Unilever’s Wakeling: Collaboration Needed To Cure Cross-Platform Measurement ‘Crisis’

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February 20, 2012 – 6:36 pm

All the social media check-ins and video views that accompanied broadcasts for The EMMY’s, Super Bowl XLVI, The Grammy’s all served as showcases for the evolution of cross-platform media.  (And get ready for this Sunday’s upcoming Oscar’s for even more second- and third screen activity). But a time when more TV viewers make little distinction between screens they consume video on, there is comensurate pressure on marketers, agencies and media companies to be able to track the connections and pathways that advertising travels.

The various industry organizations have been calling for tearing down the “silos” between digital and other media disciplines for years. For the most part, the industry has responded, as the major ad holding companies have created “digital hubs” that can direct TV and print campaigns to the right interactive extensions.

But the one area that continues to frustrate media executives across the spectrum is the lack of a single measurement that would seamlessly provide a 360 degree picture of those who have been exposed to a particular piece of content and the advertising supporting it.

Over the years, the major changes in advertising – whether it was to “unbundle” media buying and planning from the creative agencies or “integrate” those functions together again – were usually driven by the client side. After that, it was their ad budgets that directed the process from the beginning. Speaking to TVExchanger at last week’s Cross-Platform Video Measurement Summit in New York, Patti Wakeling, Unilever’s Global Media Insights Director, said that achieving greater progress in measurement will require an equal effort from all quarters of the industry, not just marketers.

TVExchanger: There are a lot of televised events showing the power of TV viewing and the simultaneous or time-shifted use of smartphones, tablets and computers to complement broadcast media. Where do things stand in terms of the industry getting a clearer view of the value of that cross-platform activity?

Patti Wakeling: There’s a lot that can be done right now and there is still a lot of work ahead. Having the ability to actually track how content moves from one platform to another is an amazing solution. It’s a tremendous game-changer for the industry.

I really believe that consumers are so ahead of our research techniques. Agencies, marketers, researchers, vendors all need to come together and develop the right solution.  If they don’t we’re all going to wind up competing against each other. The important thing about this forum is that it is supported by all the main industry trade groups. The message in that is that we can work together when there is a need to do that.

Having measurement is important, but what about the need to break down silos between media disciplines on the client, agency and media sides? That’s been talked about for the better part of a decade. How would you gauge the progress there? And how important is that?

We do tend to talk about particular silos as opposed to content in general. Consumers look for what’s the best available screen – to them, content is content. That’s where we need to move to. Our current measurement techniques look at what did I get for TV, online and mobile, which is still evolving, separately.

Change in the industry has tended to come from marketers, especially big ones, since it’s their ad budgets that are directing the process. Aren’t companies like Unilever the first mover when it comes to spurring more focus on cross-platform measurement?

I do believe that this work has to be collaborative. It can’t just come from the marketers, because resources and abilities do have limits. We rely on our partners and they rely on us. We all have pieces to the puzzle.

What is the importance of Taxi and  USA Touchpoints as tools for solving that puzzle? [Check out the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement’s PDF about TAXI here, while another PDF provides details on USA Touchpoints can be accessed via CIMM here.]

I’m excited about everything on the cross-platform research front, so it’s not one versus the other! [Laughs] USA Touchpoints was developed in the UK and we’ve brought it over here. It enables us to understand how people are consuming various media channels by themselves as well as in combination with other formats or devices. USA Touchpoints begins by  looking at what part during the day consumers are looking at their specific devices, such as a smartphone, PC or TV. It gives planners the tools to identify advertising for a particular consumer based on their habits, behaviors, etc… It’s something we’re going to learn more about

TAXI lets us track the content and the ads across each channel. As a consumer moves from one device or channel to another, offering a universal code that simplifies the process. Making it simple as well as universally trackable really is the holy grail.

By David Kaplan


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February 20, 2012 – 6:36 pm
  1. One Response to “Unilever’s Wakeling: Collaboration Needed To Cure Cross-Platform Measurement ‘Crisis’”

  2. Interesting article!
    The measurement world indeed works in silos – one group is trying to figure out how media is performing (independently or jointly) ignoring the content effects altogether. This world likes to take all credit when the bottom line is improved, but happily blames the content/ messaging piece when the prediction goes wrong. Where the other world says the messaging is everything, which drives sales when played well. Another world is all about finding out the audiences that are using multiple media channels (e.g., iPad, Smart phone, TV, etc.). There is a missing piece in this crowded environment though – no one is interested to detect how consumers are processing all information - are they truly being impacted by the multitude of exposure points, is there any diminishing return point showing that beyond certain exposure consumers aren’t going to pay any attention to the next exposure and any further spent on another channel is basically a waste. What happens when the synergy happens in both the content and the context levels? How does one tackle this complexity!

    [Reply]

    By Haren Ghosh on Mar 6, 2012

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