We live in a world of multi-screens, multiplatforms, and multi-devices – from smartphones to connected TVs to wearables, to name but a few.
Just count the number of screens that you own or are in your house, and I’m sure many of you will be in double figures.
Consequently consumers are ever more accustomed to using a variety of devices at different moments throughout the day, and increasingly in tandem with each other. According to the IAB’s RealView study, consumers spend one hour and oneminute a day using at least two devices, sometimes three, simultaneously.
Think of the most recent item you bought online. Did it follow a linear path to purchase where you engaged with just one screen? Unlikely I’m sure. As these mobile experiences evolve, with faster data connections and better devices, consumers are also depending on their smartphones and tablets for the important stuff that used to be reserved for PCs – like purchases and sign-ups.
Why then would advertisers choose to run campaigns across screens independently? Yes, it is simple to establish which screens perform best, but would the takeaway be to stop advertising on one of these screens?
Consistency across screens
Consumers that engage across a range of devices and mediums expect consistency from brands around look, feel and messaging. As such, advertisers that buy across multiple channels should use cross-device targeting to deliver consistent and relevant messages to consumers.
Mobile gives lots of data signals to advertisers – each time a consumer opens an app there is anything between five and 30 different bits of data, from the device being used to the mobile network. Savvy brands are already looking at how best they leverage that data to deploy a joined-up cross-screen advertising strategy.
Done right, this type of targeting can see dramatic returns for advertisers. A recent cross-screen campaign by Jeep in the US found click-through rate (CTR) increased by over 43 percent on PC ads when users saw the ads on multiple screens, with over half of all impressions delivered in that campaign reaching the same users across screens.
Attributing conversions across screens
Beyond consistent messaging, there is also huge potential in cross-screen for better attribution. Imagine as an advertiser being able to report conversions from any screen, and tie them back to the first touch. Here’s a fitting example for the season, and The Drum!
You’re checking the weather in Scotland ahead of a business trip on your smartphone, and see an ad for a hotel special on Hogmanay. Where to spend New Year is a group decision, so you wait until your friends are on board. Two weeks after seeing the original ad, you book the deal on your laptop. With the right kind of mobile-first cross-screen strategy, brands can now capture that first in-app impression in mobile and map it to the conversion on PC.
By being able to evaluate the impact of an investment in this way, advertisers will know where to re-invest. The real benefit for brands here is not only knowing what worked, but who gets the credit for making it work.
Mobile at the heart of cross-screen
Cross-screen advertising will shift brands’ focus beyond impressions and clicks to better understand consumers by the frequency that they reach them across multiple screens – how they engage with advertiser messages on different devices – and the path they take to and from that message.
In 2015 advertisers simply must connect with audiences across smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, to make their campaigns more consistent, cohesive, relevant and impactful. This next phase of digital will push brands to become more strategic with mobile, taking a cross-screen approach and placing it at the heart of all digital communications, to align advertising and messaging as audiences move across devices.
Zac Pinkham, managing director EMEA, Millennial Media
Tel: +44 (0) 207 151 3320