Media Planning In A Fractured-Screen World

How are agencies and advertisers planning cross-platform campaigns across connected TV, other OTT, digital video and traditional TV, without the benefit of unified measurement?

Even defining or delineating the media in order to coordinate planning across them “is a little challenging — there are gray areas,” acknowledged Jared Lake, VP, digital strategy at Ocean Media, during a panel at MediaPost’s recent TV & Video Insider Summit. The session was moderated by Kevin Moeller, head of media insights and analytics for PepsiCo NA. 

“If it’s a video channel relatable to TV, like, most clients understand that that falls into the [digital] swimming lane,” Lake said. “Where it gets murky is in social. We work with a lot of ecommerce and dot-com brands that tend to have a lot of in-house teams, so even if you’re running video on Facebook, there may be KPIs at the top of the funnel that you’re optimizing to, which often becomes a discussion point.” 



“I think it’s about the media experience and understanding how to find the right context that’s delivered within the right content,” said Diana Bernstein, senior vice president, managing director, video investments for Havas Media. “Once we understand that, and how it relates to our audience, it’s figuring out which channels are going to make the connection we’re looking for. We look at everything in terms of video, and there are murky waters. But once you figure out the audience and what connects with them, figuring out the channels is a lot easier.” 

But the challenge is magnified by the reality that the media ecosystem is changing so rapidly — just the number of new streaming platforms being launched means that it will be very different six months from now, never mind other changes, added Juan Badiola, NA-paid media lead planner for Electronic Arts. 

He noted that even gaming platforms are becoming “channels,” pointing out that Fortnite, for example, has run promotions with superhero movies and band concerts. 

Another challenge, of course, is achieving reach goals given declining traditional TV viewership — and now also in the face of those splashy new, non-ad supported streaming options that will vie for consumer viewing time. 

“Advertisers and agencies are going to have to work harder to make the message resonate and reach people at the right time,” summed up Lake. 

“It’s also about how we define efficiency,” said Bernstein. “I come out of traditional TV, using legacy CPMs for linear television. In using TV for mass reach, you get to a point where getting that incremental reach becomes costly. So while alternative screens and ways of reaching that audience might seem a bit less efficient, the question is how much budget goes against that higher-cost linear CPM in order to get that one incremental reach point that you could get instead through second and third screens.

“I think we need to continue to have that conversation with clients, and push them forward on that. Because time spent with ads on traditional TV will continue to decrease.” It might at some point become more efficient to switch some budget into another area and “put the pieces together to create something that moves product,” rather than “continue to hit the same audience in the linear bucket,” she said.

What role does each type of medium play in a campaign? 

It of course depends on the client, but “the key for us is understanding from the starting point what we’re trying to solve for — what success will look like for a given campaign,” said Bernstein. “Once we understand our assets, who the audience is and how they consume media, we figure out which medium will be the foundation. Will it be linear TV, or are we working for a client that needs to reach a younger audience, or doesn’t have enough money to be effective in linear TV? The starting point might be OTT or digital. 

“We try to define the foundation and build from there. If you’re just pulling from all different areas, it gets sloppy and it’s harder to explain the plan to the client. You need to define each channel and what it’s going to serve, even to the point of measurement. We assign measurement against each channel and say, ‘At end of the campaign, we’ll show you success against each channel and bring them together as a 360-degree story despite the lack of a unified measurement.'”

“In planning, the first and most important decision is what represents your base,” said Lake. “That’s going to dictate to a large degree, as you’re using Nielsen and various planning tools, what channel gets the lion’s share of your budget, if that channel is a high-reach channel. If you start with cable TV, most of your budget is going to go to cable TV; if you start with online video or Facebook or YouTube, that platform is going to take most of your budget.

“One thing we focus on is defining the mix from a planning exercise standpoint and then, given the measurement challenges of understanding Channel A versus Channel B, the solution is to optimize within channels,” he agreed. “Most agencies have the tools to optimize within specific channels. Then over time, you can figure out whether you need to move some budget from one to another.”

“You need to define your objective and the benchmarks of the different channels you’re working with,” added Badiola. “What works on digital might not necessarily work well on digital TV. Their audiences can be very different. You have to be very clear about who you’re targeting. One size does not fit all.”

Electronic Arts "believes in the importance of data in crafting our strategies,” he said. “It’s always evolving, so there’s no set answer. But there are a lot of exciting opportunities in that regard as we continue to work on campaigns.”

Bernstein said she makes sure to stay up on data developments by staying in close contact with the agency’s chief data officer, and by “having the right people in the room.”

Years ago in the industry, “it was TV planning here and online video planning there,” she said. “Now, we have people working in each channel, and our creative people, in the room for meetings, so we can understand each other and ask questions.”

“We use a lot of traditional research tools to understand consumer consumption and changes in behavior,” said Lake. “We’ve been able to use [the consumption insights] to take a more holistic approach to planning and aligning media mix and budget allocations across channels. 

