'Multi-screen' is now a common term in the world of communications. Advertisers and agencies are quickly adapting to the changing media habits of consumers. As they get familiar with multi-screen planning, the data from tracking agencies have also come under greater scrutiny.
For many, the biggest challenge faced in multi-screen planning so far has been the lack of a single consistent currency across screens. Amongst all screens, TV + online video is the most often used combination for most. In response to this, tracking agencies have come up with various methodologies that seek to bridge the gap between TV and online video by providing a combined reach of the two. Many marketers have been relying on these data to build their multi-screen media plans.
It is no doubt a good thing that most marketers are already using multi-screen plans to enhance reach and efficiency. However, one should realise that unlike research companies, tracking agencies rely heavily on online cookies gathered from each tracked campaign. The data source they use is different from existing TV sources, and therefore it is not an apples-to-apples comparison when putting the two together.
Furthermore, this methodology excludes OOH screens from the overall media mix as it only supports online video + TV. One should not overlook the huge potential of OOH screens, which have a higher reach than online video, especially in tier-one cities in China.
While online video penetration is high throughout China, it is less of an effective driver of unaided brand awareness in tier-one cities. This could be attributed to the relatively less cluttered and thus better advertising environment in tier-two and -three cities.
Besides that, given the high media inflation of online video, OOH screens might have better CPRP in some cities. The effectiveness of OOH screens should not be a concern as it has already been tested and proven to many OMD clients over the past three years.
From the planning standpoint, data from established research companies like TGR is best used for overall multi-screen strategic planning, whereas data from tracking agencies is best used in digital buying optimisation. TGR (fusion of CNRS & CSM) has a representative and unbiased population base in comparison to that of tracking companies which are skewed towards a digital population.
So what is the future of multi-screen planning? We think there are three key things.
Media agencies will need to look into current methodology used to ensure measurement accuracy and effective multi-screen planning.
More than just TV + online video
OOH screens should be taken into account in order to have a more holistic and efficient plan. Besides that, the significant growth of video on mobiles/tablets will lead some advertisers to start including this as part of their multi-screen plans.
Going beyond reach and CPRP
Many advertisers will want to drive not only efficiency but also their brand KPIs more effectively. This will lead the gradual move from using single ad copy across screens to customising copy based on consumers’ responses to each screen.