Messages with many faces – multi-platform campaigns for you and your clients

In an advertising landscape that’s increasingly fragmented and saturated, it’s almost impossible to use just one channel to reach your audience.

The best approach is to be visible everywhere you think your audience might be, which will mean choosing the right offline channels in combination with some of the many platforms available online. Research has shown that a multi-platform approach can increase campaign performance by 300%

Your chosen channels could be used by various audiences in different ways, so it’s important first of all to know where your chosen demographics are likely to be.

A note on terminology

In this article we’ll be talking about both channels and platforms. “Channels” refers to spaces where you can place your ad e.g. TV, press, outdoor, online. The various spaces online are referred to as platforms, e.g. Facebook, Google, native etc. “Platform” is a software term increasingly used to describe online and offline channels alike.

Pre-empting the customer journey

The journey to find the right product or service is no longer as straightforward as looking up businesses in the Yellow Pages, or taking a walk down the high street.

Even if you know which channels your audience is likely to use, you cannot predict the order in which they’ll use them, or even how they’ll do it.

They could begin their journey with online research, a press ad, outdoor ad or a conversation on social media. For example, 70% of consumers use a connected device while watching TV, so they may even be in more than one place at once.

A multi-platform approach incorporates several channels and online platforms in one campaign in order to maximise your chances of reaching the right people at the right time.

A study in the US showed that 62% of people exposed to a digital ad had little to no exposure to TV ads from the same campaign, demonstrating a clear split between audiences on different platforms.

Multiple platforms shouldn’t mean multiple messages

The function and content of each of the chosen platforms will be very different, but the message should always remain the same. A consistent approach to your marketing across different channels improves recall among your audience and will help your brand in the long run.

A press ad and a sponsored video blog will look very different on the surface. The press ad will feature a headline, a small amount of body copy and usually a single graphic or photo. A video could be several minutes long, utilising animation, voice over, a detailed script and music. However, the viewer should still come away with the same information and message about the product or brand.

Optimising for your chosen platforms

As we hinted above, the creative for the ad should differ according to the chosen platforms. It’s tempting to throw the same image or video everywhere, pausing only to alter the format, but the customer experience of the ad can and should change dramatically between platforms.

A pre-roll ad on VOD or YouTube can be a little more in depth than a brief and more personal ad on mobile or Twitter (or both). Make sure there’s an understanding of what works best on your chosen platforms, and that the creative is tweaked to perform at its best on each.

Checking your progress

Research can help at every stage of your campaign; before you get started to choose your channels wisely, but it’s even more important afterwards and even while your ads are live.

This will give you confidence that your chosen channels, times, creative and messages are the right way to go, or may tell you where you’re going wrong.

With a good knowledge of your audience and a consistent campaign message, multi-platform campaigns are a proven way to improve ROI and grow your brand.

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