Advertising once seemed so simple: armed with a simple print ad, a TV commercial, and a display buy direct with a handful of sites, reaching your target audience was a breeze. We have witnessed massive changes in how the world consumes media -- our content diet is increasingly multi-screen, and our attention is split between a growing array of screens and devices.
Put into perspective, we need only to look at the numbers: in December comScore reported that U.S. smartphone penetration broke the 60 percent of total mobile users barrier, while just this month eMarketer stated that mobile is set to exceed newspaper ad spending this year in at least one major market.
And in terms of how that spend is transacted, advertising automation is another major shift, with Magna Global predicting that more than half of digital display will be traded through automated advertising by 2017.
The same report stated that a global media agency defines its digital display broadly to include "banners, social and video, on desktop or mobile devices." In other circles, this definition might also be called "multi-screen display." We can only surmise that leading advertisers see the need to reach people on whichever device or medium they are active, or miss out on opportunities to run the most effective, impactful campaigns.
Buyers and Multiscreen – the Numbers
While agencies have been forward thinking in their investment and adoption of automated advertising, advertisers are now leading the charge toward running multi-screen campaigns. An August 2013 survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Nielsen revealed that by 2016, multi-screen campaigns will make up 50 percent of total advertising budgets. But if multi-screen advertising is set to grow so quickly, how are buyers currently executing these campaigns in an integrated way?
Workflow systems that are siloed by platforms, which don’t interact with each other and often use different measurement systems and metrics, might hold back multi-screen campaigns’ true promise of greater efficiency and accurate reach.
The ANA’s research also showed that 71 percent of advertisers are currently using a variety of metrics to gauge multi-screen campaign effectiveness. A similar number said they would prefer to be using one unified set across all media. For 69% of advertisers, "real-time measures for optimization" also forms a critical part of measuring such campaigns. This would naturally lead us to believe that automated advertising may play an important role here.
Why? Simply because automated advertising technology increasingly provides single workflows for the efficient buying and selling of advertising, across a growing number of media channels and formats.
Sellers: From Digital-First to Multi-Screen-First?
Video sellers have been busy transforming their businesses for a multi-screen world. Many have been highly active in building digital-first and then mobile-first strategies that include multimedia content such as video.
As a result, some sellers are reporting that more than half of their traffic comes from mobile devices. Meanwhile, others are making the successful transition from print to digital: magazines that adapt to develop significant digital revenue models for instance. In no small part, many others are capitalizing on users’ appetite for video content delivered via digital platforms.
Why are sellers adopting a mobile-first, or even digital video-first approach? Because in order to maximize their share of media budgets, they must increasingly offer advertisers integrated cross-screen campaign opportunities. Meanwhile, in terms of how those campaigns are traded, even the most premium of publishers acknowledge the role of automated advertising within their sales offering, particularly around direct orders.
Multi-Screen and Automation
Automated advertising allows buyers to test multiple campaign attributes and update planning decisions in real-time. Combine this with the benefits of single workflows and unified metrics, and it is easy to see how advertising automation can play its part in making multi-screen campaigns smarter and simpler to execute.
The true potential of automation could just be to simplify planning a campaign, like in the old days when all you needed to do to reach your target audience was to buy a simple print ad, run a TV commercial, and buy digital display directly across a handful of sites.