Six Necessary Elements for Successful Multiscreen Attribution

As TV campaigns become increasingly data-driven, addressable and cross-platform, the evolving science that is multiscreen attribution is taking center stage in marketers’ minds. After all, particularly in these tight economic times, attribution can’t be an afterthought or an add-on; it must be an essential part of campaign planning.

Betsy Rella, VP, Research and Data, New York Interconnect

Betsy Rella, VP, Research and Data, New York Interconnect (Image credit: New York Interconnect)

Multiscreen attribution is a complex and ever-evolving discipline, but setting campaigns up for success does revolve around some tried-and-true principles. Let’s look at today’s key requirements for meaningful multiscreen attribution, as well as the challenges in this space that the industry is currently working to address.

6 Keys to Success

In planning a multiscreen campaign, marketers must ensure certain fundamental elements are discussed and confirmed up front, lest questions about the effectiveness of the campaign arise later. To ensure smooth sailing in complicated waters, your planning checklist should include the following. 

Define Your Objective: Your objective will drive the rest of the steps, and you need to go beyond talking solely about selling products. Are you looking to measure conquests? Encourage repeat business? Improve brand perception? Given today’s precise targetability and measurement capabilities, you can have thoughtful and specific objectives that can be measured.

Identify the Right Target and Scale: There is so much rich, sophisticated data available to test against various audiences. The right target will support your objectives, and it will be different each time. But there is a balance to be achieved between being targeted and being too specific. Sample size is important to reach statistical significance.

Craft the Right Copy: Is your copy appropriate for your targets and objectives? Does your messaging capture the right tone and have a call to action?

Outline Your Media Mix and Plan: The power of TV’s scale can now be enhanced by the targeting ability of a digital ecosystem, driving results further down the purchase funnel. Your media plan should be an appropriate length and scale to assess a proper read and garner results.

Confirm Your Type of Study: There are multiple ways to measure attribution, from straight sales conversion to brand health studies. Your objective, budget and target size will drive the right type of study or mix of studies, and your product will determine the study design and appropriate conversion window.

Establish Access to Quality Data: Attribution is only as good as your data on the back end. Rich census-level exposure data is great. But will you have access to clean data in a timely manner? 

Attribution Challenges and Opportunities

The above elements, when defined up front in a campaign, lay the groundwork for attribution success. But even with these parameters set, multiscreen attribution isn’t easy. In fact, from an industry perspective, it can be quite complicated and confusing. There are many analytic partners out there, not to mention countless data sets and various approaches to measurement. An advertiser could see different results for the same campaign depending on the data sets and methodology used. In the coming years, the industry must come together to further define an accepted approach to multiscreen attribution. The sooner we can all agree on the right elements, the sooner we can enact standards that help advertisers more easily evaluate results.

As we move to establish industry best practices for attribution, we must keep in mind that consumers are everywhere, viewing content on multiple devices. That means advertisers need to be everywhere too, and we need to report on campaigns from a holistic perspective when calculating reach and frequency. An advertiser needs to know how many people saw its ad, not just on TV, but across all platforms, including digital. Furthermore, we must lock down a way to de-dupe these numbers to fully evaluate a campaign’s performance. This is no small task.

But there is good news. With data at the heart of everything today, the TV industry is moving toward impression-based buying and selling. This provides a common currency that allows for a more holistic approach for aggregating audiences across screens. Likewise, industry organizations such as the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) are taking on a lot of large-scale initiatives that will help to move the industry forward, including combining set-top box and smart TV data and creating a data environment linked by IDs to enable de-duplication of reach.

Ultimately, working together to share learnings, versus advancing individual agendas, will benefit everyone and advance the media industry in the coming years. The power of multiscreen campaigns is not in question. But it’s high time that we help brands and agencies quantify their results in a way that lets them optimize and improve their efforts over time. 

New York Interconnect (NYI) is a joint venture between Altice USA, Charter Communications, and Comcast that connects brands to over 20 million consumers in the nation’s #1 market.

Betsy Rella

VP, Research and Data, New York Interconnect