To quantify the “halo effect” that multiplatform television has on other digital advertising, ABC teamed with Accenture and examined $12 billion worth of ad spending. The advertising effectiveness project concluded that traditional media mix models have overstated the contribution of digital ROI and understated that of TV.

ABC and Accenture began by redefining what is TV and what is “digital,” according to Steve Whittington, Exec. Dir., Consumer Data & Analytics, Disney ABC TV Group. In the multiplatform TV bucket they placed long-form video experiences via live, DVR, VOD, online, app and OTT, while digital consisted of search, display and short-form video.

“One of the drawbacks around some of the studies that we’ve seen thus far is that they’re primarily based on syndicated data,” Whittington says in an interview with Beet.TV following a presentation at the recent 6th Annual Cross-Platform Media Measurement & Data Summit of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement in Manhattan. “We also felt that it was time to readdress the way that we’ve defined the different media channels today.”

Among the findings: Multiplatform TV advertising amplifies paid search and display in particular, along with short-form video ad performance. Specifically, digital ROI was overstated by about 18% and the ROI for television was understated by about 10%. “It was sales that had been incorrectly attributed solely to digital when the reality was it is the effect of the two working together that was really driving that,” says Whittington.

Most media mix models tend to look at short-term windows, for example a campaign period, a quarter or a year. “But we know that television by its nature is designed to drive brand awareness and drive the health of a brand over time,” he adds. So Accenture created a model to look at a three-year horizon and found that a dollar spent on multiplatform TV in year one “continues to work in fact in some cases an additional 1.3X factor across a three-year period,” Whittington says.

This long-term effect, if not accounted for properly, could tempt marketers to shift spending to digital because it’s cheaper and shows short-term impact, according to Whittington.

“But once you look at the full, long-term effect, the actual ROI across a three-year period can actually be lower because you’re kind of stealing from your outer years and some effectiveness of the brand in order to fund more conversion within a short-term time frame,” he says.

Phase two of ABC’s engagement with Accenture will dig deeper into the $12 billion worth of ad spending to parse out insights from “a lot of unanswered questions,” Whittington says, including dayparts, ad lengths, primetime versus daytime and 30- versus 15-second spots.