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Cross-Screen Reach

Cross-Screen Advertising: No Longer One Size Fits All

July 29th, 2016   ||    by Melanie Brown

For the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about omnichannel marketing and cross-screen advertising. Content is being consumed on various devices, viewers are no longer tied to their TV sets, and advertisers have had to adapt to users’ shifting attention.

Strategy Shifts

Many media buyers have taken their campaigns across screens in response, purchasing digital video space in conjunction with their traditional TV buys. As we’ve seen, the strategy for many buyers has shifted from buying channels to buying content.

According to Mediapost, a recent survey funded by Nielsen shows that the same content is often absorbed differently based on the channel it’s consumed on. The study had participants watch five shows with identical ads on televisions, smartphones, tablets, and computers, and then measured their levels of engagement.

Viewers were just as engaged with the content presented on a television as they were with content appearing on a smartphone. However, the attentiveness of a consumer to an advertisement dropped dramatically for the so-called “second screens.” Sixty-two percent of viewers were able to recall the TV ads, versus around 45 percent for each of the other screens’ ads. The root of this disparity could be attributed to a few things—one being that the ads viewed on second screens were deemed incongruous by survey responders.

Advertising Adaptations

For advertisers, this creates the need to adapt again. It’s no longer enough to use the same creative on television, digital, and mobile video. Consumers are expecting advertising that aligns with the viewing experience. If we consider the behavior behind using any particular screen to view content, it’s natural that the viewer would require different versions of ads to keep them engaged.

A television viewer is often parked in front of the screen for a while, whereas a computer viewer can readily switch back and forth between browser tabs, and phone and tablet viewers are also able to multitask while viewing content.

One size fits all is no longer the strategy for cross-screen advertising. As a result, advertisers are starting to get more inventive with their creative. GEICO is a recent example of a company that debuted ads specific to online video advertising. The insurance company’s “unskippable” campaign touted, “You can’t skip this ad because it’s already over,” notes AdvertisingAge. The message was delivered in five seconds, but the spot continues on, keeping the viewer engaged for the remainder of the ad out of pure curiosity.

There are fundamental differences in the way viewers consume content and advertising on each screen, and advertisers are starting to catch up.

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