How Advertisers Should Adjust Strategies for the At-Home Audience

In a fragmented world of multiple devices and multiple distractions

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Stay-at-home guidelines didn’t start the remote work movement, but they definitely accelerated it, and the successful transition by many companies to a dispersed workforce has proven its merits. A Gartner survey from early April found that 74% of CFOs plan to move some or all of their employees to remote positions permanently following the current crisis.

That societal shift in work environment has significant implications for advertisers who want to ensure they are continuing to find the right audiences across new locations and devices, take full advantage of TVs and other home-based media and leverage context-based ads to reach multitasking home workers.

Finding customers in new places

When people were working in offices, those locations and devices were predictable. If you wanted to reach an audience of people who worked in the banking industry, for example, it used to be as simple as focusing a campaign on desktop devices in lower Manhattan during the traditional workday.

As people move to remote locations, however, that predictability disappears. Are those same bank employees now at home in Connecticut or New Jersey—or maybe even Miami? Have they moved from their work computers to personal cellphones, laptops, tablets and TVs or are they using multiple devices at once? Are they working during normal hours or have they time shifted their work to mornings before school, late at night or weekends? 

As people juggle multiple personal and work responsibilities over the course of their day from their homes, it gets harder for advertisers to tell the best time to reach out to them.

A Deloitte survey shows many households now have entire families at home juggling their attention among an average of 11 connected devices, including seven with screens. That’s why it’s never been more important to have unified customer profiles that are connected across all of your audiences’ devices through a robust ID graph. By measuring frequency and reach to an unduplicated audience across all channels, you can analyze and invest your resources in the best places to reach your desired audience, at home, work or any place in between.

TV time might be any time

When you last worked in an office, did you ever sneak away for a couple hours to binge watch a favorite show? Or leave the TV volume on high while you worked in your cubicle? Probably not. At home, however, those TV viewing behaviors might be shifting, as people weave together their professional obligations with personal time and multitasking between devices.

In March alone, eMarketer saw a 66% increase in U.S. adults watching Netflix and Hulu, while connected TV and OTT content continue to climb in usage. As viewing time increased, so did ad space, with ad inventory for OTT reportedly jumping 25% from March 12-24, compared to the two prior weeks.

Measuring and understanding the impact of your campaigns across multiple devices can be a daunting challenge, as TV and digital traditionally used different metrics and methodologies to measure their success. It was difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether you were reaching the same people across channels.

To solve that cross-device conundrum, you should determine which metrics or outcomes matter for your business and work with your technology partners to ensure that you can measure those metrics across all channels. For example, if reach and frequency for unduplicated audiences is your goal, make sure you can get apples-to-apples data to compare it across TV, digital and mobile channels so you can focus your resources on the channels that best achieve your campaign goals.

Contextual advertising 

As people juggle multiple personal and work responsibilities over the course of their day from their homes, it gets harder for advertisers to tell the best time to reach out to them. Is a luggage ad going to be effective when shown to someone who is crashing on a PowerPoint presentation that’s due in an hour or trying to manage online classes for two kids across multiple home-schooling sites? It’s not likely.

What about when that same harried parent takes a break to daydream and research the exotic places they would like to visit next year? Now you’re talking.

Contextual advertising helps advertisers increase the impact of advertising by delivering ads that are relevant to the content around the ads. By placing ads in the right place at the right time based on the surrounding content, brands can maximize each viewer’s interest, attention and engagement with that ad.

In a fragmented world of multiple devices and multiple distractions, that kind of contextual bulls-eye can cut through the noise and ensure your ads get the intended result.

While remote work is here to stay, the implications of that shift will take a while to become fully clear. The advertisers who succeed will be the ones who best adapt to that change and unpredictability by testing their old assumptions, trying new tools and channels, measuring their results and constantly iterating to improve their results.