We know people consume media on different devices, but now people rarely consume media on just ONE device at a time. Instead of passively watching TV, the average consumer now watches while multitasking -- they’re on Twitter, they’re shopping, they’re researching the content that’s on the (bigger) screen in front of them.
We expect that this behavior will only continue to grow and in doing so, will open up a whole world of interesting possibilities for advertisers. In fact, many have already attempted to leverage those with holistic new cross-channel campaigns. It sounds great, but so far things aren’t turning out as planned.
What Are Integrated Ad Campaigns and Why Aren’t They Working?
In order to reach the connected consumer across devices, advertisers are looking at ways to plan multi-device campaigns -- for example, a TV campaign planned in tandem with a digital campaign – in order to reach viewers with the same message across multiple touch points.
In theory, this seems obvious. Of course you should plan your TV campaign and the corresponding digital campaign together. And yet, according to a recent Nielsen study, it’s not actually working so well.
“[I]ntegrated ad campaigns that incorporate exposures on both TV and online aren’t delivering any better results than when TV and digital campaigns are planned separately. The weakness, according to the study, lies in planning for online."
Anyone familiar with the traditional process for online media planning won’t be surprised that its limitations are part of the problem. The average guaranteed online media plan takes over 40 steps to complete, which is true even for relatively simple desktop display campaigns, forget about more complex integrated campaigns.
It should be noted here that where we have seen great progress in the cross-channel sphere is with TV and social. Recognizing that TV audiences are often on Twitter while watching, many advertisers have launched interesting campaigns across both platforms. That said, the ideal cross-channel campaigns would not be limited to the walled garden of each social media platform, all of which requires distinct buying and planning (and generally creative).
Right now, the television buying process is totally distinct and separate from the online display buying process (and only takes a few steps.). Even if media planners are tackling both plans simultaneously, the execution is still separate. The utter lack of sophistication in the manual digital buying process doesn’t help matters much either.
Tomorrow’s Planning Tools
Fortunately, we are seeing the evolution of media-buying tools, beginning in digital. The latest suite of automated technology platforms are making it possible to execute a guaranteed digital deal in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the hassle.
Figuring out online planning is the first step to realizing the potential of cross-channel marketing campaigns. Once this nascent market begins to mature, and the platforms designed to manage online media today become even more powerful, I expect we’ll see all forms of buying incorporated within a single tool, making it easier than ever to create entire cross-channel plans. For the first time, planners will actually be able to create and execute plans using the same tools.
Cross-Channel Strategies Can Work…And They Will
The problem isn’t in the concept. Cross-channel campaigns have their foundation in solid logic: reaching the same target consumers with the same advertising campaign across different media does make sense, and the possibilities presented by cross-device consumption are truly exciting. Now all we need are the right media buying tools to help us realize the potential.