross-screen technology advances, marketers will continue to find new ways to create value for brand advertising.

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