Setting The Table For Cross-Screen Video Integration

Brands and their agencies still have some distance to go on getting their menu plan in place for cross-screen video advertising. We all know that a solid plan is diversified, targeted, measurable and adaptable over time -- and, moving forward, it includes a strong video play across desktop, tablet and mobile. So, while brands express an increasing interest in integrating cross-screen tactics, their approach needs to evolve from current agency media KPIs. How do we guide them to set that table?

Who gets an invitation?

As with any campaign, the first step to success is defining the target. Cross-screen advertising allows us to target anyone, anywhere, and to match ads to the content most likely to be consumed by this audience. While this is well-established on the traditional digital front using cookies, it is less so on the video front, except by certain providers who are able to connect people and segments across devices using data sources -- like BlueKai and Datalogix, for example -- matching IP addresses to device IDs. This ability is critical to any cross-screen video advertising campaign.

Where will you eat?

Mobile devices allow us to take our viewing anywhere: on the train, to the park, and other places within our daily life. People often consume video on multiple screens at the same time. While television ads were initially designed for awareness-building, targeting a captive audience typically sitting in their living rooms, cross-screen video advertising offers much more flexibility. In particular, the optimization available in digital allows us to adjust content, format and length based on the opportunities presented by each device. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating a variety of messages for different screen sizes and circumstances -- but rather, thinking about how it could and should be optimized (especially by length) to all the different places people might be watching.

What’s being served?

Unlike a standard ad that might (with some tweaking) be able to extend across channels, consumers have developed very specific habits for how they like to watch video. On TV, for example, an emotional or humorous ad might stop someone in their tracks and get them interested in viewing. For other channels, like mobile or in-app video, quick content that appears to add value (and not disrupt) may be more effective.  Matching brand goals to content format -- in short, serving up the right meal for the medium -- is also key to success.

Was it a success?

Of course the answer to this depends on the advertiser’s expectations, and the steps taken to clearly define goals and KPIs at the start of the campaign. Television is still one of the most effective broad-reach vehicles. However, in order to meet consumers where they are, brands and agencies, together with media providers, are challenged to push for specificity in how these other media are evaluated.

When speaking with clients, gross ratings points (GRP) are a good starting point, as this is standard in television. As yet, there is no direct analog for cross-screen video advertising, so it is important for media companies and agencies to work together with brands to expand and potentially adjust agreed-upon measures of success at the start of a campaign based on goals, desired reach and impact. Lastly, of course, viewability and verification cannot be ignored, though without a common standard, there is (as yet), not a level playing field. There are, however, trusted third-party verification firms that are helping with this issue, and can be part of the conversation as well.

All this being said, you can’t hold the same dinner party six times and expect people to continue to enjoy themselves. The best campaigns evolve over time, raising expectations and optimizing whom you invite, where you go and what you serve.

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