Here’s my question: By qualifying the future growth of multiscreen
campaigns as being largely dependent on the delivery of a single-source multiscreen metric, are we missing the point? And by "the point" I mean opportunities for advertisers to sell more today.
Could it be as simple as an organizing principle -- self-generated audience commitment across channels -- that we can use in planning right now?
I say yes.
What's undeniable is the activity that is making multiscreen possible. The dynamic of people lighting up all screens around common content is essential for advertisers. A single-source, all-screens measurement is on its way (relatively) soon; I’m in the trenches working on it. But waiting for that magic metric before jumping into multiscreen with both feet means sitting out significant sales growth in 2014.
After this year's TV upfront, I queried cable networks on the percentage of advertising commitments for this season involving multiple screens. I didn't hear 20%. I heard 50% to 80%. Not in three years. Right now.
It's not hard to explain why. Advertisers want to go -- and need to go -- wherever consumers will lead and take them. Media is finding that the stronger our core content commitment, the more bridges we can build -- and importantly, the more consumers will build and sustain the bridges for us.
That's one of the things mainstream reporters and businesspeople found so fascinating about the final season of “Breaking Bad.” It was hard to tell whether the ratings were driving the chatter or the chatter was driving the ratings. It turned out to be both. And the same phenomenon is boosting multiscreen activity for shows from “The Walking Dead” to “Duck Dynasty.”
The more people take content across platforms and into their daily conversation, the more they intensify their commitment to it. It’s this content commitment that sets audience results in motion.
Why should we care? More than ever, advertising’s end game is productive leads and sales. An ad is a sales call, no matter what we call it (commercial, placement, native content, etc.). Advertisers can make more productive sales calls within content that viewers follow across screens, share, post, tweet and comment on.
If I'm an advertiser, the priority is what I can plan. Particularly today, when there is so much media that has scale yet defies planning or meaningful integration in advance -- think videos like “Ylvis – The Fox” or other YouTube sensations -- it's more essential than ever to have tent poles to organize and communicate around.
Multiscreen integrations -- where advertisers plan on committed audiences -- are the call of established media for the decade ahead. It’s already our job. True power for advertising is not in the medium or even the connection; it's in the sustained commitment to favorite content that creates a multiscreen opportunity. That's something you can really plan and sell on. Some media already have the infrastructure in place to forward consumer commitment across screens, carrying advertisers along.
The impact is self-evident. Multiscreen is a compelling reality and opportunity that will only become more powerful with standard metrics. You don’t have to wait for the right measurement to profit on that movement. You just have to follow the commitment and extend your perspective to all-screen decision-making.