More Screens Are Better Than One: ESPN Unveils New Cross-Screen Research At 4As

ESPN Research announced the results of a “Valuing Video” study from the ESPN Lab at the 4A’s Transformation conference.

The study explores the impact and effectiveness of video advertising across TV, OTT, PC and mobile platforms and is reinforced by longitudinal learning from ESPN’s ongoing cross-platform effectiveness initiative, ESPN XPe.

For the study, ESPN Research tested 15- and 30-second spots of the same creative from eight different advertisers, and exposed respondents to the ads in four different ESPN video scenarios. The network said that utilizing the ESPN Lab ensured a “strict experimental design.”  

Some key Findings, per the network:

Combining TV with digital video exposure (TV + short form ads + ads on mobile apps, such as WatchESPN) increases ad awareness word of mouth, but most significantly, purchase intent. Ad awareness increases 36%, per the study, while word of mouth improves 67% and purchase intent rises 160%.

The network also said that 15- and 30-second commercial durations proved effective across all screens, with some notable nuances:

The brand recognition of a 30-second spot is higher at 72% compared to 15-second spots, rated at 65%. However, purchase intent is not affected: 56% for 30-second ads compared to 55% on 15-second ones.

Live content from a trusted brand translates across platforms:

Video ads on all platforms generated similar brand recognition, with pre-roll ads, in a single-spot format, creating slightly higher aided recall. (64.5% television, 66.5% OTT, 72.3% PC, 72.7% clips on mobile).

Same trend on purchase intent after one exposure: 52.3% on TV, 53.8% on OTT and 58.6% clips on PC and 56.7% on mobile.The immediate relevance of short-form clips on a computer screen and on mobile may lead to higher consumer engagement and purchase intent than TV and OTT.

According to ESPN, between 2013 and 2014, TV has remained the greatest contributor to awareness, while the potential for digital video advertising continues to rise.

Digital video impressions combined with TV impressions drive performance -- especially purchase intent, the network asserted. A diversity of screens provides advertisers with a larger impact on audiences. Digital platforms can expand on the foundational work of TV’s brand building.

While TV advertising drives awareness and word of mouth,  digital screens are more personal and the content is chosen very specifically, lending to a more direct engagement with users.  

As advertisers continue to expand their campaigns across different screens, the full value of video advertising can be unleashed by shaping the messaging by platform, ESPN concludes.

While TV advertising drives awareness and word of mouth, digital screens are more personal and the content is chosen specifically, lending to a more direct engagement with users.  

As advertisers continue to expand their campaigns across different screens, the full value of video advertising can be unleashed by shaping the messaging by platform, ESPN concludes.

3 comments about "More Screens Are Better Than One: ESPN Unveils New Cross-Screen Research At 4As".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 26, 2015 at 4:46 p.m.

    These lab type studies, while requiring great care in interpretation and, especially regarding real world projectability, can produce some interesting comparisons. Here, again, video ads----presumably with a 100% viewability factor---scored just as well as conventional TV commercials. However, I was struck by the amazingly high "intent to buy" findings. After a single exposure 50-60% of those who saw an ad intended to buy the product? Seems rather high----unless, I'm missing something. I wonder what the buying intentions of the viewers were before they were exposed to the average ad in this study?

  2. Erez Bahat from Gemius Israel, March 30, 2015 at 11:37 a.m.

    Indeed, some of the numbers seem quite high, as Ed mentioned.
    However, the trend is clear - more screens.... the question is what's the best way of doing it...

  3. Artie Bulgrin from ESPN, April 3, 2015 at 1:46 p.m.

    Good observation, Ed. The levels of Purchase Intent are high, but regardless of the levels, the important relationships we were observing were the levels across platforms. And the levels were consistently similar across all screens.

    Overall, ESPN typically reports higher levels of ad performance due to the fact that our audience is inherently selective and so many ads are matched well with the consumer audience. The mix of ads in this test included cars, a beer, an airline, paint, and others.

    Lab levels can also be higher given the controlled exposure and the intent question administered close to the time of exposure versus day after or longer. But all this is equally distributed.

    Additionally, tracking research which I shared from outside the Lab (not reported in this article) showed more modest levels for KPI's across a greater variety of ads. In the brand case study I shared, purchase intent levels were over 60%, which reflects the category -- a packaged goods product with a low barrier for consideration.

    In the end, with validation from lab and field research, we were able to demonstrate that video ads can produce comparable results regardless of the platform... and multiple screens are better than one!

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