A view from Nick Reid

Tech viewpoint on cross-screen

The power of sight, sound and motion continues to be the strongest storytelling tool and marketers' bedrock for nearly all media campaigns.

The way we all consume that content and, more importantly, the screens on which we do so, has, however, fundamentally changed. 

The ability to efficiently reach audiences with a cross-screen approach has been an aspiration for agencies and advertisers for some time. As technology changes consumption habits, how do you attract the consumers you missed through traditional channels (because they are no longer watching appointment-to-view linear TV) or who only consume the internet through mobile?

Just as technology and software has changed consumer behaviour, so has it changed the way in which media is planned and bought. Advertisers are now using software to build off their existing TV plan using programmatic to find people across other devices who they have not reached or under-indexed through TV. This cross-screen approach through automation builds a supplemental and complementary approach across desktop, mobile and tablet, as well as programmatic TV.

The key to making the cross-screen dream a reality is data and measurement. It’s now possible to purchase both TV and digital ads from within a single software platform, allowing advertisers to target more effectively, measure reach more holistically and gain a better grasp of how their media pounds are working. As automation extends beyond the world of digital – and even beyond TV – into media such as print, radio and out-of-home, the ability to direct pounds to the places where brand goals are successfully achieved becomes even more important.

Some ad-tech suppliers believe that the way to success is to start with a specific device- or platform-first programmatic cross-screen strategy. However, the reality is that technology’s purpose should be to help marketers navigate every device agnostically and not to drive buyers to a specific spend (which is invariably designed to favour the supplier and not the marketer).

As understanding of cross-screen is embraced, we believe we will see further impact on creative, where we move from the "one size fits all" approach of putting a 30-second spot across all devices. Creative campaigns need to account for the different usage patterns inherent on various devices. While complex creative concepts work on TV, long rendering times and heavy data downloads will see consumers click away if their mobile experience is compromised. Additionally, viewers inherently want to skip away when ads appear on-screen, so marketers will need to grab attention within the first four seconds to avoid saying goodbye to potential eyeballs.

Nick Reid is the UK managing director of TubeMogul