Starcom's Desmond: Media Models Need To Change, Future Is Multiscreen Use

For years traditional media research has measured consumer usage of individual channels. That’s no longer good enough, says Starcom MediaVest Group CEO Laura Desmond. Media consumption in the future will be about simultaneous usage of multiple screens by consumers both at home and almost everywhere they go.

Media research must address that usage and inform the industry about how consumers utilize multiple screens and channels and what motivates them to do so, she noted, at the Advertising Research Foundation conference on Monday.

Media research models need to “radically change,” Desmond said. In the future, she added, researchers have to focus on “the how and the why” of what she defined as the “era of convergence,” in which consumers quickly migrate from one channel to the next or use channels or screens simultaneously.  

Desmond called on the industry to “accelerate new forms of partnerships” and collaboration. The media landscape is so complex today that no single company can successfully measure it all. “Collaboration is key,” she said as a PowerPoint slide flashed above her, when she presented a dozen companies with which SMG has some form of research alliance. Those companies include Google, Nielsen, ShareThis, Comscore, Twitter and Nielsen, to name a few.

Desmond highlighted several of the partnerships, including one with ShareThis, which has developed a metric called the Social Quality Index that calculates engagement levels of audiences by evaluating data such as outbound shares, inbound click-back traffic and page views. Desmond said the SQI has become a “standard part of the evaluation” that SMG applies to network and cable TV outlets as well as publisher content. What the SQI gets to, she said, “is the impact of paid and the conversation they create.”

“We need to invest in new measurement techniques for brands,” Desmond said. For Allstate, SMG took a new approach to targeting renters in order to help the client improve KPI metrics within that segment. SMG created a campaign that combined addressability provided by Dish and DirecTV with Experian and Epsilon consumer marketing data. The result was "three to five times brand growth,” Desmond said.

Future research has to consistently show the impact that channels have on each other. “It’s not about either-or but and-and,” she said.

Also, in the world of convergence, “the market experiences we create” in turn create new data and insights, Desmond said. She cited the Nike Fuel Band, which helps the company to “better target and communicate with consumers,” as an example.

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6 comments about "Starcom's Desmond: Media Models Need To Change, Future Is Multiscreen Use ".
  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , June 10, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
    It's amazing how far the theory of engagement has sucked in some otherwise very smart people. Haven't they read the research into engagement? These show there's no strong connection between these so-called measures and consumer action... But, I guess when you live inside the echo chamber it's hard to hear the truth. Or, when you have to tell investors what they want to hear, you have to pander to their mis-conceptions.
  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein , June 11, 2013 at 9:08 a.m.
    More screens just mean more clutter and more places and reasons to avoid the ads. Talk about chasing string.
  3. Laura Richmond from GraffitiWall , June 11, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
    Sorry to disagree boys! We are working with the TV show Breaking Bad on their Global efforts with a new social activity platform. The convergence of multi-screen viewing is happening and you need to be able to service and engage but more importantly understand what motivates the audience member and what actions they are taking to better serve them. Laura is right Data Rules!
  4. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein , June 11, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
    @Laura...dream on.
  5. Walter Sabo from SABO media , June 11, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.
    Many clownish media buying companies have said that the formula needs to change. That's the problem. This isn't a formula, it's smart execs actually making decisions on instinct, experience and courage. Go go. Walter
  6. Eric Nelson from Osborn & Barr , June 12, 2013 at 10:11 a.m.
    Both schools of thought are right. The problem isn't with measuring engagement, it's how media plans and strategy is being built to begin with. Building plans and strategy around reach, frequency, GRPs, and impressions isn't adequate anymore. The way media teams approach the challenge of delivery is the real issue and what needs to be changed. Media minds need to take advantage of data and create one-to-one campaigns on mass scales.