The Reality of 3-Screen Convergence

As most media professionals dive deep into 2013 planning (and for those that should be), it is clear that the changing landscape will impact your approach. The most significant change we are currently encountering is how to address the mass adaption of multiple screens.

Based on eMarketer research, between 50 percent and 70 percent+ of users are utilizing more than one device at a time. Multiple activities and content are now vying for the attention of your consumers, and as marketers your media strategies must address these changes.

This change to consumer behavior has a direct impact to attention span. As marketers, we need to be smarter in our plan allocations to make an impact across multiple media environments. See this infographic from Think with Google.

It’s easy enough to say you need a TV, digital (desktop), and mobile strategy, but I would argue they are not separate strategies. There are certainly differing consumer needs across each platform, but they are often linked to a single experience. The approach should be driven by your consumer but agnostic of medium.

Analytics will need to adapt further to give marketers a clear idea of how users are engaging cross-screen. It will be important to determine which marketing platforms are “working”…and “working” together to provide stronger consumer response.

Standard digital has progressed to provide right time, right place, right impression capabilities. Traditional mediums will become more digitally enabled and emerging screens will learn to harness their technology for the better good of advertisers. These eventual changes will inherently provide more tracking and smarter ad delivery mechanisms will be developed.

In the meantime, there are a few constant ground rules that we can apply to media planning:

  • Research and analytics are a must to allocate appropriate budgets. Everyone’s favorite question, how do you determine the allocation between desktop, mobile, and TV – with constant growth in all platforms? You can start with time spent with medium and level of engagement forecasted, but it will come down to the goals of your campaign in the end. Also, pricing models still differ significantly and unfortunately that needs to be taken into account.
  • Building relationships with media partners will help facilitate a singular experience. With the newness of three-screen convergence, managing a singular experience currently falls directly on the relationship between the advertiser and the media partner. Without universal tracking to ensure the holistic experience is managed, it is best to test with partners who can offer sponsorships across multiple screens.
  • A consistent message is a necessity. Your voice should remain consistent. There will always be contingencies across platforms based on how users interact with a particular device, but your message should match your brand.
  • Know your brand story, make it engaging, and find ways to provide value. On top of maintaining a consistent voice, remember that you are creating a 360-degree experience. Make sure you are drawing the consumer in and providing value. The consumer is multi-tasking on her time; as a brand, if we don’t provide value, the message won’t be memorable.
  • Holding the media accountable. Come up with a measurement plan before launching; do not try to do this after the fact. The approach will likely need to include multiple metrics in order to value success across many screens. Metrics should always be tied entirely to the business goals of your brand or product and be easily discerned to conclude whether it was successful or not. Easier said than done!
  • Recognize disparity exists in multiple screens, connected vehicles, and devices – you can’t do it all. There are many different screens and it is further confused by the advancement of streaming technologies, none of which are consistent (gaming consoles, Roku, connected TVs, satellite, iPad, Kindle, etc.). Advertisers should start with the mediums consumed most often by their customer base. From there, test and learn on other platforms until consumer adoption has advanced and/or measurability is tangible.

Finally, realize it will only get more complicated, so you might as well enjoy it!

Three screens image on home page via Shutterstock.

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