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Integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands, according to research

Two-thirds of consumers think ads are more intrusive (66%) and a third think ads are more irritating (33%) these days claims the 2018 AdReaction study from research firm Kantar Millward Brown. Analysis of campaigns that consumers prefer highlights the value of integrated work that is customised to each channel. Integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands. Ads on all channels benefit from integration – but TV and Facebook, and TV and outdoor, are combinations that work particularly well with each other.

Effectiveness learning shows the media formats that need to fit with all other content

Five tips

The study highlights five ways to create more effective campaigns:

1. Integrate comprehensively

Use all senses. Visual cues are important, and memorable characters differentiate, but audio cues like consistent voiceovers and music also help. Consumers will not notice all brand integration cues, so test to see if your campaign fits together. 

2. Start with a strong campaign idea

Start with a killer, insight-fuelled campaign idea and develop tightly integrated executions that work together to bring the idea to life. Build out from the core, don’t work back from a TV ad. 

3. Make each piece of content amazing

Individual creative quality defines overall campaign success. Do your idea justice by testing executions for all major channels.

4. Invest only in channels that have a clear role

There is little benefit to more channels unless they have a clear role in the campaign, and in reaching your audience. In the online space, target judiciously and don’t intrude. 

5. Customise content for each channel

Only develop content for channels where you can adapt excellently and make the most of the format. Find a balance between integration and customisation. A great campaign needs enough familiarity to tie campaign elements together, but enough novelty to engage with complementary content.

Discussing the ingredients of popular ads, Jane Ostler, managing director, media and digital at Kantar Millward Brown, says they start with a good idea: “Campaigns with a strong central idea perform better across all brand KPIs (+64%), especially brand-image associations (+91%). All brand cues contribute positively to campaign effectiveness, but AdReaction shows that consistent characters or personalities most help brand impact.”

Next, Ostler highlights the value of combining integration with customisation: “Multimedia pre-testing of campaigns carried out as part of the AdReaction study found that those which work best across all media to achieve brand objectives are both integrated and customised, with versions tailored to suit different channels. When these two things are combined, it can boost the effectiveness of a campaign by 57%. While 75% of ad campaigns are integrated, less than half are also customised, whilst one in four are fragmented and therefore not recognisably part of the same campaign.”

Consumers disagree with marketers

It is important that you do not assume you know what works and what doesn’t. As Ostler says: “Marketers and consumers have very different views on whether campaigns successfully fit together.” Ostler adds, “Most marketers (89%) believe their campaigns are integrated, but only 52% of consumers agree. When asked ‘What ads have you seen recently that worked well in lots of different places and/or formats?’ 47% didn’t know or couldn’t think of anything, whilst 67% couldn’t think of anything when asked: ‘What ad have you seen recently that worked particularly well online?’.“

If you want your next campaign to be liked by consumers there is a fiendish balance to strike. Get one link in the chain wrong, and you risk damaging that perception/reputation you're trying to build.


AdReaction: The Art of Integration examines the state of multichannel advertising campaigns in individual countries and across the world as a whole. Kantar Millward Brown surveyed more than 14,000 16-65 year olds between August and November 2017 in 45 countries (at least 300 per country). Consumer attitudes quoted above are global averages across all countries. Media effectiveness learning came from new analysis of Kantar Millward Brown’s CrossMedia database among 223 campaigns which had been monitored during 2015-2017. Creative learning came from campaign ad testing of 12 campaigns in eight countries.

You can see the global and country specific results of the AdReaction: The Art of Integration report here.

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