Q&A: Will 2014 Be the Year of Multiscreen Marketing?

Multiscreen planning is becoming mainstream, and a few agencies are predicting it will be a big trend this year.

A Millward Brown report forecasts that multiscreen marketing will dominate in 2014, based on a compilation of insights from its experts around the world, which identified the need for marketers to better understand consumer behavior across devices and encourages them to adjust investments accordingly.

OMD China, which claims to be one of the first media agencies to develop its own multiscreen methodology, upgraded its TGR tool last July. The agency says its competitive advantage is that its measurements included brand key performance indicators (KPIs) across five types of screens, including TV, online video, office LCD, bus, and metro LCDs in the country.

Fueled by declining TV viewership and rising costs of TV media buys, OMD China rolled out multiscreen planning three years ago and is reported to have implemented this approach in more than 200 campaigns across China.

Bhasker Jaiswal, managing partner of business intelligence at OMD China, thinks cross-platform campaigns will continue to gain prominence in China this year.

In an interview with ClickZ, he clarifies the misconceptions marketers have with multiscreen buying and shares four tips that could help marketers optimize audience reach across platforms in China.

Excerpts of the Q&A below:

bhaskerjaiswalomdchinaClickZ: How would you define multiscreen media planning?

Bhasker Jaiswal: Multiscreen planning is the approach of equalizing all video channels so that we as advertisers can leverage and plan on consumer exposure habits that are not restricted to one medium, i.e. TV.

This is not just buying more media. The key difference from multiscreen buying is that there’s one reach and frequency objective for all media. For example, if we’re targeting to reach 50 percent of the audience for three times the exposure, all the media will combine to deliver this objective. The old way was to secure the TV buy at three times the exposure for 50 percent target and then buy more media if budget permitted.

A common misconception about multiscreen planning is that TV is the base media and other screens are used to help build additional reach on top of TV. In my view, this will be creating plans that are TV-skewed, disregarding the actual media habits of consumers. A truly multiscreen plan is where the most efficient media to build the desired reach and frequency objective is selected, and it may or may not have TV.

Some key differences between multiscreen planning and multiscreen buying are:

Multiscreen Buying

MultiScreen Planning

TV is base medium.

TV may not be part of multiscreen plan.

Different objective for each screen.

Single campaign objective.

Other media selected if TV goals are met.

All video channels are evaluated together.

No savings — whole budget is used.

Savings due to more efficient split of GRP (gross rating point) across media.

CZ: What are the challenges and opportunities for multiscreen planning in China?

BJ: The lack of a single consistent currency across screens is a challenge across the world. In this aspect, China is fortunate that multiple vendors have come up to bridge the gap. But it presents another challenge, since the industry is used to CSM providing TV ratings. Currently our agency, Miaozhen, and Ad Master have come up with panels that can help advertisers develop multiscreen plans, especially TV and online video.

The other big challenge is prevailing mindset. As mentioned, lots of existing thinking is based on “multiscreen buying,” which places TV as a base and then build from there. Advertisers are used to buying TV for the past 60 years and thus the seismic shift of audiences away from TV has caught them by surprise. However, multiscreen planning is a boon as they can still reach the target with their TVC but with a different mix.

As the market is developing, we’re seeing better data sources to improve the multiscreen planning process. More in-depth data sources focused on each screen are available. For instance, Infosys OOH (out-of-home) by Kantar Media is providing office LCD GRP. Digital tracking agencies like Miaozhen or Ad Master are now able to provide online video reach curve. Thus advertisers can fine-tune their multiscreen plan for every media, just like TV, to build greater efficiencies.

Another opportunity is creating best practices using the current measurement available. For TV, there are benchmarks for success for each category. For multiscreen, it’s imperative that advertisers test and measure their campaigns so that they keep up with changing consumer habits as well as media data.

CZ: What factors should brand marketers consider when implementing a multiscreen plan?

BJ: First, it’s essential for marketers to look at all of the screens vs. just TV and online video.

It’s also very important to have a clear objective and measurement in place in order to have an effective multiscreen plan. The learning from each campaign can then be applied in future campaigns.

While multiscreen is now mainstream, it doesn’t mean we should apply it to all markets, especially for brands where markets are largely made up of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. From an efficiency standpoint, it may be cost-effective to just focus our investment on TV in some cities if the TV reach is high and TV CPRP is still relatively low.

Last but not least, marketers should take note that the many data sources available in the markets don’t have the same population base. For instance, data used by Miaozhen or Ad master have a higher base than population as they use cookies that inflate the base. Therefore, the 100 GRPs on TV may not be the same as 100 GRP by digital vendors on online video. It’s important to equalize all data to base population while building a multiscreen plan.

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