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Integrated cross-platform ads are not driving reach, ROI: Nielsen

Integrated cross-platform advertising frequently does not result in a higher return on investment or greater reach than independently run campaigns, according to new data from Nielsen.

With video consumption on mobile devices growing quickly, brands are increasingly focused on integrating campaigns across multiple screens.

"Nielsen research shows that ads with both TV and online consumer exposure generally achieve higher levels of next-day recall than ads with TV-only exposure or online-only exposure, even at the same frequency of exposure ? and therein lies the opportunity," said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions at Nielsen.

"The key to seizing this opportunity is measurement, because only what has been measured can be improved," he said. "The ability to measure both TV and online, each independently and also together, allows marketers to get a deeper understanding and more accurate sense of how a campaign is doing.

"That knowledge can then be applied to optimize performance, maximizing the return on the ad investment."

Full synergies
In an examination of 45 cross-platform campaigns, Nielsen found that their duplicated reach was on par with campaigns in which TV and online were run independently.

On average, these integrated campaigns reached only 7.6 percent of the intended audience via both TV and online. Advertisers can typically expect a 7 percent completely random duplication when planning campaigns independently for each screen, according to Nielsen.

Nielsen reports that its research also reveals that with accurate measurement a campaign can get, on average, 8 percent greater reach or significantly higher frequency without any additional expenditure or alteration to their mix of spend.

While the Nielsen data suggests that the results of such efforts are mixed, some would argue that the focus on reach does not tell the whole story.

?Reach should not always be the core strategy driving a multi-screen campaign,? said Natasha Hritzuk, senior director of global consumer insights at Microsoft.

?Although it is tempting to see each new screen as a new surface on which to wallpaper our content, we need to be more nuanced around the opportunities inherent in multi-screen marketing,? she said.

?Multi-screen marketing is also about reaching the right consumers with a message that is additive and meaningful to them ? and that ultimately drives impact. If we reach 100,000,000 people but only 10 percent care about what we are conveying, is that really a metric for success??

Ms. Hritzuk is co-author of the book, ? Multi-screen Marketing: The seven things you need to know to reach your customers across TVs, computers, tablets, and mobile phones ? (John Wiley & Sons, 2014).

Mobile at the center
Brands are chasing multi-screen marketing strategies in response to changing consumer habits, with the hours consumers spent watching online video having grown 30 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen.

The expectation is that when managed together, TV and digital hold the potential to drive a bigger impact for advertisers by increasing their reach and/or reinforcing their messaging across screens.

Mobile is likely to play an increasingly important role in well-executed, integrated campaigns that provide a consistent and relevant brand experience across selected channels to provide value along the consumer journey.

?Increasingly, mobile will be at the center of cross-platform campaigns,? said Gabe Misarti, chief strategy officer at Tris3ct, Chicago. ?As a personal, omni-present device, mobile offers marketing opportunities that no other channel can offer, and it should be recognized as such in an integrated plan.

?The power of mobile will never be in banner ads, no matter how personalized,? he said. ?Mobile will be optimized when the mobile device is leveraged as a vehicle for a brand to enhance a consumer's experience.?

While mobile is playing a bigger role, marketers should not be integrating mobile just because they can.

?Ultimately, the real art of multi-screen marketing is selecting the right screen to drive the desirable consumer behavior ? whether it?s a purchase or deepening brand love,? Microsoft?s Ms. Hritzuk said. ?And, to do this, marketers need to make sure they align their content with the primary way consumers relate to each screen.

?If the goal is to drive engagement with content, then the tablet is the best screen since consumers are more likely to explore on their tablets,? she said. ?If the goal is to drive a transaction, then mobile might be the better choice.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York