This year’s Super Bowl may not have scored with football fans, but its ads delivered something worth noting: a new record for the most mentions of hashtags. Data on national Super Bowl spots shows that hashtags featured in 57 percent of ads, compared with 50 percent last year. The majority of mentions drove viewers to Facebook, with Twitter close behind. Hyundai, T-Mobile, and Subway each included multiple social network logos to promote interaction.
Increasingly, TV and the Web are sharing the spotlight in marketing campaigns. Together they perform many advertising needs: reach the masses, generate buzz, and engage viewers in brand-centric conversation. Digital media ups TV’s relevance, and TV drives scores of consumers online.
Historically, cross-media campaigns have presented a measurement conundrum, but it’s something that may soon be put to rest. Last week saw two developments that bode well for marketers eager to get a better handle on their cross-platform campaigns. Nielsen and CBS Corporation announced a new set of strategic research initiatives designed to enhance cross-media audience measurement. By helping marketers to understand consumer behavior as it relates to TV and the Web, the companies aim to facilitate more targeted campaigns.
Meanwhile, comScore — along with the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) — publicized a plan to expand comScore’s existing measurement service. The next iteration of the offering will include multi-platform advertising, mobile video, time-shifted viewing (DVR playback), and children’s viewing.
These initiatives stand to have a major impact on digital media buying practices. eMarketer has reported that time spent with digital media has surpassed time spent with TV, with adults allocating more than two hours and 20 minutes per day to mobile. And according to a study from research firm The Diffusion Group (TDG), 15 percent of adult tablet users and 14 percent of smartphone users now connect their devices to their TVs to view online video on a larger screen. The barriers between TV and the Web were already weak, but now it seems they’ve deteriorated further as a result of a paradigm shift. Media is media now, wherever we may find it.
“It has been very challenging for brand marketers to understand how many people they are reaching and where to focus their media spend relative to audience engagement,” says Diaz Nesamoney, founder and chief executive (CEO) of multi-platform interactive ad company Jivox. “These kinds of industry collaborations represent a tide that will lift all boats as marketers get more comfortable viewing a campaign as a single execution rather than the siloes that exist today.”
According to Nesamoney, the availability of more in-depth data will help marketers better budget for each platform and device. They’ll be better equipped to optimize their ad spend, which in turn will result in an improved return on investment. “A big struggle still exists to provide unified insight into the path to purchase in this extremely fragmented landscape,” he says. “As we saw with the Super Bowl, mobile ensured the spots were still seen even by folks who didn’t have time to watch the game, or who stopped watching after the first half.”
The takeaway here is twofold: modern-day marketing campaigns should create a screen-agnostic, all-inclusive media experience, and marketers must have a good grasp of how consumers are using mediums in tandem with each other in order to reach their targets. The efforts of measurement companies to delve deeper into user behavior and augment awareness of attitudes toward TV and the Web will present media buyers with an invaluable understanding of how best to craft their campaigns.
As brands continue to experiment by driving TV audiences to destination sites and social networks online, they’ll need as much user data as they can get.