Advertisers Are Still Faced With Cross-Channel Problems, And They May Not Be Solved That Soon

July 18, 2018

Three-quarters of digital and TV advertising decision-makers currently use cross-channel campaigns and another fifth (22%) plan to within the next year, according to a report [download page] commissioned by 4C and conducted by Advertiser Perceptions. But while most believe that their cross-channel advertising outperforms individual platform advertising when it comes to reaching KPIs, there are numerous obstacles that remain to inventory buying.

One of the broadest obstacles to cross-channel audience-based inventory buying is the dreaded organizational silo. Among the more than 300 advertising decision-makers surveyed in the US and UK (who were required to have a minimum annual spend of $1 million on digital and $5 million on TV), 51% said that the separation of TV and digital buying teams is a top-5 challenge (from a list of 15).

However perhaps the most pressing challenge relates to measurement. From the list of 15 obstacles to cross-channel ad buys, fully one-third said that the lack of standard measurement across different channels/platforms was one of their top 3 challenges. About half (49%) rated it a top-5 obstacle.

Indeed, among those who aren’t typically including TV in their cross-channel campaigns, the industry’s reliance on traditional TV measurement (GRPs vs. impressions) is the main inhibiting factor.

Previous research suggests that one of the problems with measurement is that advertisers are requiring different insights when approaching their digital and TV buys. So while optimization and conversion tracking are the most important research and insight capabilities sought when making digital and mobile media buying decisions, audience analytics/measurement are tops for TV media buying decisions.

How Long to Get There?

Advertisers clearly are enamored with the concept of cross-channel audience-based marketing: roughly 9 in 10 consider it an essential part of their strategy, and the same proportion agree that advertisers who build their strategies around audiences rather than individual media platforms create more impactful campaigns. In fact, the vast majority believe that cross-channel audience-based marketing has the potential to improve a range of KPIs, from brand awareness to target audience reach and sales conversions.

This general outlook is supported by other research that finds that TV and digital video are largely seen as complementary rather than competing advertising platforms.

However the organizational silos that inhibit cross-channel audience-based inventory buying may not recede too soon. Even among those who expect convergence of advertising teams, almost two-thirds (63%) believe it will take at least 3 years until full convergence (digital, social and TV bought under one team) is realized, and 4 in 10 feel it will take at least 4 years.

Additionally, there are silos that need to be overcome not only on the advertiser’s side, but also on the publisher’s side. One of the biggest challenges to audience-based cross-channel inventory buying is the inability to plan media buys seamlessly between platforms, publishers and networks, per respondents. Accordingly, some 85% at least somewhat agree that the current fragmented media landscape requires a new marketing structure that enables advertisers to operate seamlessly between publishers and platforms, including digital and TV.

Is that likely to occur soon? Maybe not. While two-thirds expect steady-growth in industry-wide cross-channel audience-based marketing in the next year, fewer than one-quarter expect accelerated growth.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The report describes its methodology as being “based on surveys among 303 advertising decision makers in the US (N=201) and the UK (N=102) conducted between April 30 and May 18, 2018. Respondents came from the Advertiser Perceptions database and partner databases and were required to have a minimum annual advertising budget of $1M in digital and $5M TV advertising to qualify. 93% of US respondents were Director level or higher; 100% of UK respondents were VP level or higher.”

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