Digital marketing has been a game-changer with marketing attribution and judging success rates. Now PK4 Media is working to bridge that digital verification with tangible results from marketing in the physical world.
PK4’s founder and CEO, Tom Alexander, discussed the company’s progress, process, and prospects with Open Mobile Media’s Robert Gray.
OMM: How does your agency differentiate itself from rivals?
Alexander: We have an omnichannel media platform. A lot of people are focused on desktop, mobile, and connected TV, but we tie in in-mall and in-theater experiences, we really are omnichannel in that way.
We take a holistic approach, user attribution across those channels, a real-time optimization across those channels.
We’re the only partner to tie in digital out-of-home with traditional digital.
OMM: How does this omnichannel approach work?
Alexander: We work with NCM (National Cinemedia) so we know you bought a ticket to Wonder Woman. There are four pods before the movie, we’ll know when you’ve bought a ticket with Mastercard, Visa, or go to a kiosk. We get purchase-level data on that, it’s a timestamp. We know you got there 20 minutes before the movie ran. We can say you had this many users in front of (an ad) before the movie ran, as you leave the theater walking back to the car and check your phone, we in-browser message you with second window creative. At home you turn on Hulu to watch a program, and we serve you a third window there.
As a brand, we drive those users down the purchase funnel to get them to buy a new car or consideration for a new car. We’ll keep on showing you the Nissan ad over and over. Here’s a new model, here’s some new features in the next one, then here’s an offer.
OMM: Describe your relationship with brands.
Alexander: Working directly with brands is understanding the effectiveness of their ad dollars and tying the pieces together. Finding users, we tie data points together.
Tracking users across all digital screens and frequency capping (watch show, see same commercial 10 times in a row, we focus on the content itself). NBC is an exclusive partner, we can do it with Hulu they want to host creative. That agency loses control. We have a relationship with the content provider, not Hulu. NBC is guaranteed X number of impressions that preempt Hulu, we run on Hulu before Hulu gets it.
OMM: How can you pinpoint success?
Alexander: Everything happens in real time. We know when something works. You must have a clear definition of success with the client.
Our first question, we hound them on is what does success look like to them? What’s the click-through rate? We have 4X the industry average across our platform and we have an 80 percent completion rate for video.
We have an integration with Nielsen for brand studies. We can run lifted awareness and can run a campaign on what Nielsen reports back.
OMM: Do you focus more on mobile apps or the mobile web?
Alexander: We’re looking at more in-browser mobile placements than in-app, we get more data to connect them with. We can tie (users) to a laptop or connected TV. We stick more to in-browser, but with in-app, the trick is getting enough data. The way users interact with apps, I probably go to five apps out of few hundred, some of those apps don’t provide advertising opportunities. At that point it comes down to getting those users to download new apps and spend time with it.
Apps are more useful for a branding exercise than anything else. Top of the funnel type techniques build awareness but having the ability to track is useful. Being digital we have so much access to so much data in real time and if you have the ability to access that data you should take it.
OMM: What’s the big challenge right now?
Alexander:Personalization and identifiable TV are big. Content is being consumed on desktop, mobile devices, and connected TV. The growth of mobile is a big piece of it. We can make sure the creative messaging is relevant to the client. Instead of one creative message you can tailor it to who sees the creative.
If you can make this relevant for the user whether based on where they are in life cycle, married or having kids for instance, a certain message for them, that makes it more personal and it will help increase engagement rates, conversion rates as long as you don’t take it too far and get too creepy.
OMM: Everybody talks about the weather, but you’re trying to do something about it. How does this marketing work?
Alexander: We just developed weather targeting. Until now it’s only been Weather.com that could do this. We have a feed from other weather providers and can target across all screens and say it’s 80 degrees in LA go buy some Haagen-Dazs. Or UVI is high, buy some sunscreen.
We can run it across all in-browsers placements in mobile. It’s all built-in to normal impressions that we’re serving. Do we want to target based on the weather piece alone? For sunscreen we only do it based on UV Index or certain cities at the beach. It’s only served to geo-targeted cities. For allergy medication, we know the pollen count is high in LA but only show to users we’ve tagged as having allergies, or anyone in the area of high polling will see the creative.