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ESPN Says Sponsors Score With Cross-Platform Ads

New research from ESPN done during the World Cup shows that multi-platform advertisers get better results than those who simply buy commercials on television.

Television companies like ESPN that sell multi-platform sponsorship packages have been pushing to find research that documents the way they perform for advertisers. ESPN calls its new cross-platform research effort ESPN XP.

"Our mission for ESPN XP is to move cross-platform measurement from custom project to standard practice. The quality and depth of data from this World Cup project has exceeded my expectations and is a major step towards this goal," said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP of ESPN Research+Analytics.

While standard ad campaigns are judged mainly by reach and frequency, ESPN wants to be able to figure out the impact of each platform used in an integrated campaign. The effort used 15 research vendors to look at TV, radio, Internet, mobile and print.

NBC Universal did a similar study during its multi-platform coverage of the Olympics. ESPN plans to do further cross-platform research during football season.

ESPN on Tuesday said its research found that 160 million Americans tuned into the Word Cup on one platform or another.
Most of the advertisers in the World Cup ran ad campaigns that spanned multiple platforms, and ESPN XP studied each of those campaigns.

In one campaign, people who were exposed to an advertiser on all five platforms had over three time the sponsor association as people who saw ads only on TV. The data show the campaigns being increasingly effective with exposure on more platforms.

The study also found that mobile is a very effective advertising platform, with ads only on mobile performing as well as ads on TV alone. Combining TV and mobile led to the highest branded word of mouth.

ESPN says that non-TV platforms added a million people to ESPN's average during the World Cup and that 61% of those additional consumers were using the Internet. During the World Cup 22% of consumer said the tried an ESPN platform for the first time. The lift to ESPN's ratings were greatest on weekdays, when fans were more likely to be at work.

Research companies participating in the World Cup ESPN XP project included: Ando Media, Disney and Media Ad Lab, GfK, Keller Fay Group, Knowledge Networks, MBI, MRI, Nielsen, Omniture, OTX, Pointlogic, Repucom, Vision Critical,Visible Measures and the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI).

ESPN Research + Analytics continues to mine an exhaustive amount of data collected during the World Cup.

"Our presentation is really just the tip of the iceberg," said Glenn Enoch, VP of integrated media research. "We've spent a busy summer analyzing an incredible set of data and evaluating innovative ways of measuring cross-media usage. We will continue to search these data for insight in the weeks to come, as our attention shifts to the next project in our ESPN XP series, which will explore cross-media usage during football season."