Nielsen: Cross-Channel Campaigns Aren’t Living Up To Their Potential

A new Nielsen study suggests that integrated ad campaigns that incorporate exposures on both TV and online aren’t delivering any better results than when TV and digital campaigns are planned separately. The weakness, according to the study, lies in planning for online.

Online and mobile video viewing numbers are relatively small now, but as the report illustrates, digital video viewing is growing much faster than TV viewing and will only continue to catch up. We’re already seeing brands starting to shift ad dollars from TV to online.

Monthly time spent watching video TV Online Mobile

Source: Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, Q4 2013

The Nielsen study underscores the problem of poor planning tools for cross-channel campaigns. On average, the cross-channel campaigns measured reached 61.2 percent of their intended audience on TV and 11.4 percent of their intended audience online. There was an overlap of 7.6 percent of people who saw the ads both online and on TV.

What’s striking is that the 7.6 percent overlap among these campaigns that had integrated plans for TV and online had marginally higher than the 7 percent overlap advertisers could have expected if the TV and online campaigns had been planned independently by separate agencies. (The 7 percent is derived by multiplying 61.2 percent TV reach by 11.4 percent online reach.)

How bad is this from a financial point of view? Consider a campaign that achieves 70 percent TV reach and 30 percent online reach. The random overlap of online with TV will be 21 percent, which means that, for every 30 members of the desired audience reached online, just 9 will see it only online. Now, no one ever gets the full 30 percent. But paying to get 30 of anything and getting 9 is pretty poor.

Integrated campaign overlap

Increasingly, as more brands look to adding online video in particular to their marketing mix Nielsen is becoming the online measurement arbiter of record much like it is in the realm of TV advertising.

Over the past few year, Nielsen has teamed up with Twitter, Google and Facebook. Facebook functions as Nielsen’s de facto panel for online audiences. Nielsen uses data from Facebook and Experian among other third-party sources in its Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) solution. OCR reach and frequency estimates are then incorporated into Nielsen’s TV ratings panel to extrapolate ratings for the entire campaign.

Widespread growth of branding dollars dedicated to online and cross-channel campaigns will depend on advertiser and agency buy-in of planning and measurement solutions.

Related Topics: Analytics | Channel: Video | Statistics: Online Advertising | Top News | Video

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About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter



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  • cboulanger

    This suggests a large gap in the tools used for planning, but I’m not clear what the solution could be.

    Any thoughts on who are the leading agencies for tv+online campaigns? Are there any best practices in this area?

  • Barry Bossier

    Utilize verbiage, photos, design, and blogs that have been working online in your offline efforts.

    Understanding your best performing online ad placements, ad types and highest viewed pages and understanding why they are working the bests then aligning them with the right offline channels works best for me. Utilize what’s proven to work and making the messaging consistently clear across all channels. Also, be sure to think about the buying process. Don’t use PPC language in your your tv commercial. See what’s been working on display and Facebook. For your second round of commercials look at what’s working from your Remarketing ads. So on and so fourth.

    I don’t think it is a matter of poor planning tools. I think it’s a lack of understanding how each piece of the puzzle fits into the grander scheme.

    It also has a lot to do with a lack of understanding which online services best align with each type of offline services.

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