Optimizing Your Cross-Media Planning: Guidelines by a4 Advertising's Kevin O'Reilly | a4 Advertising

Optimizing Your Cross-Media Planning: Guidelines by a4 Advertising’s Kevin O’Reilly

Cross media planning offers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the range of media and datasets available to marketers. This is why a seasoned professional like Kevin O’Reilly (pictured below), our Senior Vice President of Product, Data and Monetization here at a4 Advertising, is the go-to person to help optimize advertising messages in the planning stage through sales enablement across cable, OTT and digital.

The Value of Cross-Media Planning

Cross-media planning involves, according to O’Reilly, “reaching households that you need to with the appropriate efficiency and the appropriate frequency for targeting.” This process requires deftness. “When you build a plan,” he explained, “there are many options such as reach based planning, targeted audience buying, or even one-to-one targeting. But with that there is a trade-off in cost and, to be honest, data accuracy. How do I make sure that I am achieving the greatest efficiency that I can? I want to make sure my clients are reaching their correct audiences without waste. So, when it comes into that understanding of the full sales process, it’s about the conversation.”

Balance in a plan is vital. “When you look at cross platform you have to ask the question, how do I establish the most efficient base? How can I get, from a good pricing perspective, the majority of my reach? And only after that, start paying for incremental reach, start using the targeting platforms, all the while controlling the frequency.”

The Components of Cross-Media

The two big core pieces of media at a4 Advertising, “are local linear spot advertising, a commercial ad on a local TV spot, in a market, on a station on a specific point of time in a day, delivering to as targeted a region as a few thousand households. Then there is OTT,” he stated. And, when the client requests it, household addressable, which, “gives us the ability to reach a set of targets specific on cable.” All of these are means by which the advertiser can reach the “big screen.”

There is also Direct-to-Mobile, which is our own messenger product which has the ability to target very specific households within a very local region. O’Reilly explains, “The platform I designed allows a customer to be live in 30 minutes by focusing on text-based messaging, though links can take you to richer data. It can take you directly into the video that we have been showing on the big screen or, if you are a local retailer, could actually be your address on Google Maps or some other form of sequential messaging that you would want to put in front of the customer.”

The Importance of Data and Metrics

The wealth of data available to a4 Advertising is focused mainly within our footprint although there are also opportunities to work with data from outside partners. Within a4 Advertising, “we have deterministic device graphs,” explains O’Reilly, “we have fully anonymized unique household IDs, so when it comes to targeting, we are leveraging this anonymized key to reach across all of our various digital assets. Additionally, on top of our set top box data, we also supplement ACR data with vendors. All of this revolves around privacy which is secured through an anonymized key. “We never see the household data,” he assures.

When it comes to metrics, “a lot of our clients and agencies out there are still relying heavily on ratings and reach,” he revealed. “For me, helping customers understand the cost of incremental action that we are generating whether that is reach or frequency or further down the attribution funnel, is the critical step to efficient planning. Key to this is the concept of effective frequency, specifically how many households am I reaching inside my frequency goals, not just average frequency, which hides the waste.”

Although, O’Reilly advises “it’s becoming increasingly important for advertisers to understand the data that is being used inside the ecosystem. Understand the source of the data when you are talking with your partners about doing targeted ads. Make sure that the data reflects that you are reaching who you think you are reaching.”

Perfecting Cross-Media Planning

When it comes to launching a cross media plan, O’Reilly offers some cogent advice for advertisers. “Understand what it is that you are trying to achieve,” he noted, “What are the critical business metrics that I am looking to achieve? Am I trying to get more people to buy my product? Am I trying to get people to the top of my funnel? What is my internal sales cycle? What is the business outcome I am to achieve?” That is the starting point. Then you need to find the media, “that activates customers from this part of the funnel, to have a conversion event to get them through the next part of the funnel,” he explains.

Ultimately it comes down to perfecting timing, “how much business activity am I trying to drive to a point in the future. Then there is a work back calendar when you start to think about how to best treat specific customer segments, when does that campaign start, when do we have a flighting structure, maybe building up to crescendo in the final two weeks, reiterating the message,” he stated.

When it comes to the future, with the impact of the pandemic taken into account, O’Reilly is bullish. “It will definitely be more digital. The way people are consuming linear is changing as is the increase in bandwidth which creates even more opportunities. Two years from now, IPV6 will be ‘a thing.’ We will make that move from being just household addressable into individual devices beyond the router.” His enthusiasm is infectious. It looks like the future of cross media planning will be even brighter.

Paraphrased from an article originally published on Media Village on 1/21/2021 – Media Village

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