Digital Transformation Media Measurement Media

Why a cross-media mindset is key to reaching APAC’s multi-screen nomads


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

June 10, 2024 | 6 min read

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Marketers in APAC are optimistic about bigger budgets - but there’s a measurement mismatch in perceived effectiveness of digital channels versus desired long-term ROI.

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The marketer’s great balancing act - media transformation and pragmatism in Asia Pacific

ROI. It’s the three letter acronym that crops up in almost every marketing conversation right now; none more so than in Asia Pacific, where long-term ROI and full-funnel ROI are deemed the most important KPIs for marketers across the region. Still, there’s a notable disconnect in how their current objectives and strategies are designed to achieve those desired outcomes.

On one hand, marketers in Asia Pacific are optimistic about their marketing investments; 82% expecting bigger ad budgets this year, with plans to allocate more than 64% of that budget to select digital channels, including social media, search, online video and digital display.

By attributing this continuing shift to higher perceived effectiveness, marketers are inherently hindering their ability to drive long-term ROI. But it’s not a question of “putting all your eggs in the digital basket,” explains Arnaud Frade, president commercial, Audience Measurement Asia, Nielsen, rather “where to balance between the necessity of brand building and the tactical requirements of a digital activation.”

To be able to do this effectively, marketers need to take more control of their data investments to get the most out of them. “A lot of advertisers are abdicating the depth of their measurement to their agencies (which plays a significant role) but where I see the opportunity is to have a better first-hand understanding of what’s happening with their brands,” says Frade. “By understanding the broader datasets that underpin the industry, the category and the market they’re operating in, they’ll understand the brand levers they can activate and engage to increase their ROI.”

Addressing the measurement mismatch

That’s especially important in today’s hyper fragmented era, where Asia’s multi-screen nomads are increasingly jumping from one device to another.

Many countries across the region have a digital first population. They’ve been raised on watching entertainment on a mobile screen. And that changes the way they interact with brands. In other parts of the world, watching a movie is a sit-down event - a moment of continuous viewership. But, as Frade says, in Asia, “you’re more likely to see viewers watching a movie in five-minute increments during a commute, and that has a huge impact on content creation and the nature of measurement.”

This calls for an even greater understanding of the interplay between screens and formats. And while it’s encouraging to learn that 88% of marketers are extremely or very confident in their ROI measurement capabilities (up from 57% last year), only 38% say they evaluate the holistic ROI of their marketing efforts by measuring traditional and digital marketing together - pointing to a gap between martech confidence and tactical execution.

This mismatch creates blindspots in measurement that can contribute to misattribution and a likely underestimation of the true impact of a brand’s total marketing efforts.

Shifting to people-centric data

In a changing media landscape - with stricter regulatory environments, combined with tech giants phasing out support for third-party cookies - this creates further challenges for marketers to reach the right audiences. And it’s getting tougher to track in recent years, given the rise of connected TV and more fragmented entertainment and streaming options and formats.

As a result, the market is shifting towards de-duplicated, cross-media measurement solutions to improve scale and accuracy. As Frade says: “How do we really have that full vision of cross media? There’s huge demand and hunger for a de-duplicated media approach and that will continue to be a big development over the next few years.”

Because of this, it’s forcing a shift to more people-centric data. But before marketers can accurately target audiences, effectively maximizing their campaign ROI, they still need to have confidence in the audience data they work with.

Adopting a cross media mindset

It all comes back to the age-old short-term, performance-led vs long-term brand building debate. But it doesn’t need to be one over the other. Both approaches work best when they work together - enabling marketers to measure the impact of downstream purchases as well as how consumer perceptions are affected by marketing exposures and sustained over time.

A one-track mind is not enough to succeed in today’s complex media landscape. For marketers to deliver on those goals of long-term ROI and full-funnel ROI, a cross-media mindset is key. That requires breaking out of silos to be able to spend where it counts, and measure the total impact of marketing to grow brands and deliver business outcomes.

And it means understanding that we’re evolving into what Frade calls “an era of marketing intelligence,” characterized by the rise of the “data capable marketer” who is better able to understand the insights powering their multi-scalable partnerships and processes, to succeed today and in the future.

To learn more about ‘The marketer’s great balancing act - media transformation and pragmatism in Asia Pacific’ download the full white paper from Nielsen here.

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