Flat-screen televisions were the big-ticket purchases that many families made to upgrade their entertainment experiences at home. At least several years ago. Times change. Only twelve years ago, the way to Liv Tyler's character's heart in One Night at McCool's was a DVD player (not even a Blu-Ray player, mind you).

Coupled with the rapid pace of technological obsolescence are changing media consumption patterns. Television viewing through the traditional small screen is slightly declining, while media consumption--including of television shows--is rapidly growing on even smaller screens: PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Children's programming and even primetime shows are debuting via the Internet ahead of broadcast. Oh, how the mighty (television screens) have fallen.

As audiences move to a multi-screen experience with media, what are the implications for campaign management and performance measurement? According to a recently published study commissioned by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Nielsen, there are plenty.

Changing Campaign Media Mixes

According to the 274 media and advertising professionals surveyed, media spend on multi-screen campaigns is expected to grow from 20% to 50%  over the next three years (here, multi-screen campaigns are defined as those taking place over the same timeframe and across at least two screens, including PC, tablet, smartphone, and television). Forty-eight percent said that multi-screen campaigns are very important vehicles for projecting advertising messages today, and 88% said that the same will be true by 2016.

Interestingly, those surveyed would also like to see a consolidated approach to multi-screen campaign measurement. Seventy-one percent currently use a range of screen-specific metrics to measure their cross-device campaigns, but 73% would also prefer to eventually work off a single set of multi-screen metrics. What would those have to include? Delivery to targeted audience (66%), as well as brand lift (67%). Reflecting the move to a more agile approach to advertising, 69% said they'd like real-time metrics to enable optimization (77% among agency respondents).

Advertising Formats of the Future

Client-side marketers most commonly cited social, search, and display among the format options they consider today when putting together an integrated multi-screen campaign, although, interestingly, video enjoyed higher ratings when judging the best-suited options overall. Native advertising also appeared considerably higher in the "best-suited" ratings than it does among formats currently considered:

2013 ANA/Nielsen Survey Report, Optimizing Integrated Multi-Screen Campaigns, pg. 30.

The interest in native advertising comes along with growing recognition that content marketing is "on the rise" and branded entertainment enjoying "growing interest."

Nielsen and the ANA are hosting a joint webinar on November 21 which will delve deeper into the study's findings.