In a world where multiple device usage is no longer the exception but the rule, the time has come for a new multi-platform approach to digital media measurement, planning, evaluation and optimization. Publishers, advertisers and marketers must be empowered with the right metrics to understand holistically how their audiences behave online if they are to implement successful strategies to shape their customers’ digital experiences.
How exactly can businesses reach and engage audiences, acquire and retain customers, and drive business growth in the new multi-platform reality? Here are five key strategies that can get you started on the right path.
1. Develop Customer-Centric, not Platform-Centric, Marketing Strategies
Media companies and marketers must remember that their objectives ultimately revolve around how they reach, engage and influence consumers, not platforms. They should first seek to answer how these consumers are moving from screen to screen and consuming content, what content they’re consuming, and when they’re accessing it if they are to obtain an accurate view of customers’ behaviors. Fortunately, sophisticated new measurement capabilities and analytics tools offer the insights needed to understand the complete customer journey, which looks more like a flight path these days than a traditional funnel. Once this perspective is understood, companies can then turn their attention to adapting their strategies to the appropriate platforms. What is the split of consumption between mobile and desktop? Are users foregoing desktop access and only consuming content through their smartphones or tablets? The overall program goals and corresponding digital experiences should be tailored to the needs of today’s consumers and then adapted to the respective platforms – not the other way around.
2. Create Consistent, Integrated and Platform-Agnostic Experiences for Your Customers
While businesses will want to (and should) tailor some experiences to the medium, they should generally strive to build products, content and marketing experiences that operate seamlessly and are complementary across platforms. Whether this takes the form of responsively designed digital properties or native ad formats that render the same across screens, businesses can efficiently deliver a consistently engaging experience to their users. Even if their digital properties still get most of the traffic from only desktops, mobile consumption continues to rise quickly meaning that responsive design and optimization is an area that must be addressed if not today, then most certainly in the near future.
3. Maximize Effectiveness by Leveraging Multi-Platform Synergies
Many businesses today remain siloed from a communications and channel management perspective, with separate teams dedicated to in-store, online, mobile, etc. But optimizing performance channel-by-channel creates inefficiencies that are a drag on ROI, which can be remedied by managing them in a more holistic (rather than competitive) fashion. Even if organizations are still siloed and do not have the resources to create strategic planning groups that oversee all communications efforts, providing key employees with third-party multi-platform data can still help a business take a broader look at its own current and potential impact on the media and advertising landscape. Such a holistic approach can create an environment that fosters a 'surround sound' marketing approach that reaches the right people on the right platforms, ultimately generating greater awareness, engagement and conversion.
4. Understand Demographic Differences Between Platforms to Drive Audience Targeting Efficiencies
Because not every audience segment behaves similarly across media platforms, both publishers and advertisers can improve the efficiency of how they reach their core audiences with holistic multi-platform targeting strategies. Reaching 18-34 year olds, for example, can be challenging via TV, but they are extremely heavy online video and smartphone users. By layering in these additional platforms and channels and evaluating campaigns in an integrated fashion, marketers can attain their reach and frequency objectives more efficiently. Similarly, publishers can devise their content strategies to better align with the audiences who are more likely to consume content on various channels. With an improved understanding of audience demographics as they move from screen to screen, companies can optimize their content and determine the best marketing mix. The availability of in-flight campaign planning and execution tools can also help improve audience targeting mid-campaign.
5. Re-Evaluate Your Business Metrics and KPIs to Better Optimize Your Strategies
As the old adage goes, the only constant is change. And because the market is changing, business KPIs may need to be updated to reflect that. The downside of continuing to optimize to the wrong or outdated KPIs is that it can lead businesses further and further away from the optimal business strategies, especially as the meaning of those metrics changes over time. That is exactly what’s happening today as platform proliferation grows: Visitor metrics get inflated while conversion and average engagement metrics decline. Re-evaluating your KPIs to get a sense of how and when this may be occurring is the first step to fixing the problem. With a unified view of the digital consumer that takes into account their behavior across platforms, businesses can bring order to this chaos, measure their businesses according to the best metrics, and develop product and marketing strategies that align with how their customers are actually visiting, engaging and converting.
With an understanding of the changing media landscape, the right success metrics, and places where incremental value can be realized, any business can not only survive but thrive, effectively enhancing customer experiences and driving awareness among the multi-platform majority.