Microsoft Case Study Optimizing Cross Platform Ad Effectiveness

Microsoft Case Study Optimizing Cross Platform Ad Effectiveness


In today’s fragmented media landscape, where entertainment programming and content is accessible across all digital platforms, advertisers need to plan and allocate ad budgets as efficiently as possible. For advertisers, this means utilizing advanced media analytics to plan campaigns and ensure the right message gets to the right people. At Nielsen’s Consumer 360 client event in Orlando Florida, Paul Swiontkowski and Kim Stanford from Microsoft shared how they efficiently delivered television ads to the viewers most likely to respond to Microsoft’s message.

In a recent effort to drive Internet users to Bing, Microsoft sought to reach their heaviest web search engine users—the 20 percent of Americans who perform approximately 80 percent of all online searches. Using insights from Nielsen’s cross-platform panel, which measures both TV and Internet use from a single-source sample, Microsoft identified the TV networks, programs, and dayparts most watched. By shifting advertising campaign dollars, Microsoft improved the efficiency of their ad buy by 25 percent—effectively reaching the right consumers with the right message.

“You need to capitalize on the opportunity to optimize campaign performance by focusing on the consumer and not the marketing channel,” said Swiontkowski. “Know how you are going to target your best customers.” TV buying suffers from the multiplicity syndrome: who we want to message, who we think we want to message and who we end up messaging.

In the end, Bing reached about 70 percent of U.S. audience, missing about 20 percent of their target. “The people we thought we were reaching were actually not the heavy-searcher segment and we spent 60 percent of our budget reaching people outside our target,” commented Swiontkowski. In order to get to a more precise reading and better reach the core target, Microsoft relied on integrated TV /Internet research to pinpoint the programs that heavy searchers watched.

“Only about 10 years ago did the Internet become an integral part of the marketing mix,” said Kim Stanford. “Companies are really harnessing the value that digital can play. And while TV is still an important part of the mix, it is evolving.”

Stanford discussed two extreme views of digital:

  1. Digital extends reach.  Get the word out.
  2. Digital extends frequency to persuade. Deliver the message by leveraging frequency.

The key to both strategies is controlling frequency. The power of combined TV/Internet is so much greater than each individually. So how do you find the perfect sweet spot? Know what the strategy is and what the frequency level needs to be.

It is critical to understand what you are getting for each media dollar spent. “Be clear on how the mediums are going to work for you and continuously measure it throughout,” said Stanford. “We know the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole.” The value you bring to the integration is critical. It is still not a perfect world, but we are getting to a more holistic view.