Groundbreaking Cross-Platform Initiatives

By Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: Groundbreaking Cross-Platform Initiatives

As with other parts of the industry, research is undergoing transformative change brought on by the fragmentation of audiences and the proliferation of platforms and content choices. For those who are comfortable with change, it is a time to embrace new technologies to supplement traditional research methods. And the ARF Re!Think conference is one place where researchers can learn the new rules,  techniques and measurement solutions to remain on top of their game.

This year, the ARF presented more in the field of advertising dynamics in cross platform measurement. Jasper Snyder, Executive Vice President Research and Innovation Cross Platform, ARF, reported five “truths” gained from recent studies:

  1. Invest across platforms. Advertising across platforms delivers higher ROI. But almost a third of campaigns are taking place on only one platform.
  2. Combine traditional and digital media. There is a “kicker effect” when TV is added back to digital spending.
  3. The kicker effect also applies to Millennials, who consume both traditional and digital media.
  4. There can be too much frequency in digital. Look to optimize digital by capping frequency.
  5. Unified creative is the way forward but be cognizant of the differences in platforms in crafting your message.

Cross platform measurement continues to be the Holy Grail for advertisers and media companies. Here are some highlights from the conference:

Advertising -- CBS’s New ROI Paradigm

David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS and President of CBS VISION, presented new research in conjunction with Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer, Nielsen Catalina Solutions in the area of purchase-driven planning. “We are looking at the concept of ROI at CBS,” Poltrack explained. “[We] worked closely with Nielsen Catalina to find the right metrics and tools to assess the value of TV and cross-platform advertising. We found a new planning paradigm called purchase-driven planning to understand how media works and compare alternatives before they run. The result is incremental sales at the center of the ad run.”

Wood spearheaded the study using as a foundation the data collected through Nielsen Catalina that combined the exposure of advertising to persons within households. She tracked transactional behavior across time to ascertain which people see what ads and how that changes their buying behavior. “We monitored their exposure to the ad before they go to the store compared to what happened before they entered the store,” she explained. “This helps us ascertain what moved them to purchase events and when advertising could have an effect.” In this way, Poltrack and Wood can estimate future behaviors against the recency of the advertising message.

Measurement -- Nielsen Total Audience

Nielsen’s President of Product Leadership, Megan Clarken, presented Nielsen Total Audience, cross-platform measurement. “Media consumption continues to rise,” she noted. “We spend over 64 hours a week on media with devices having profound effect.” While the industry measures television advertising using ratings, the combination of C3/C7, time-shifting behaviors, VOD and other device usage prevents the use of ratings in a cross platform setting.  “Total Audience is seeking to address that problem” she concluded.

According to Clarken, Total Audience offers:

1. Measurement of audience usage and exposure across platforms.

2. Comparable measurement across the usage grid between linear and digital.
3. Measurement of ads separate and distinctive from other content
4. Creation of an all-inclusive ratings service focused around video, audio and text.


These are two of the many cross-platform data initiatives presented at this year’s ARF Re!Think.  Other presentations included work in neuroscience to understand the role of creative; machine learning to clean up spam, help in image labeling and facilitate unrelated category search; and parsing the unique attributes of each platform to optimize consumer experiences. We are only scratching the surface of cross-platform consumer behavior understanding. Enjoy the journey of discovery!

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