WARC Media Awards winner Sophy Part, Business Director at OMD UK, writes that the future of cross-screen planning does not entail a complete move to super targeted addressable advertising. Instead, it’s more important than ever to go back to basics and truly consider a campaign’s objective.

Our experience on easyJet had seen the low-cost airline evolve from a solely performance marketing advertiser to a strong brand communicator, seeing us balance different types of communication with our audience for different campaigns.

So we developed a framework that focused on how we talked to our audience, depending on our objectives. To summarise this, the two extreme pillars of the scale ranged from pure brand communications to a promotional sales focus. Brand communications’ objective was to retain advocacy through premium environments that delivered a long-term emotional connection, such as TV.

Conversely, for sales-driving activity, our priority was to drive cost efficient reach within set time periods, using data to optimise performance. Screens more capable of targeted and personalised advertising, such as programmatic or social video on a smartphone or laptop, were a key component in achieving this.

Our objectives clear, we considered how to reach our audience. Consumers’ use of screens has evolved greatly over the past ten years, with changes such as 26 million more adults in the UK owning a tablet than in 2013, according to TGI. This has meant that the way someone experiences video content can differ greatly: the fully immersive experience of watching an ad in the cinema is different to viewing it on a smartphone whilst commuting. These changes in technology have meant that audiences’ viewing habits have changed substantially, with substantially more appetite for short-form video-on-demand content. Considering screens other than TV was non-negotiable.

Scrutinising screens

With the proliferation of available screens and platforms, it seemed that everyone was touting the same incremental reach story, but there was little consideration to the mind-set in which content was being consumed.

An AdReaction Video Study by Millward Brown was very instructive in enabling us to identify this. It explored how, where and why multiscreen users are watching video and what marketers need to know to create video that is effective across screens. One element of this study that we found especially pertinent was the understanding of an audience’s receptivity to video ads depending on device. Overall, people do not outwardly claim to be receptive to advertising, however the number of respondents by device (ranging from TV, smartphone, tablet and laptop or PC) allowed us to generate a receptivity index by screen. Unsurprisingly the largest screen, the TV, came out as the most receptive.

As brand advertising is about building positive associations in the mind, this confirmed our hunch as the priority device for more emotive and longer brand communications. It would have been easy then to assume that the size of screen relates to receptivity, with the smallest of the screens, the smartphone, coming in last. However, this was not the case, with smartphones and tablets coming in at second place. With consumers often using these devices within mind-sets of overcoming boredom, these screens provided an ideal platform for delivering a dual (but shorter) message of branded promotions. The least receptive screen, the laptop or PC, was where we allowed the shortest (and most promotional) messages to shine. As laptop use is more than often goal oriented in usage, we affirmed that a short, to-the-point message was ideal.

Optimising for success

Optimising activity to device was the first port of call before we embarked on a rigorous six stage process for identifying the perfect blend of AV channels by campaign type. The solid foundation of these AV plans gave us the confidence to experiment with data led TV technologies.

These included deploying a tactic akin to digital negative retargeting to identify the best TV programmes to deliver unique reach. This analysis put shows such as Love Island and The French Open on the schedule; which are often programmes that drive high levels of second-screening. This gave us the opportunity of aligning our mobile social activity, which fulfilled two roles:

  1. Driving incremental reach for those with dwindling attention during the ad breaks
  2. Improving ad recall by increasing frequency of message for those that saw both

Furthermore, Sky Media’s AV capabilities have been included in easyJet’s AV strategy from the very beginning. Starting with their AdVance product to capture those who have not seen our ad on TV via online video platforms, we are now using their first party viewing data and addressable TV solutions to capture harder to reach light viewers.

Long-term learning

Understanding how your message should be conveyed and how an audience will receive it, is paramount. These elements, coupled with rigorous multi data source planning, form the basis for success.

This is an extract from WARC’s Cross-Screen Planning Report. Subscribers can download the whole report; non-subscribers can access a sample version. [links]

Sophy will be speaking at a WARC event, Integrating Media Effectively, on Tuesday 16 April at Facebook. WARC subscribers can register for that event here.