Monday, May 5, 2014

Brand Marketers: Targeting Technology for Households in a Multi-screen Era

As a CMO, you know an effective cross platform targeting strategy is key to engaging consumers whose attention is divided across several devices within the same household. As a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) at Medill, Northwestern University, with a focus on brand strategy and digital & interactive marketing, I have studied how the increasingly fragmented media landscape is making it harder for brands to reach individuals effectively. I came across two interesting articles on how marketers, particularly auto marketers, can take advantage of this situation.

In an article, “Video Ad Network YuMe Homes in on Households,” Tim Peterson from Advertising Age explains how the video ad network, YuMe developed the household targeting feature for brands to advertise to connected TVs, smartphones, tablets etc. in a house. Tim cites an example of how Hyundai and the agencies Innocean and Initiative used the strategy of a household targeting feature to reach households who were inclined to purchase premium vehicles.  Tim notes, “To aim ads at all the various devices in a household, YuMe homes in on the IP address tied to the residence's wireless network and layers in data from YuMe, YuMe's publishers and third parties to determine which households to show ads for which brands.”


According to another article, How brands can solve the targeting paradox on iMedia Connection, the Senior Vice President of global marketing at Specific Media, Bill Schild, discusses how brands can increase conversions by reaching all members of a household and how even children have an influence on certain purchasing decisions. Bill emphasizes that brands must shift focus to reach consumers across screens by viewing groups of devices as a single platform. Bill recommends three considerations for brands to examine before using the household approach to integrate messages across their screens. First “ensure a household approach is the right strategy for your product or brand.” Second “ensure consistent measurement” where Bill identifies that a house holding campaign can be measured effectively across different devices through a single platform. Third is to “identify and implement cross platform frequency management” so that one can effectively control the number of ads shown cross platform.      
Based on my analysis of the articles, here is a summary of the action items I would recommend you consider for your company:  
  1. Household strategy for products with long purchase cycles and group involvement:  Advertisers looking to influence consumers for products which typically have a long purchase cycle and which involve more than one family member of a household should consider employing this strategy. 
  2. Utilize platforms that provide coherent results and increase efficiencies: To overcome the disjointed metrics across multiple platforms, brands should consider testing platforms which use a single currency of measurement to target households.
  3. Focus on the consumer experience and frequency capping: Advertisers should take advantage of delivering their message according to the customers' device consumption patterns. At the same time, they should utilize cross platform frequency management to make sure that serving the same ads across multiple devices repeatedly does not result in message fatigue.
Marketers need to realize that even with time shifting, users jointly consume more media across multiple screens than before and thus even though the media consumption habits of individuals are changing, using the above recommendations, there is opportunity for marketers to capture their attention while they are connected to multiple devices online. Testing these measures will help make metrics across disparate platforms less complex and eventually help marketers improve return on investment.   

Farheen Shah is a Digital Marketing Strategist who has previously worked in various positions at Google primarily managing Digital/Search Engine Marketing Agencies in Australia & New Zealand. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University specializing in Brand Strategy and Digital/Interactive Marketing.

Questions or comments?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! Contact me via Twitter: @farheenshah or 

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