“But ultimately, there’s a host of learnings that we have to go through from a brand perspective,” he concluded. “For one thing, you have to build a base of knowledge of channel-optimized creative and what works over here versus over there. That takes some time. So we have a philosophy of ‘always be testing.’ Build a foundation and then continually add to that.”

3 comments about "Media Planning In A Fractured-Screen World".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, November 25, 2019 at 5:48 p.m.

    Hasn't this always been the case?

    Media strategists and planners have always worked across all mediums.   To the best of my knowledge there is no 'currency' data base that measures the audience across them all.

    The current focus on TV - broadcast, cable, OTT, mobile, etc. etc. - misses out on a few things.

    First, all video modes are too often thought of being equal.   That is, the value/impact of an 'impression' is seen as equal irrespective of how that ad is served.

    But this is nothing new.   Cinema is one of the video formats.   Every planner knows that they will get (comparatively) small audience numbers but the impact on the large screen in a darkened environment of an ad is worth it.   We've never tried to 'equalise' cinema with TV (as far as I know).   We might have estimates and adjustment factors - but that is the realm of the planner, given that those factors are not evidence based and that they vary ad-to ad.

    Further, to the best of my knowledge this never been done with print.   Any experienced planner can attest to the effectiveness of a DPS in a premium magazine compared to say a half-page in a newspaper.   Yet, there is no 'currency' method for print

    And of course, there is no currency method that conjoins, TV, radio, OOH, print, press, cinema, direct etc. etc.

    I am not in any way saying that we shouldn't have cross-media currency measurement (or in the case of video cross-medium) but that it is (i) exorbitantly expensive (ii) technically extremely difficult (iii) would require some form of human respondent input - i.e. a longitudinal panel, and (iv) would probably only be feasible at a category level and not a brand level.

    My gut-feel is that on a Cost-Benefit Ratio that money would be better spent on making better ads.   I'd also advocate that brands use the existing audience metrics in non-linear longitudinal econometric advertising effectiveness modelling at a category/brand level to drive their marketing effectiveness.

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, November 29, 2019 at 6:59 p.m.

    If you are reading this you will have read John Grono's commentary on some of the somewhat self-serving "drivel" offered by some of the Panelists at this Media Post TV & Video Insider Summit.  I suggest you read John commentary again. It is absolutely spot-on! 
    His last paragraph regarding creative being "King" in any campaign has always been and will remain fundamental.
    Just in case anyone points to the recent MRC Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards (Phase I Video): 
    1. It surely raises as many questions as it attempt to solve?
    2. It has confused so so many with its term, "viewable impression".  It is NOT an audience impression.  In other words, when is an "impression" as in common use in media planning, buying & selling not an "impression"?  Answer:  When its a "viewable impression" or so so much better - "fully renderded viewable content"!  If you think this description would eliminate most of the current rampant confusion, please advise MRC.
    3. It recommends duration weighting of aforementioned viewable impressions as of 2021.  Surely completely out off MRC's mission and scope?  Media agencies have been dealling with the miriad of qualitative and contextual dimensions of various media platforms in addition to audience delivery well beyond duration for years.  It's part of the value they deliver to advertisersin making their ultimate media mix reommendations.  And they are very good at it!
    Delighted if "OMC" has helped to enhance the evident "GAP" in undersstanding these tricky issues!  

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 30, 2019 at 7:01 p.m.

    Just to add to John's and Tony's comments, even if a single magical metric could be found that, on average, equates an average TV "exposure" with an average digital video "exposure", an agency media planner would have to consider the specific situation of his/her client's campaign. was. For example, if some variation of the time -on-sceen metric was determined to be the new "standard", the planner would have to mull what the purpose of his/her brand's "15s" versus "30s " might be. If the former were designed as reminders ---as opposed to conveying the full branding message---- then the shorter units might carry less weight than the longer ones---or, with a very simple message, they might be deemed to be 85-90% as effective. And there's more. If the planner is considering various cable channels as well as broadcast network buys and varying dayparts and program genres, each of these could require an adjustment to the normative metric. Primetime dramas on the broadcast TV networks might rate 25% higher than sitcom reruns on cable channels ---or reality fare.Then there's the question of in-break ad/promotional clutter. Some channels and program types are very heavily ad cluttered. This, too, requires a variation from the average. Also to be factored in are other variables such as time of year. Is this the start of a new positioning campaign--when "30s" are more important, or later in the year when most prospects have gotten the message and cost efficient "15s are as good as "30s".

    Needless to say these and other variables also apply to digital video ads. So whether we like it or not, I doubt that we will ever see a single, "standard" for comparing TV and digital video---to say nothing of radio, print and OOH media---unless a separate "standard  is developed for each significant variable within each medium. Even so, campaign-specific issues will still trump the application of these standards---leaving us almost exactly where we started---using sound judgement based of the particulars of each campaign as we always have.

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