Apples-to-Apples Measurement Will Unlock Cross-screen Investment

Cross-screen marketing has officially become an imperative method for efficiently reaching the target audience -- it’s on the plan. But parity in measurement across screens continues to be somewhat of a hurdle to fully opening the opportunity. With the growing adoption of the IAB’s Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition (VPAID), the door to uniform cross-screen measurement will be unlocked, giving marketers a familiar language with which to understand similarities and differences in the ways consumers engage with ads from platform to platform. This measure allows advertisers to efficiently evaluate and optimize campaigns across the board.

New Understanding of Consumer Behavior Guides Practices
Marketers comprehend the implications of delivering a message to viewers on a specific device. The mindsets, habits and tactile experiences are different from phone to tablet to desktop to TV. In these environments, we’ve also begun to understand what viewers have been conditioned to expect and tolerate vs. what they find totally irritating or negative. These expectations have guided a lot of best practices for creative development and media mix, such as:

-        Using shorter-form video ads

-        Personalization through location-based targeting and contextual relevance

-        Supplementing video with display to boost recall

-        Interactivity on all platforms (gamification, maps, and brand destinations)

However, we also understand that it doesn’t take much to disrupt the ad ecosystem, and that it sometimes changes overnight. For example, Amazon is about to come out with its own smartphone, which implies the possibility of a totally new operating system.  Amazon’s move means developers will need to build new iterations of applications, ad platforms will need to develop new SDKs to support content management and advertising, and the market share of iOS and Android will be disrupted. But the prevailing importance of measurement will keep us focused on the integrity of the cross-channel approach. Measurement options must be in place. The good news is, this is finally happening.

A Few Challenges Remain
We’re still deciphering how to define successful marketing on multiple platforms. Accepted audience verification tools like OCR and VCE are starting to illustrate how we adopt uniform currencies. Increased adoption of specifications like VPAID is a step toward cracking the code on cross-screen targeting, providing a tool with which we can transpose the performance we’re seeing from the emerging platforms to those that we already know and understand. We know that engagement behaviors look and feel different from screen to screen, we know that there are fundamental differences in each of them -- it’s now a matter of understanding how to evaluate each, relative to the others.

We are entering into the golden age of media consumption.  Ubiquitous access to content has revolutionized the way consumers digest video.  Advertisers are positioned to create savvy campaigns that gently influence consumers on disparate devices.  New creative approaches and measurement tools will be the final pieces in the cross-screen puzzle.

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