Commentary

The Journey Between Screens: Navigating The Complex Multiscreen Environment

The sheer ubiquity of smartphones makes mobile an ideal marketing channel to augment online display, After all, so many of us are glued to our mobile screens for hours a day. However, the term "multiscreen marketing" actually belies the complexity of maintaining cohesion from desktop to handset and/or tablet. Running cross-screen advertising is not as simple as just adding a few mobile placements to your ad buy. With multiple operating systems, device sizes and new protocols emerging, marketers and advertisers may need some help navigating the path to multiscreen success. As a first step, there are a few questions to consider.

Where is your campaign running?  The term “multiscreen campaign” can mean different things to different people. Be sure to get specifics about where your campaign will run -- on tablets, desktop and phones? On mobile Web sites? What about in-app? Will your ad be running on iOS, Android or both? Users engage differently with each device and format, so be sure that you are purchasing inventory that meets your campaign goals.

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Does your creative translate across devices?  We all know that building multiple versions of a creative execution is a headache, but it's 100% necessary to ensure that important verbiage isn’t crammed into a 320 X 50 ad. You also want to be sure your ad “behaves” properly in a mobile environment, responding to swipes and taps versus clicks. And of course, we want to be certain we have maximized the larger real estate of an interactive, full-screen tablet ad. And don’t forget that up to 10% of desktop traffic is actually viewed on mobile devices. Is your creative set up to support HTML5 dynamically? It would be smart to make sure it is!

How will you collect and compare performance data?  Don’t let data be an afterthought.Third-party reporting tools for desktop are standard-issue. We are all comfortable with the various ad servers, trackers and metrics available. Publishers and networks track and report on performance differently, especially in mobile. Comparing performance across multiple placements, creative executions, platforms and formats is challenging. Be sure that you are prepared to take that challenge head on.

Even with all of these challenges, multiscreen marketing will be extremely valuable if you approach it in the right way, and it is becoming more accessible. Recognize that mobile has its own set of rules, but it is not in a vacuum; it is still part of the larger marketing initiative. So define your goals for your campaign, and determine how those goals fit into the bigger picture.

Ultimately, we as a community are learning as we go. As we test tools and strategies, we will learn the most effective methods, standards will continue to firm up and adoption will grow. Cautious optimism is always recommended when embarking on a new initiative. Cross-screen marketing has the potential to drive real results -- so don’t be daunted by the complexity and the challenges. Rather, arm yourself with information, invest the time and attention to continuous monitoring and help take cross-screen from a buzzword to a tried-and-true marketing strategy.

2 comments about "The Journey Between Screens: Navigating The Complex Multiscreen Environment".
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  1. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs, July 19, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.

    Good points - key to understanding what works though is understanding how different devices are used by different audiences and where.

  2. Matt Cooper from Addroid, March 20, 2014 at 1:20 p.m.

    ”And don’t forget that up to 10% of desktop traffic is actually viewed on mobile ”

    We deploy mutiscreen video banners and see on every campaign that this number is always between 15% and 20%. We also see that the CTR from that mobile segment is generally 3X of whatever the same exact creative is getting in a desktop browser.

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