Interpublic’s Hill Holliday Crosses Into Cross-Screen

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HillHollidayFull-service comms agency Hill Holliday has two types of clients – those who have embraced mobile and those who just aren’t really there yet.

The split is about 50/50, said Crystal Snee, Hill Holliday’s platform media manager. But for the majority of those clients, regardless of their mobile acumen, cross-screen activations are just starting to bleep onto their radar screens. The missing piece was cross-device analytics, Snee said.

“We tested cross-screen a little bit about a year ago, but we didn’t see the results we wanted to or the conversions flowing through on the back end,” said Snee, who noted that Hill Holliday clients were looking for clearer metrics on where and how consumers are absorbing advertising, and guidance on how to deliver the right message to the right device based on that information.

To that end, Hill Holliday jumped on board as a launch partner when cross-device vendor Tapad introduced its multiscreen analytics and reporting solution last week. Dubbed Campaign Pulse, the measurement tool aims to merge disparate data sources into a single dash, including device overlap, audience makeup, response rate, reach and frequency, path analysis and ultimate conversions wherever they may be happening, with the aim of tying it all back to return on spend.

Multitouch attribution is also part of the pie, said Kate O’Loughlin, Tapad’s GM of advertising business.

“Clients want to be able to show what the journey was from exposure to engagement to response across multiple screens,” O’Loughlin said. “Did a person use the same device to do research and buy or did they switch screens during the decision-making process? When brands get access to the numbers behind the path, it’s an ‘aha’ moment for them – to see, for example, that a consumer started their journey on a phone or a tablet and that it was one of those devices that led them to the computer where they ultimately bought something.”

In essence, Pulse is related to what Facebook is trying to do with its new cross-device reporting tool, but outside of Facebook’s proverbial walled garden of deterministic data applied to its own media properties. (Facebook and Google also are believed to be developing cross-device ID solutions baked into their respective ad servers. Those capabilities will help advertisers and agencies using Facebook's Atlas and Google's DoubleClick Campaign Manager better track campaigns and attribute conversions, but they are not yet in market.)

Hill Holliday’s Snee said the agency has already launched its first cross-screen branding campaign using Pulse for one of its online education clients, a direct response advertiser that hadn’t done anything with mobile in the past. The client is using Pulse to determine the best mix between mobile and desktop display.

“We see this as a perfect opportunity to help them commit mobile media dollars and to educate them at the same time as to why mobile is important,” Snee said.

Mobile makes up only about 20% of Hill Holliday’s overall media buying, with roughly 80% going to desktop display. Snee said she sees that number shifting significantly, especially as more clients tap into mobile as part of their overall media plan.

“But we also have a solid group of advertisers who are already comfortable with the mobile space,” Snee said. “They have mobile apps and they know which way the business is leading, but they have yet to get an analytics solution to tell the story of what’s happening between devices. That’s what’s going to help us paint a picture for advertisers to justify a media mix between those channels.”

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