Category Archives: Transmedia

FACESofCHANGE: Engage Youth

An article about my last study, done in partnership with, in this month’s VUE.

The full text is here:   FACESofCHANGE

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Filed under High Touch Media, Research, Transmedia

Measuring multi-channel activity

The challenge of tackling the measurement of multi-channel and transmedia activity was a consistent theme at last week’s eMetrics conference inToronto.  Head scratchers included:

  • How do we know how many same or different people we are attracting to the various channels? There is no cross media reach and frequency measurement.
  • What does each channel contribute to the success of the program?  We don’t know the first channel that brought someone to our story or the one(s) that led to outcomes such as fandom or sales.
  • How can we measure and value engagement?  Different channels invite different levels of interaction – how much more is one worth over another?  How do soft measures like time spent or Likes correlate with hard measure like sales?
  • How do we capture the value and/or implications of where fans take our story?  They may be setting up their own tribute Facebook pages or posting derivative videos on YouTube…
  • Can we understand and harness temporality? People are interacting with our content concurrently (but not all the time) and sequentially (but not all in the same order).  We also know there are latent effects, but when and to what degree?

Several people at the conference posited that consumer centric versus channel centric measurement is the only way we are going to begin to answers many of these questions.  It is often bemoaned that we’ll never get there given how entrenched individual channel measurement providers, methodologies, and currencies are.  A unified approached to audience measurement has been talked about in Canada for many, many years.  It certainly seems that it should be possible in this country given we have a single source for each mass medium and all are non profit tripartite organizations (media/agency/advertiser) except for online (comScore).  It also seems that is should be more possible today than ever before given new technologies like PPM.   However, it also seems to me that it is still a tremendous undertaking to provide a unified view of mass media audiences when we know that email, community papers, out of home and a myriad of other activities will not be captured.

What to do? Here are two things marketers can work on right now:

1. Focus on outcomes and establish KPIs (key performance indicators) up front.  Know what success looks like and measure it consistently.  Higher order metrics like sales and brand favourability tracked over time enable opportunities to tease out media mix effectiveness through testing and regression analysis.  Yes this approach is backwards looking, a limitation in a rapidly changing media environment.  But the bottom line is the bottom line – focusing on what success looks like avoids analysis paralysis and ensures you are not measuring just for the sake of it.

2. Conduct cross media consumer centric measurement to establish values particular to your brand or category.  Panel research costs are low and the potential return on investment of establishing your own norms is high.  Knowing your brand’s audience relative to any channel’s audience and the value of an impression to you versus what it is being sold at is an incredible advantage from a buying perspective.  Building your channel investment strategy from your consumer’s perspective may mean significant departures from conventional best practices in terms of how much TV, how much online, etc. and lead to improved ROI.  Also by conducting your own consumer and brand centric research you can uncover what is really being noticed and retained by consumers, enabling you to build more powerful stories and deliver more effective messages.

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Filed under Analytics, Transmedia

Story Telling vs. Integration

I’ve been working with Andrea Hadley, eMetrics Conference Director, on putting together the “Transmedia and Multi-Channel Media Experience” panel for this month’s Toronto conference and we’ve been discussing what sort of panelists we should include: content producers versus marketers.

I asserted that a multiplatform advertising campaign qualifies as transmedia story telling if the messaging engages an audience with a brand narrative across platforms/mediums.  Andrea made the point that entertainment groups seem to have a better understanding of leveraging each medium for its unique value by producing unique ways to engage and in many cases unique content for each medium as opposed to repurposing the same content across each medium.  I had to agree that that is the case more often than not.

It wasn’t so many years ago that the dialogue around integrated marketing centred around the importance of having a consistent message in every channel.  Given budgets, timing and quality control that typically meant exactly the same message (copy, visuals, offer) reformatted for each channel used.  No one wanted to confuse a consumer or waste an impression by deviating from a single minded campaign message.  Today, to play effectively in that “high touch” end of spectrum you need to add to or augment the brand story in each medium.  It’s more possible now than ever before and more importantly, consumers expect it.

Ad noticability correlates with relevance.  People pay attention to what they are interested in and when they are really interested they want to get involved.  As part of a research project I’m working on, I talked to a number of 18 -24 year olds about advertising.  Over and over they recalled ads that appealed to interests they already had and expressed disappointment at incidents where they felt like the messaging ended in a dead end – pulled into websites and Facebook pages that didn’t provide more information or any real interaction.  I asked my 17 year if he could tell me about a campaign (good or bad) that he’s noticed recently.  He mentioned the current 5 for 5 Taco Bell campaign.  Good news: he’s in the target market!  Bad news: his criticism was that the online banner ads were identical to the subway posters – enough all ready.  Seems like a missed opportunity to me. (BTW while his perception is that the ads are every where and he’s being beaten over the head, I’ve not noticed them at all!)

One of my favourite transmedia stories is Bitchin Kitchen.  A well articulated brand with solid content that offers a different experience in each channel (TV, web, Facebook).  You can enjoy each element on its own, but they work together to deepen appreciation and engagement, turning audiences into fans.  The brand look and feel is consistent in every channel but the specific content/message is appropriate to the particular time and place.  Fun stuff and way smart too.

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Filed under High Touch Media, Transmedia