by • 11 August, 2009 • CRITERION GLOBAL, MEDIAComments (0)1652

The Cure for Fragmentation? Cross-Channel Media Planning

Another lecture at “Digital Experience Day,” titled “Connecting a Fragmented World,” focused on how marketers can maximize their advertising ROI through cross-channel media planning. According to Compete in 2008, internet users visited 77% more websites on a regular basis than they did 5 years prior. This sense of fragmentation, of users splitting up usage among a greater number of media, makes the usual job of media buyers more difficult as we attempt to “hunt down” our target audience.

Our success or failure has been commonly measured by the all-important Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). ROAS measures the efficacy of an ad campaign by calculating the revenue generated as a result of money spent on the campaign. Yet, as experts know, this metric says little about whether customer interaction actually translates into a sale of the product. This one-dimensional unit of measure does little to capture or track customer interaction with the ad, or really gauge a full-scale cross-channel campaign. In a sense, comparing ROAS’s for a multitude of sites is a symptom of media fragmentation, measuring media in pieces, more than it demonstrates how a campaign can transcend multiple sites or media sources to cultivate top of mind awareness or ROI (read: SALES) for the brand.

What is needed is not only a more holistic system of metrics that accounts for return on investment, but a cross-channel view of the campaign’s overall effectiveness. For example, it is well known that digital display ads not only generate click-throughs, but that they bring a significant lift in brand-name search to boot.

Discussion in recent years suggests that the most effective strategy for marketing success is cross-channel integration between search and display, online and off. One firm claimed that, by combining search and display, their customers witnessed a 43% increase on in-store conversions. Yet full-service media buying firms know that true cross-channel integration between media—online and offline, local and global—reaps the greatest rewards over time and works to build bullet-proof brands that can withstand tough economic times. Media fragmentation will only continue as user sophistication advances. Media fragmentation is not a problem, it is a reality. Only media buyers that grasp how to transcend traditional media placement to cultivate a brand dialogue will see beyond the “problem” to leverage user sophistication and do justice to the brands they serve.

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