TV has taken a secondary role in most marketing strategies due to the growing influence of digital marketing. Many marketers are increasing ad spend on digital mediums due to their unmatched ability to deliver personalized messages that are easy to measure. However, TV providers are determined to stay competitive with their digital counterparts, spurring a few major trends, such as multiscreen and programmatic tactics, that could impact your organization’s offline media optimization strategy. To effectively reach consumers using TV ads in light of these trends, marketers must change how they define and segment their audience, as well as how they integrate online and offline campaigns and attribution metrics.
Television Is Still an Effective Medium — but It Sorely Needs Metrics
Contrary to the belief of some marketing pundits, it is extremely likely that TV will continue to be a significant piece of an effective marketing strategy. This is because TV is one of the most efficient ways to create widespread audience awareness. Depending on the audience’s vertical and time of exposure, TV can still drive a significant number of conversions.
The challenge with TV ads is that marketers have difficulty getting actionable metrics and insights, such as attribution data. At this time, marketers must look for outside-the-box solutions to extract conversion data from offline media. Still, marketers should be aware that TV providers have made measurable results a priority. Right now, marketing technology is on the cusp of being able to trace the audience’s journey to an endpoint. While TV is not quite there yet, it is reasonable to expect it will become more sophisticated very soon.
As this change takes place, there are some major trends affecting how marketers need to approach TV advertising.
Harnessing Mobile and Multiscreen Environments
Many marketers think of mobile as the ultimate enemy of TV. For example, in 2019, global mobile ad spend is forecasted to overtake TV thanks to the proliferation of programmatic advertising and 5G. Advertisers spent $138 billion to reach mobile users in 2018, and that number is expected to grow to $153 billion in 2019. This gives many marketers the impression that the grass is greener on mobile’s side.
Despite mobile’s growth continuing to swell, marketers should not feel as if their offline media attribution plans need to fall to the wayside. Here’s a fact that could change your perspective on mobile and TV’s rivalry: 94 percent of people who watch TV in the US keep their phone in hand while doing so. This means that TV and mobile are not struggling for hegemony — they should be viewed as partners helping accomplish the same marketing goals in novel ways.
Research has shown that when viewers engage with content across multiple devices, a halo effect occurs. The term “halo effect” refers to a type of consumer bias where positive impressions from a brand’s marketing efforts are expanded into another experience or advertisement from that same brand. This halo effect amplifies search, display, and short-form video performance. Customers are also more receptive to mobile ads while in front of the TV. While watching TV, 59 percent of viewers pay additional attention to the mobile ads on their smartphones. By using advanced attribution analytics, marketers can get further insight regarding when users are watching TV, on which network, and which mobile channels they use. To execute this strategy properly, some additional attribution information may be needed — which is where Advanced TV enters.
Emergence of Advanced TV
People still really like to watch TV — just not in the conventional way. Today, customers like to use over-the-top (OTT) devices such as smart TVs, Chromecasts, and game consoles. There’s just one snag with these devices: usually, people don’t watch as many ads on them. Smart TV users spend about 57 percent of their time watching Netflix, which is not accessible for typical advertising campaigns. In addition to Netflix, smart TV users enjoy other ad-free platforms like HBO Now or ad-free Hulu subscriptions. While some of these OTT platforms are difficult to fully break into, marketers are enamored by the ability to target ads and take advantage of multiscreen environments.
Advanced TV does have challenges, but it can also be a boon to marketers. It assists marketing attribution by making households more addressable via both linear TV and OTT devices. This trend, called addressable TV, falls under the advanced TV umbrella. Addressable TV allows advertisers to serve ad content exclusively to certain audience segments. Conventional offline TV providers hope that by expanding the number of addressable households, they can continue to stay competitive with OTT options. In 2015, only 30 percent of households in the United States were addressable. In 2018, that number grew to 53 percent. Audiences can be segmented in a variety of ways, such as viewing behavior, buying behavior, and basic demographics. This way, TV will be suitable for more personalized marketing, as opposed to its historical role as a tool of mass marketing.
Programmatic TV Advertising Is Becoming Mainstream
Programmatic TV advertising seeks to provide two major solutions to common pain points with TV advertising. First, many organizations find the process of advertising on traditional TV extremely hands-on and time-consuming. Programmatic TV advertising resolves this by automating most of these decisions, such as the best time and place to air an advertisement. This allows TV to stay competitive with digital, since 63 percent of digital ad spend is based on automated advertisements. Programmatic TV also extracts useful data almost immediately after airing an ad, allowing for more timely optimizations. This points to another strength of programmatic TV advertising: Organizations can look forward to more complete metrics. Programmatic TV advertising allows marketing professionals to gauge how many times ads are clicked, the cost of each click, and the consequential ROI.
As a result of these changes in TV advertising, it would behoove marketers to adapt their targeting and attribution strategies to improve offline and online attribution integration abilities. While every organization’s journey to optimizing their offline media spend is unique, there are some general guidelines to follow. When advertising on TV, stop targeting mass audiences. Instead, break the segments of your target audience down based on specific demographic and psychographic data. Look for a marketing attribution platform that provides agility, accuracy, and cross-channel insights. The attribution tool or software should also allow tracking of creative and branding efforts in near real time. By equipping your organization to optimize its offline media spend, it will have the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.