While digital media has swept many legacy media companies aside, the TV industry has proven itself to be exceptionally resilient. Here Sarah Lawson Johnston, Managing Director Europe at Mediaocean, explains why.
If its critics had their way TV would be gathering dust in the vaults of media history, yet the channel is thriving in spectacular style. Thinkbox recently revealed that TV ad spend topped £5 billion for the first time in 2015 — largely driven by increased investment from the digital giants who were tipped to be the architects of TV’s demise. And last month, LinkedIn debuted its first ever TV ad during the Oscars.
It’s clear that TV advertising is on the money, but why exactly are online brands such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix choosing to bump up their spending?
Despite the rise of digital, marketers recognise that TV remains the most effective advertising format with the power to generate significant awareness at scale. Its ability to drive conversions has not diminished and is only set to keep growing, with global TV ad revenue expected to reach $224.1bn in 2020. Although viewing habits are changing, Ofcom research shows that the UK population spends almost four hours each day watching TV, and more than 90 percent still tune in every week.
TV continues to be the ultimate tool for driving brand awareness and recognition — as demonstrated by First Choice last year when the company decided to make its first brand identify shift in 20 years via the long-established medium. TV advertising is not only powerful in isolation; it also creates a unique multiplier effect that enhances consumer attention for ads on other screens. Indeed, the effect of TV – both shows and ads – is so profound that consumers feel inspired to share the experience via other channels, such as social media.
A recent Nielsen study exploring TV’s capacity to drive cross-channel activity found Twitter mentions for a personal care brand increased by 779 percent when a TV ad was broadcast during an all-star sports game. Little wonder then that the roster of new
TV advertising investors includes social networking heavyweights like Facebook and Google, who understand TV’s ability to drive interactions on every channel – including the digital world.
As shown by the Nielsen research, TV has the power to drive significant interactions on social media as viewers share their reactions to ads online. To boost campaign effectiveness, marketers must exploit this connection by supporting TV ads with complementary social activity. Ads with an interactive element, such as a hashtag that invites direct online participation, allow TV viewers to immerse themselves in brand stories. For example, Coca Cola created an integrated TV and social campaign late last year that ran two unique TV ads per day, each containing six user tweets.
Today’s consumers also want personalised content and their expectations are spreading beyond the digital sphere to offline channels such as TV. In response to this need, the industry is increasingly embracing automated technologies that enable better audience segmentation and targeting. By making their TV campaigns addressable, marketers can tailor ads to the unique needs, interests and preferences of their desired audience — enhancing advertising impact and minimising wastage.
Developments in syncing technology are also bringing online and offline closer together. Marketers can utilise syncing to detect the exact moment a TV ad is aired and deliver related content to the viewer’s mobile device — capturing the attention of multiscreen audiences no matter which screen they are looking at. Instead of being distracted from the TV by second screen devices, consumers can engage with ads via the channel of their choice, which means advertising messages have a better chance of resonating.
A further advantage of syncing tech is that real-time ad detection can be used to measure the impact of TV ads across other channels. This enables marketers to go beyond limited metrics such as ratings data, and trace the impact of TV ads on social media platforms or website traffic. Not only can marketers use the resulting data to create a complete picture of campaign success, but they can also see which areas are most stimulated by TV ads and boost complementary digital activity accordingly.
TV is as influential and on the money as ever, with an unparalleled capacity to boost brand awareness and amplify cross-channel impact. Yet it still has the potential to do much more. If marketers can master new technologies to improve the efficiency of TV ad trading, cross-channel integration and measurement, they will create campaigns that dominate every screen — now and in the future.