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Using Simultaneous Messaging Across Mixed Media Channels

The adoption and usage of mobile and tablet devices have soared, while media on TV and the desktop computer screen continue to rise steadily. Technology companies that are bringing new products to the market are fueling the increase in the usage of multiple screens. As this trend continues, consumers’ attention will become increasingly fragmented as they tune into media content on the device that suits their needs and or preference at any given time.
Consumers are adopting the use of many different screens, many times to perform same or similar activities, like watching a movie trailer or looking for more information regarding a product or service. However, each screen caters to the consumer with its own purpose, and ideally should provide a cohesive experience to support brand recall, engagement and purchase intent.
Marketers can be sure of this: one screen doesn’t fit all today. The marketing message should be focused on the channels that have been researched and defined as those that best reach the target audience and provide the most valuable experience for the customer to make a buying decision. The purchase funnel as we know it has changed; consumers take many different paths and each screen will become a critical outlet.

Multi-Screen Usage and Consumer Behavior
Usage habits are changing and evolving; decisions are made from the influence of multiple sources of information. In many cases, what happens on one screen drives consumers to another screen. For example, TV ads consistently influence Internet search usage for more product information, and this search takes place on the desktop, mobile and tablet. Social media channels have proven to be a factor in the purchase funnel as consumers turn to them for information and advice from friends or advocates of the products and services they are seeking to buy. The old days of viewing an ad on TV and then visiting a store to buy it are mostly over. Now, the TV ad that sparks interest turns into a keyword search on an Internet connected device, often right in the consumers’ hands while watching TV. Or, at the point of need, a consumer who recalls the brand from stimulus like a TV ad in many cases will now turn to a mobile device or tablet to find more information when they actually need the product or service.
Consumers tuning into multi-screen media stimulus are showing a greater recall of the advertised products or service. Smart advertisers are already embracing a multi-screen approach integrating digital screens with traditional ones. Subscriptions for combined cable TV and broadband Internet services are on the rise for households, clearing the path for advertisers to reach multiple screens in the home.
Key findings from Microsoft research include: 88 percent of people research brands and products on computers, 36 percent research them on smartphones, and 32 percent research them from watching television.
Recent studies by Forrester Research indicate that tablet ownership will see dramatic gains over just the next few years. With annual growth rates predicted at 51 percent from 2010 to 2015, one-third of U.S. adults will own a tablet device. Distribution of the advertising message will have an audience beyond the TV screen.
Studies from Nielsen in Q4 2011 indicate the number of Americans watching video online has reached 48 percent; smartphone subscribers using mobile Internet has grown to 45 percent.
With all these new stats, marketers still must ask themselves how this all works. Some of the better case studies measure the effectiveness of multi-screen campaigns by looking at awareness from aided recall. A recent study by Nielsen and Google showed a large increase in aided recall and details of an advertisement from a group of people who viewed a Volvo ad on multiple devices, compared to a group who viewed the ad only on TV. When asked what kind of Volvo was featured in the ad, 22 percent of the TV only group correctly answered “a 4-door sedan,” but 39 percent of the multi-screen group got it right.

How to Get on All Screens
As consumers continue to fragment the advertising industry through personal consumption of media across various Internet-connected devices, the first challenge advertisers face is how to reach and reinforce their messaging across all of the mixed media channels to improve ad recall.
Even in this new world of marketing, the first step has not changed: Know where your audience consumes media. This requires a lot of research, as demographics play a large role in this discovery process. Questions include, “Does my target audience watch TV on televisions, NetFlix, Hulu or YouTube?” and “What percentage of my target audience use search, mobile search and mobile Apps?”
Identifying their general behavior across the mix media landscape will then allow for advertisers to draw a clear path to reaching their marketing goals.
Next steps now include understanding how your advertisement messaging, call-to-action and creative must work in synchronicity, but also cater to each advertisement format. To achieve the best ad recall, it is important to have the same message and call-to-action on each media channel. However, the creative and actual steps people take to fulfill the call-to-action will likely be different.

How Can This Approach Affect a Business?
The findings from a recent multi-screen campaign support this movement. In this case study, a national franchise company in the home services industry used the multi-screen integrated approach. The campaign began with a national TV spot that ran on targeted cable networks reaching their target audience of age 40+ women. The creative featured a heart-warming story of a mother and her toddler daughter making a mess of the house. The commercial captured the essence of word of mouth referrals within families and friends when the mother needed help. From that spot, strategically placed rich-media display ads ran on TV networks’ online Web destinations and similar publishers, allowing consumers to engage the advertisement by choosing video tips, sharing the tips to the social networks, and sending a referral to a friend.
During the campaign, an advertising-game was released onto the client’s Facebook page and its Web site, and was integrated into the rich-media display ads, letting consumers relive the young girl’s escapades of an addicting time-based challenge game. Finally, a sweepstakes was introduced to leverage the newly generated audience and fan base.
While each of the advertisements carried a similar theme and messaging of referring their business by communicating the endearing story of the mother and daughter, each media channel was given a full unique creative treatment that catered to each of the ad formats. The franchise experienced a 200 percent increase in Web site traffic, double-digit growth in same-store sales and won an award for delivering the best social-viral campaign of the year. Of particular note: the advertising-game achieved an amazing time spent with the brand of nearly eight minutes on average. No TV commercial and no home service Web site alone would approach eight minutes of branding instigated by the consumer with a downstream goal of direct response, when a consumer would eventually be in need of their service.
Consumers for the most part will no doubt be using the Internet and these devices to find out about your product or service. If your brand is there, it stands a better chance of earning their business. 
Ryan Vaspra is senior director of interactive media for Aviatech LLC where he creates, plans and executes integrated marketing campaigns. He can be reached at 858-777-5020 or rvaspra@aviatech.com.

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