Unleashing cross-platform: The tip of the spear

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NielsenI recently spoke at Advertising Week for a presentation titled “Unleashing Cross-Platform: The Tip of the Spear in Planning, Executing and Measuring Multi-Screen Platform Campaigns.” At this point you may be wondering “What’s the tip of the spear? And “Who needs a spear anyway?”

The Advertiser View of Cross-Platform


Advertisers already understand the emergent need in cross platform measurement. In a recent joint survey from Nielsen and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), advertisers confirmed not only that integrated multi-screen campaigns are going to become vastly more important in the next three years, but that they intend to dedicate more of their investments to these kinds of campaigns. Most importantly, however, the survey results showed that in order to achieve maximum effectiveness, advertisers need to measure audience delivery, brand lift and sales impact with common metrics across screens.

Why are advertisers feeling this way? Because they know that video is moving across platforms, and it’s only becoming more pervasive with time. In addition, advertisers recognize that achieving reach by connecting with desired audiences is only effective when messages resonate and cause desired audiences to react at the point of sale (which we’ll discuss in more detail in part two of our Unleashing Cross-Platform series). As a result, advertisers are trying to accomplish one of two basic things with integrated multi-screen campaigns:

1. Drive unduplicated reach. Reach is important for the simple reason that advertisers must reach desired audiences to have an impact. And reaching one incremental person may be more valuable than reaching someone a second time. For a multi-screen campaign with 70 percent TV reach and 30 percent online reach, the ideal would be to deliver 100 percent unduplicated reach—meaning online would be entirely incremental to TV.

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

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Successes—Here and There

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

Despite this, we do see that there are some campaigns that do a very good job of driving incremental reach or maximizing duplication.

The difference in success stories is that 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. Improved planning tools and data sets. Agencies can now use cross-channel planning tools with fused TV and online audience data sets that enable them to plan which websites to use to either add incremental reach to TV or maximize TV/online duplication.
  2. Real-time bidding. Real-time bidding is the big new trend in digital audience buying. What’s more, agencies are now able to bid on only those digital audiences that are unlikely to have seen the TV version of an ad or vice versa. This is, obviously, key to maximizing reach or duplication.
  3. Cross-platform audience measurement. Measuring the reach, frequency and gross rating points (GRPs) and duplicated and unduplicated delivery of your TV and online campaigns is essential. Without it, there is no easy way to improve results.

Integrated, multi-screen campaigns are the weapon of choice for digital purveyors. And while the tip of the spear is reaching your desired audience strategically, the weapon is galvanized when advertisers consider both resonance and reaction.

My advice to advertisers? Arm yourself with the latest learnings, engage your agency and get prepared for the future—or risk getting being left behind.

–Randall Beard, Global Head of Advertiser Solutions, Nielsen