How can the digital advertising market be saturated when there are so many places to buy ads? It depends on your definition of “saturated.”

When Accenture Strategy did a deep dive on some $12 billion of its clients’ marketing spend in a multiplatform television effectiveness analysis for ABC Disney, “One thing we found is that digital is largely saturated,” says Craig Macdonald, Accenture’s MD of Communications & Media Vertical.

Asked to elaborate, he adds, “I’m very precise in the way I say that. There’s lots more inventory that advertisers can go buy when it comes to buying other digital ads, but their ability to actually drive more sales is largely gated right now.”

Accenture concluded that the only way advertisers can get more yield out of, say, Google or Facebook is by combining investments in those channels with investments in multiplatform TV.

“Multiplatform TV popped out of the study as being by far the most powerful way to create a lot more top-of-funnel demand that would ultimately trickle down and make digital media more effective,” Macdonald says in an interview with Beet.TV following a presentation at the 6th Annual Cross-Platform Media Measurement & Data Summit of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement.

Another noteworthy finding derives from a normalization wherein Accenture evaluated the higher cost of advertising impressions on multiplatform TV versus cheaper digital inventory.

“If you compare it just to Google, its average price per thousand impressions is almost twice on a per unit basis, but it’s giving almost three times the sales efficacy,” Macdonald says of multiplatform TV. “This was actually a very surprising finding.”

There’s typically a big difference between the attributed value of a media channel and what is absolutely measured, according to Macdonald. For example, while paid search in isolation can yield a very strong ROI, it would not be nearly as effective without leveraging multiplatform TV at the same time.

“It gives me a very different view about how to budget for those two together and how I as an advertiser should think about using them together so I can actually maximize my overall media budget, not just my single-channel media budget,” says Macdonald.

The ABC study encompassed anonymized marketing spend for a three-year period across more than 20 leading national brands representing six industry categories. It found that on average, 18% of the ROI typically attributed by marketers to search, display and short-form video is actually driven by multiplatform TV. Conversely, the ROI typically attributed to multiplatform TV should actually be increased by an additional 10% on average, according to the analysis.