Time To Have Cross-Device Talk With Agency

The IAB and the Mobile Marketing Association are doubling down on mobile ad measurement, big retailers are throwing more resources into their mobile commerce plays, and industry experts are heralding 2013 as the true “Year of Mobile.”

While there have been some innovative mobile-only ad plays in the last half-decade, the time has come for brands to look beyond mobile to the bigger, cross-device picture.

Here is how to begin the cross-device conversation with your ad agency:

1. Ask your agency to stop referring to your target audience by device.

I don’t care if you’re an auto manufacturer or a luxury clothing brand—if your ad agency refers to your audience segments by device, that’s a clear red flag. Your mobile searchers, your tablet browsers and your customers engaging with your brand from a laptop are often the same person.

Shift the conversation to the collective use of these devices, and work together to understand how your target audience behaves on each throughout the day.



 2.  Don’t separate ad campaigns by device. (Silo media buying is over)

We all know that consumers are increasingly dividing their attention between screens. For digital natives, it’s up to 27 screen switches per hour. So why do we continue to put our mobile, display and video buys in separate silos?

Most agencies are aware of the new purchase funnel—smartphones are for researching products, tablets are for browsing products, and computers are often for final purchase decisions.

But here’s the hitch: Many are unable to say your ad on a person’s smartphone prompted them to take action on their tablet or laptop. That’s the million-dollar question. Challenge your agency to think about the bigger picture when allocating budget to certain platforms—and not just stick your campaigns in silos.

 3.  Don’t let yourself drown in device-specific campaign reports.

All brands are looking for that 360-degree picture of how current and target customers are engaging with and reacting to you across all devices. You want to know how well each advertising medium is performing for each campaign, and where to ramp up or scale back if needed. If you’re drowning in mobile, display, social, and video engagement reports, you’re not alone. The key is to ask the right questions and find out where the gaps are across each channel.

For example, say a daily deals company decided to pour its budget into deploying a mobile ad campaign targeting on-the-go urban moms. Sadly, when the final numbers came in, it showed very low engagement with this target demo across all mobile phones.

While many companies would likely to scale back their mobile ad spend after seeing such weak numbers, savvy brands should be wondering: Is it possible that I'm only getting half the story here? Is there a chance that the series of mobile and tablet ads we prompted some to take action on their work computers? These are the tough attribution questions you need to ask.

 4.  Stay current on how consumers interact with their smartphones, tablets and computers, and work them into weekly conversations with your agency.

There is no shortage of research on the ever-evolving patterns of how consumers behave on their Internet-connected devices. For example, did you know that eMarketer expects consumers to make nearly $87 billion in mobile purchases by 2016 or that according to Nielsen, 85% of tablet/smartphone users engage with their device while watching TV? Stay current on these trends.

If your agency continues to recommend very separate strategies for mobile, browser and tablet, it’s time to have the talk. If you’re not agile and willing to take charge of your audience across all screens, more nimble marketers will.


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