This year’s FIFA World Cup and royal wedding are expected to provide a boost to TV ad spend in the UK this year, brands are spoilt for choice when it comes to seasonal events in 2018. However, Daniel Gulick, insights engineer at TV measurement and optimisation company TVSquared, believes advertisers could do more to capitalise on seasonal events, rather than assuming success is guaranteed by virtue of association. Here he describes how advertisers can use calls-to-action, dynamic baselines and real-time insights to make seasonal campaigns more effective.
The value of TV advertising leading up to seasonal celebrations is never clearer than at Christmas, where retailers go head-to-head for the most memorable and impactful commercials. This past December, it appeared that Amazon was the winner, with research showing its “Amazon Give” creative to be strong in terms of buying motivation and brand building.
The value brands place on Christmas ads is clear by the amount they are willing to spend. Take John Lewis for example. It reportedly forked out over £7 million on Moz, the monster under the bed. The retailer estimates its sales have increased more than 35 percent since 2012, largely due to its iconic Christmas ads.
But Christmas isn’t the only seasonal event built into marketing strategies. Huge sums are spent on TV for other holidays (especially Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween), and high-profile sporting events like the Football and Rugby World Cups, the Olympics and Super Bowl. For UK advertisers, especially, campaign prep is already in the works for the upcoming royal wedding, as advertisers anticipate increased tourist trade, high demand for wedding memorabilia and a surge in Meghan Markle-inspired fashion.
Advertising around major events and holidays is obviously about reaching audiences at times when they are most likely to spend. But it’s also about longer-term brand building, establishing associations with positive occasions.
With a busy 2018 ahead, here are five tips for successful seasonal TV campaigns:
Approach TV as a modern marketing channel
Forget the idea that TV campaigns must be planned, bought, and finalised months in advance, with impact determined through reach and frequency-based metrics. Linear TV is now a performance-driven marketing channel – measurable and optimisable in a similar way to digital. And brands can use it to reach their target audiences with tailored, dynamic messaging.
For live and/or seasonal events, advertisers need to plan their buys based on response rather than ratings. What aspects of a buy (time, day, network, etc.) resulted in TV-driven response during past campaigns? Which ones didn’t? In-flight measurement and, depending on the buy, in-flight optimisation, are also critical to ensure brands are driving maximum engagements with their spots.
Make calls-to-action work harder
Three-quarters of British consumers use connected devices while watching TV. Advertisers must take advantage of this second-screening behaviour when designing calls-to-action (CTAs). We are all active-participation viewers, ready and willing to engage digitally with brands when something captures our attention.
With this in mind, advertisers can use strong CTAs to direct consumers to websites to order that must-have Christmas toy, encourage them to download an app to plan the perfect Halloween party, or send a text to register for upcoming events or promotions.
Recognise TV’s real-time power
Making the most of seasonal TV advertising means measuring its immediate impact with real-time response data from site traffic, apps, call centres, search, and SMS – pretty much any customer touchpoint. Real-time measurement reveals how TV ads are performing against established KPIs and allows for optimisations to be made.
Brands can’t afford to wait weeks to analyse spot performance. Those designing TV commercials around the royal wedding could find the couple already back from honeymoon before they understand how their campaign performed. This lag results in missed opportunities.
Use a dynamic baseline
Determining a baseline – the level of activity that would happen without TV advertising – is vital to understand the true impact of campaigns. But rather than calculating a static baseline, which is often the norm, brands need a dynamic baseline that continually takes into account external forces such as seasonality, high volatility or ad clashes. This ensures that TV ads are not credited with response driven by other factors.
Action insights and optimise in-flight
Many still believe in-flight changes to TV campaigns can’t happen, but depending on the buy type, this isn’t necessarily true. Seasonal TV campaigns are naturally time-restricted, and real-time insights are only valuable when they are actionable and used to optimise campaigns – even while they’re still on air. Advertisers can react to real-time performance insights and change dayparts, programs, genres, even creatives, to better meet campaign goals.