Do Advertisers Wait For Multiscreen Ad Metrics Or Grow Their Business Via Multiscreen Now?

According to the study released last week by the ANA and Nielsen, half of all ad campaigns will be multiscreen by 2016 -- up from 20% today. When asked what the greatest challenge would be, a mix of advertiser, agency and media sales executives said metrics -- specifically, getting to one set of metrics across all screens -- although they are far from unified on whether awareness or impact should be the basis.

In part, they said all that because 71% of them are still managing individual media platforms separately. Regardless, the condition that multiscreen adoption is measurement-dependent whispered between the lines of the story.

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.

3 comments about "Do Advertisers Wait For Multiscreen Ad Metrics Or Grow Their Business Via Multiscreen Now?".
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  1. Jon Vanhala from Thesis Venture Studio, November 19, 2013 at 1:10 p.m.

    Fish where the fish are, and where they live their lives. marketers need to be on all screens and platforms and simply stop waiting for a single silver bullet metric to get them off the "couch." Game time is right now and this is not future speak - early movers know they gain competitive edge when in fact, the way they learn the game is to be in it.

  2. Adam Chandler from Jumptap, November 21, 2013 at 9:54 a.m.

    No question about it, people are equal opportunity employers of screens. While their experiences differ slightly from screen to screen, they're cumulative when it comes to content. The more screens they engage on, the stronger their connection and the more it can scale. That's exponential power advertisers can't afford to set aside. Media companies are committing to multiscreen content, and we see brands reaching these consumers as they move from screen to screen.

  3. Bob Rose from SMA, November 21, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.

    Nice piece. The first question is easy: should marketers embrace multi-screen programs? Of course they should, the media consumption trends are clear. The hard questions are: how much should our clients invest? What is fair pricing? Without reliable data, we circle back to a familiar conclusion…put these issues in the hands of a knowledgeable, experienced and talented media team, or risk wasting time, money and the great upside of the multi-screen opportunity.

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