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In-depth: How relevant is screen size for brands in today's content-driven world?

Experts say even though content is king, screen size plays a vital role in striking a chord with consumers. Even if technology merges all three screens (mobile, TV and cinema) experiences, an individual will still crave for a tailor-made experience

Digital has brought about a huge disruption in the way the brands were marketed. Now a marketer must either adapt quickly to the changing environment or risk losing touch with their consumers. In today’s multi-screen behaviour, a brand can no longer focus on a single screen but have to make multi-screen campaigns in order to attract audiences.

The change is mainly taking place due to an increase in platforms such as video on demand (VOD) and over the top (OTT), strategic banner ads, and in games and apps websites that have allowed consumers to view content in whichever way possible. Majority of OTT platforms such as Hotstar, Voot, Zee5 and Sony Liv among others employ a hybrid revenue model that has further boosted advertisers’ interest.

In the earlier days, advertisers had a clear demarcation of screens to market their brands, but it seems that divide is lost in today’s content-driven world. With the advent of technology, there is an overlap of screens where one can watch digital content on television and vice-versa, turning it into family viewing. With the digital-first approach of several movie production houses, users can now easily access movies on OTT platforms.

This raises the question of whether screen size holds relevance for brands or is it more audience-led and content-specific. spoke to marketers to analyse.

Sameer Makani

Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives, said that although the world has become a content-driven place, screen size still plays a vital role in hitting the right chord with the consumer. He said majority of active viewing converts into sales than passive viewing. For instance, ads on TVs have 100% coverage in screen size without clutter and scrolling as compared to ads on Facebook and YouTube, which average to 10% and 30%, respectively.

“Anything below 100 pixels on the screen will not be able to gain attention and drive sales. Brands can only attract attention of the consumer if they possess a dynamic and striking digital ad along with the right digital advertising screen with prominent sizing. Brands also need to ensure the screen they choose is compatible with their digital signage software as it is feasible to choose right display (TV, smartphones, tablets and multiplex) for a business that meets all the requirements from the start to ensure it serves the purpose by creating a multi-screen environment. While choosing any screen, brands should always think about the purpose of the screen/ digital signage installation, environmental factors (type of displays), the size of the display along with the resolution to be used to create a better impact. Overall, it is important to have a larger screen space for an advertisement to drive better sales,” Makani added.

Chirag Gander

While one cannot deny that the viewing experience overlaps, Chirag Gander, Co-Founder, The Minimalist, said the word experience is very subjective and even if technology merges all three experiences, every person will crave for a tailor-made experience that cannot be replaced by the generalised version. For example, even if Avengers: End Game comes on your TV or is available on any of the OTT apps, the experience you get while watching it in theatre cannot be matched.

“The brands have to keep in mind the fact that the content projected on every screen creates a deeper connection with our emotions and moods. There's a purpose behind the type of screen a person selects to consume content. Big screens are meant for an experience where the person wants to be a part of the entire story and connect with it. Whereas, opting to watch something on TV is meant for discussions and spending time together. Last, but not least, the content on the mobile screen is meant for getting disconnected from the world and having a 'me-time'. So, while connecting with the audience on each screen, the content needs to have a solution that meets the purpose,” Gander said.

BK Rao

There is another perspective also. BK Rao, Sr.Category Head-Marketing, Parle Products, feels that today, brand marketing is more audience-oriented than screen-specific. “While TV still remains as the key form of advertising, there is a slow and steady shift in focus. Today, a consumer doesn't want to stick to appointment viewing offered through TV; they want to watch content as per their convenience. So, digital is definitely added in the plan when it comes to marketing. Currently, only the premium brands are placed on digital. So we pick and choose, according to brands that have better reach through the digital,” he added.

Sai Sangeeta Israni

Sai Sangeeta Israni, GM Marketing, Spykar Lifestyles, said their approach focuses on both media and content. “At times, we create content on the basis of the media and at other times, we select media on the basis of an idea and content. Either way, the screen size is a relevant discussion. For large impact, cinema screens work best, providing size, audio and video facilitation. Therefore, a TVC can deliver maximum impact on cinema. However for frequency and recall, television and digital work best. Digital and social interaction on mobile screens require tailored content that can further tell a detailed story as that is a more personalised screen. As a brand in the B2C segment, we tailor-make and filter content according to our touch points planned for the campaigns. We realise that today's multi-screen behaviour means most of the users usually end up using two screens at once.”

Harikrishnan Pillai

Harikrishnan Pillai - CEO & co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea also commented that the fundamentals of marketing don’t change with changing screen size or behaviour. He said, “Think of choosing a TV channel for a brand ad. One will put their brand up to where they get the highest concentration of their TG at the best price and align it with the objective the ad aims to achieve. Choosing screens are no different. The additional advantages that a mobile screen provides are the interactivity in its ad formats, opportunity to remarket, immediate redirection to a digital store & sharper reports. Brands need to choose screens basis the objective they serve; of impact, reach, reminder & action.”

As content and media consumption habits have evolved over a period of time, more so after the arrival of smartphones, it has led to cross-screen usage or multi-screen behaviour. These days, most consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access unrelated content; for example, consumers often use mobile to search for information related to what they are watching on TV.

Looking at this behaviour pattern, Rishi Sharma, AVP, Head Digital Marketing, LIVA, P&F Business, Grasim Industries, stated, “For the brands, it is about understanding how to communicate effectively with consumers as they engage with multiple devices and use these opportunities to reach consumers ‘in their moment’. And it has worked phenomenally well for Liva. When Liva had launched its first TVC, we used audio content recognition platform to retarget the same audience on their mobile device. Whenever a TVC would play, consumer would get a push notification with a contest through which consumer would win exciting gifts. A simple tech intervention that further enhanced brand engagement.”

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