Capitalizing on the Different Characteristics of Screens to Make Multi-Screen Integration Come True¡ªAn Interview With Tony Yuan, Senior Vice President of hdtMEDIA
Nowadays, when talking about advertising industry, the topic of digitalization cannot be skipped. The latest report of America¡¯s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says that ¡°the online advertising revenue in 2013 has reached a record high of 4,280 million US dollars, 17% higher than that in 2012. What is noteworthy is that in 2013, the revenue of online advertising has for the first time surpassed that of traditional television advertising.¡± Meanwhile, in a digital marketing course of ¡°weTech Business School¡± by 21st Century Media, Zhang Rui, CEO of Social Touch, told the trainees, ¡°according to a piece of unconfirmed news, the revenue of online advertising in the first quarter of 2014 also exceeded that of television advertising.¡±
The two groups of numbers vividly reflect the great impact of digitalization on advertising industry¡¯s landscape. If we explore the meaning behind the data, we will find that from 2012, exactly speaking from 2013, digitalization already had a profound influence upon the advertising industry. As a tool in the past, digitalization has now begun to influence the rules of advertising market and will even change the rules of the entire market. Some said that digitalization knocked down the ¡°walls¡± that cut the market into different media and sectors and separated commercial brands with life. After the destruction of the ¡°walls¡±, brands and life mixed together.
We are now in the colorful multi-screen era where there are various smartphones, computers, tablet computers, outdoor led screens and so on. As always being sensitive, advertising industry will never be aloof to technology revolution and novelty. Thus in recent years, multi-screen integration has unsurprisingly become a concept often mentioned and a development trend of advertising industry. The impact of digitalization is making the concept of multi-screen integration into practice.
An irresistible trend of multi-screen integration
Tony Yuan is a pioneer in the Internet marketing industry with over 18 years experience in data communication. Now he is the Senior Vice President of hdtMEDIA. Basing on his early professional life and the experience of data communication, he has his own understanding about the changes brought by digitalization: when advertisers began to use Weibo to do marketing, WeChat emerged; when they finally learned how to use DSP, multi-screen interaction came up. In the multi-screen era, we need to rethink how to integrate the screens when consumers are using different screens for different purposes.¡±
When referring to multi-screen integration, we more often mean three-screen integration: the PC screen, the Pad screen and the cellphone screen. Tony said that actually, the number of screens to be integrated tended to be more than three. For example, future smart televisions that will enter into every family, outdoor billboards that are slowly developing approaching the Internet, QR codes that are printed on magazines, newspaper and posters in elevators and staircases. The definition of screens will be very wide and interaction will be concomitant. From the perspective of marketing, we need to think more and explore more, because advertisers pursue not only the advertising effect of their brands, but consumers¡¯ recognition, feeling, understanding, use and the sharing of the user experience of the products. As the overwhelming tide of multi-screen integration rolling in, htdMEDIA didn¡¯t just sit around. Rather, we actively explore and lay out three and even multi-screen integration.
¡°On the basis of the advertisement delivery experience and the data accumulated on many platforms, hdtMEDIA can label people so as to get ready for the advertisement delivery with multiple screens. In the future, by using the supervision, data collection and more detailed data report of cross-platform advertisement delivery and capitalizing on PC, Pad, LBS and QR code, our company will diversify the multi-screen marketing,¡± said Tony.
Multi-screen integration, not that simple
Comparing to the one-screen mode, we are easy to simply imagine the advantages of multi-screen integration, for example, the reach of brand communication and the longer time of brand exposure to consumers. We probably cannot deny these advantages, but there is indeed something that multi-screen integration cannot do. Tony told us that multi-screen integration was not that simple.
Today, digital media can been seen everywhere in people¡¯s daily life. PCs, cellphones and Pads have become indispensable for consumers. But how to seize the trend? How to give full play to each screen for brand communication? How to realize the effect ¡°1+1>2¡± and how to maximize the brand communication effect? These are the top questions on multi-screen integration.
¡°Each screen has its own major functions and characteristics. The time consumers spend on using different screens is much different. For example, a cellphone is mainly used for social connection, a PC for working and a Pad for entertainment. When doing the three- or multi-screen integration, we need to use and combine the characteristics of different screens. We need to find out how to make the use of screen more effective on the basis of consumers¡¯ habit of using screens. In order to make multi-screen integration successful, we need first to know the consumers¡¯ use habits. Then we send the information to different consumers with the correspondent screens. Finally we use the unified advertising creativity and express the same voice with different screens, giving our target consumers a great impact and perfect cross-screen experience,¡± said Tony.
Tony further explained that cellphones were thought relatively less useful for brand communication. So we would not use cellphones to promote a brand. But cellphones are not totally useless, they can be very useful in interaction of communication. By scanning a QR code with cellphones, consumers can take part in the interaction with PCs.
Tony took ¡°Chow Sang Sang: Y¨² Y¨² collection¡± as an example to explain how multi-screen integration works. The commercial activity of Chow Sang Sang combined the cellphone game, QR code interaction, LBS and online and offline marketing. Consumers scanned with their cellphones the QR code shown on PC screens, which realized the interaction of cellphones and computers. After scanning, the consumers got into the activity. The consumers are told by the LBS in cellphone where the nearest Chow Sang Sang outlet is and then receive the activity-related information. They post the information and their comments on Weibo to inform their friends about the activity. The activity of Chow Sang Sang was very interactive. It gave play to the interactivity of screens, instead of using it traditionally as an advertisement board.  
Multi-screen integration on the way
Up to now, the multi-screen integration has travelled its own journey. According to Tony, there is no real three-screen integration to date in China and there is still huge room for perfection. ¡°First, we have the immense space for the improvement of data exploration and industry standards. How to do the sample analysis on the existing data of cellphone and Pad and how to link consumers with PCs so as to make a real three-screen integration come true? These questions are important for the third research firms. Second, we need to well explore the data and effectively find the target consumers, which is a challenge for the communication platform. Third is about the performance of creativity on different screens. In today¡¯s market, there are few companies that can truly show different innovative ideas with different screens. We are still accustomed to delivering the information traditionally rather than targetedly.¡±
 ¡°We cannot say that showing the same advertisement with the three screens is the three-screen integration. In the future, we must find the connection and complementarity among the three screens and recognize the consumers¡¯ using habits. We must think how to express valuable information to consumers in an integrated way and how to improve the interactivity, effectivity and precision of multi-screen marketing. We also need to have in-depth analysis of three-screen integration¡¯s real effect,¡± said Tony to the interviewer at the end of the interview.