Even though cross-platform advertising is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to get a message out to the masses, ironically it is not a staple in the diet of many advertisers.
But it definitely should be.
For a publisher engaging a prospective brand, the conversation should not simply center around whether or not the brand should engage in paid search, but rather how to integrate paid search with paid social, organic reach, podcast sponsorship, and more.
Below we explore advertisng cross-platform from a brand’s perspective and how you can leverage it to increase your share of wallet.
The Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat of Cross-Platform Advertising
In Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, host, Samin Nosrat, makes it her mission to drive home that every recipe involves these four elements of delicious food in some capacity. It’s just a matter of striking a balance between them all. With the right levels of each, amateur cooks and professional chefs alike can create the perfect dish.
Advertisers can do the same with cross-platform advertising.
In a phrase, cross-media advertising means you are able to build a stronger brand. “As well as creating a single customer view, cross-channel advertising can also help brands to create and deliver a seamless customer experience – i.e. consistent and unified brand messaging across multiple channels and devices,” writes Nikki Gilliland at Econsultancy.
But extending the marketing budget across multiple channels can prove difficult when you have a finite number of dollars to spend. The question then becomes: how can you build a strong brand on a budget with cross-platform advertising?
Step 1: Narrow Down Your Channels (Salt)
IAB reports that 83 percent of advertisers see cross-platform has improved since 2018. At the same time, nearly 60 percent of their budgets are allocated solely to video platforms. The number of platforms on which advertisers can make their mark can quickly become overwhelming, leading many to focus on just one channel.
This isn’t ideal, but it lends to an important insight: it is hard to get the most out of every last ad dollar if you spread yourself too thin, or get overwhelmed right out of the gate.
Engaging in cross-media advertising doesn’t mean you have to do everything and be everywhere. Take your time to decide which channels (and which platforms within those channels) will work best for you.
You know your audience, and it doesn’t take much homework to discover where they spend most of their time. Display ads on several online publications matched with highly targeted paid social posts make for the foundation of a good cross-platform campaign without overwhelming the budget or your brain.
Step 2: Take Your Time With Good Content (Fat)
The goal in advertising is to go from first impression to conversion. But to get there, you have to take the ‘middle’ seriously. Good content is in the middle.
Getting a lot of views on your social media ad won’t matter as much if there’s not a clear CTA. Landing a sponsorship on a top podcast won’t be as effective if you don’t have a concise and engaging message to share. Getting visitors to your landing page will go nowhere unless you have interesting content there and around the site.
Good content can be at the center of the tapestry, with all the different media threads pulling to the same point.
This has less to do with staying under budget than making effective use of your budget. Take John Hancock’s #LifeComesNext campaign from 2015, for example. The insurance company began the campaign with a series of TV spots presented as short stories. The screen cut to black at pivotal moments in the dramas, replaced with a CTA (“Find out what happens next”) and a link to the website. On the site, viewers could choose one of three potential endings. And they could continue the conversation using the hashtag on social media.
The campaign wasn’t just cross-media. It didn’t just post up similar creatives on different platforms. John Hancock placed a good story at the center and used multiple platforms to connect all the dots.
Step 3: Track Everything (Acid)
Advertising is long past the Mad Men age of throwing a creative out there and seeing what sticks. Advertising can be a science, and nothing helps you maintain your limited budget quite like keeping a close eye on your metrics.
This is not the space to dive into the specifics of advertising metrics (though it is worth noting that media companies dependent on multichannel distribution, like SlingTV and NBCU, are developing unified cross-platform metrics.
Suffice it to say this is a three-step approach at bare minimum. First, you can start by developing relevant metrics for each platform you advertise. Second, develop a means of comparing successes that otherwise may look like an apples to oranges scenario. Finally, look at what works and what doesn’t, and then adjust accordingly. No need to stick to PPC when that banner ad is returning twice the conversion for half the price.
Looking for some inspiration? Digital natives like Warby Parker and Casper are experts at this. While digital channels and PPC may be their lifeblood, direct-to-consumer brands have done their fair share of traditional advertising. And you’d better believe they tracked the results.
And now for the pun-of-all-puns we’ve been waiting for: with the right channels, content, and metrics in place, you can bring the heat. Sometimes advertisers feel like the deciding on digital ads vs. traditional ads is an either/or situation. But, with the right elements in place, you can have your Russian Honey Cake and eat it too.