Increasingly, major advertisers are adopting a multiplatform planning approach to their campaigns and media companies are packaging their inventory to encourage this strategy and deliver on its promise. Given the impetus in the marketplace, both buyers and sellers need to understand the value of thinking across multiple platforms — and to measure it in a relevant, real-world manner.
Traditionally, the value of a multiplatform campaign was seen in its increased reach among its potential audience. Data gathered by Integrated Media Measurement shows that reach has indeed increased, but by relatively small levels.
Thoughtful marketers have long believed multiplatform campaigns have the potential to convert individual consumers more effectively than advertising on an individual platform alone. The goal has been to prove it.
Performance is still largely measured using metrics that are, at best, a proxy for reality. Recently, several comprehensive studies have been released which examine the impact of multiple ad platforms. Those studies have had to rely on awareness and intent-to-purchase information gathered via surveys of panelists, instead of tracking actual behavior.
Now, using patented cellphone-based technology, exposure to audio-based content and advertising can be passively captured around the clock. These ongoing findings are based on a single-source measurement system, in which exposure to content and advertising across a variety of sources can be measured as they live their lives in and out of the home, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of weight, frequency and recentness of ad exposure.
For example, the system reports when a panel member is exposed to an ad for a movie that airs on radio, television and/or as a theatrical trailer, and then whether the panel member actually goes to the movie. Also tracked is a panel member’s exposure to television and radio promos for television shows, and his or her subsequent viewing choice.
An examination of 18 television programs, five movies and a DVD release provide a concrete illustration of the finding that multiple platform exposure has greater impact than single platform exposure. Among the specific conclusions:
- Multiplatform advertising increases reach over individual platform advertising, but the effect is not merely additive. IMMI data allows marketers to identify how many unique panel members are being added (over television) by radio, and in some cases by theatrical trailers.
- By tracking panel member viewing activity after being exposed to ads for television shows and movies, the effectiveness (conversion rate) of multiplatform advertising for media was determined.
- Six major broadcast and cable networks ran significant television and radio campaigns before their new season premieres. For each of these shows, the rates of panelists who watch the program being promoted are consistently higher among the segment exposed to a combination of platforms than among those exposed to just one platform.
- For four cable network shows, the data quantified the impact of promotion on the television, Internet, in-cinema and TiVo Showcase platforms. In all of these cases, exposure across more than one platform increased effectiveness.
- Of the movie releases tracked by IMMI in 2007, five employed significantly large multiplatform advertising with enough exposure to quantify the effects of campaigns. In almost every case, the conversion for multiplatform was higher than conversion for a single platform, and, in some cases, much higher.
This is true even when conversion rates are controlled for frequency and recentness of ad exposure, and the ability to focus on a specific target audience.
Why should multiplatform advertising have an intrinsic effectiveness that goes well beyond those from any single platform? Perhaps it’s the buzz factor. When a consumer hears a message from several different sources it may take on more perceived importance. This could be an important factor in promoting all television shows, big and small.
It may also be a significant reason for advertisers to buy time not only on different media, but also on different types of programming within a particular medium. This may turn out to be a significant driver for placing ads across a broader spectrum of shows.
As data showing actual individual consumer response to specific advertising becomes more available, advertisers are going to become much better informed about the real-world impact of their ad buys. Fortunately for many media operators, one of the first conclusions drawn from this new data is buy multiplatform.