“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is by Kim Reed Perell, the CEO of Adconion Direct.
Consumers are now everywhere when it comes to digital. They are networking on social media sites, watching videos, checking email, reading news – across smartphones, tablets and desktops. The Internet is being used in more ways through more channels and more devices than ever before.
Consumers are already cross channel, and advertisers want to be. A recent study conducted by Forrester Research showed that 78% of companies and brands believe cross channel advertising is "important or very important."
Why do we strongly believe bridging channels and devices and data will create efficiencies and performance? Because of what we know works today.
Multi-channel advertising works. Video, display, social, email, and mobile all perform in different ways. Video, display and mobile push engaging messages and content to attentive eyeballs and succeed in branding. Email works for direct response. So does social (even if people only started believing it thanks to Facebook Exchange). Running channels concurrently, with each channel trying to drive the same end goal, creates efficiencies. We know this. With the same end goal, the "multi-" in multi-channel advertising creates a natural A/B test, and advertisers can optimize towards the channel that is accomplishing that goal more efficiently. The important part is aligning the channels to the goals they are best suited to achieve (or having attribution models in place to attribute what they are good at outside of those goals, but for the time being… let's keep it simple).
Cross channel audience insights work. A person is the same person regardless of channel or device. Most tech companies are unable to leverage it because they are focused on a single channel. The reason is the data and insights we learn about people are extremely different from channel to channel. Take social data, or more specifically Facebook information. All of the targetable data on Facebook is relatively accurate, as it is user expressed. A person is generally honest about information on their gender, age and stated interests, but they do omit the interests they don't want others to know about.
Display data, on the other hand, is behavioral based. It's made up of the sites and clicks and searches the person is actually doing. Each channel provides incremental insights about a user, and aggregated together create more complete profiles about a brand's users, and therefore, a more complete profile to buy media or audiences against. If a large number of people that like your brand on Facebook express that they like skiing, buying display media against skiing sites, or people that have been to a skiing site, is a reasonable action. The performance of the media will affirm it.
Advertisers can recognize real efficiencies from both social and display data today. Companies with cross channel insights can build much stronger audience profiles than individual point players, and can apply those profiles in executing single or multi-channel campaigns for advertisers. An added benefit for the advertiser is a single point of contact for multiple channels, which creates exponential efficiency in terms of time and resources.
This is why I believe cross channel advertising is the future of advertising. If running multiple channels works, and targeting profiles built on cross channel data on each of those channels works, moving off of reaching profiles to reaching individual users across channels and devices in a meaningful way should be that much more efficient and effective.
Is the industry there yet? No, not at scale. But consumers are, which means we need to be.