Mobile remains a fraction of ad spend for many large advertisers. It’s not that brands don’t understand the mobile revolution. They know that consumer time is splitting across devices as smartphones and tablets occupy more and more of our attention.
The question ad buyers have is whether advertising across screens can really help drive forward an overall campaign goal better than TV-only or traditional online campaigns. In other words, is it worth the trouble?
A growing number of mobile ad industry companies are arguing that a cross-screen approach integrating mobile is more effective. They’re betting that with their cross-screen pitch — and with ad platforms that can deliver premium impressions at scale — they can sell marketers on mobile.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we take stock of cross-screen marketing, analyze how audiences are becoming increasingly screen agnostic, examine how cross-screen advertising can be made effective, dig into the measurement and analytics problem, and offer a side-by-side comparison of the different mobile tracking technologies.
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Here’s a brief overview of why cross-screen marketing will be a game changer:
Audiences are becoming increasingly digitally agnostic: They are willing to consume the same content — perhaps presented in different manners — across screens. Users already habitually move across four screens, and there may be another screen on the way in the form of smart eyewear or wrist wear. The opportunities for cross-screen marketers will multiply as we move across screens to accomplish tasks, or use them simultaneously.
Cross-screen marketing tactics are already achieving real results: AdColony, a mobile video ad company, employed a cross-screen marketing strategy for a client’s consumer packaged goods brand. They targeted one set of users with just a TV ad about the brand, and another set of users with a combined TV, iPad, and iPhone campaign. Unaided brand recall was 43% for audiences who had been exposed to the cross-screen campaigns, and only 6% for the TV-only campaign. Purchase intent was 18% for the TV-only crowd, and 31% for the cross-screen campaign’s audience.
Several additional strategies have proven to be very powerful as well: In cross-screen retargeting, users are tracked and presented ads from sites they have visited in the past. While this technique is now familiar on PCs, it’s only recently that retargeting across screens has become feasible. Frequency capping, where an individual is only presented an ad a defined number of times in a time period to avoid overwhelming and desensitizing prospects, should help as well.
The problem of attribution is the greatest barrier: The largest barrier to effective cross-screen advertising is the proper measurement of mobile advertising. Marketers refer to it as the attribution problem. Particularly on mobile, it’s not always clear when ads lead to sales or conversions. Metrics and business models differ across mediums, adding to the complexity.
In full, the special report: