How to Solve the Linear TV and VOD Advertising Puzzle

Simon Stone

New research highlights the power of VOD ads running in conjunction with linear TV advertising. Simon Stone, Commercial Director, International at Collective, takes a step further and explains why he thinks clever audience targeting is the secret to delivering improved ROI and incremental reach.

It’s official: running ads on Video On Demand (VOD) services at the same time as you run them on linear TV advertising can deliver significantly better recall, purchase intention and brand buzz than just running the ads on TV alone.

If you want the actual figures, which come from a recent Ipsos MORI study in the US amongst six to 11 year old girls, then here they are:

  • 52 percent recall for both VOD and TV compared with TV alone;
  • 80 percent purchase intent for both against 56 percent TV only;
  • 78 percent are likely to talk about the brand with friends and family compared with 44 percent for TV alone.

The challenge, though, lies in identifying the segments of your audience who watch both linear TV and VOD and then working out which linear channels they watch and which VOD services they consume, and when. Solve that puzzle, and you can create a media schedule that delivers the right ads, at the right time, to the right audience.

Media buyers are well aware of the potential linking TV and VOD ads can offer. Our 2015 Online Video market report found that 63 percent of media buyers emphasised the need to link TV and VOD.

More than a quarter (26.2 percent) of those we talked to for that survey said the ability to bridge the gap between TV and digital was vital to enable multi-screen campaign reach and frequency.

It’s not just about making sure the target audience sees the same ad as many times as possible during the relevant campaign period; it is increasingly also about sequential messaging, the ability to show your target audience the next ad in the sequence after the one you know they watched yesterday.

Sequential messaging is growing, with big names like Facebook and Netflix committed to it. In the UK, Channel 4’s sequential service, Ad Journey has been used by car marque Vauxhall and mobile phone giant O2. O2 deployed it for its multi-faceted ‘Make them Giants’ campaign during last year’s Rugby World Cup, using C4’s viewer data to target All 4viewers with a different ad in the series every time they visited a Channel 4 website.

VOD is now becoming a larger part of the overall digital strategy as the importance of brand advertising continues to move up the agenda.

However, to continue to drive this rapid growth, the market must offer premium inventory at scale and also tools which media buyers can use to align their VOD ad schedules with their linear ad schedules.

It is this kind of ability to deliver incremental reach, multi-screen frequency and sequential messaging as well as audience targeting that is necessary if we are to encourage media buyers to put together multi-screen media schedules.

Tools like TVA (TV Accelerator) will be crucial in driving the growth of programmatic TV and VOD – and, if the two do actually converge (and there’s a massive debate raging right now about whether that’s going to happen or not), then the need to be able to understand which screens the target audience are watching and when will be even more important.

The ability to see who is watching what and when – and whether they are watching on TV, PC, tablet, mobile or indeed a combination of two or more of them (behaviour we’re increasingly seeing from Generation Z) is also going to be hugely important if advertisers and media buyers are going to be able to break down their schedules according to the length of ads (on both linear TV and VOD) and also according to the format of the video ad (pre-roll, in-stream or in-article, for example).

Our 2015 research found that back then around two-thirds of TV buyers were buying video in-page, in-banner and within rich media display formats. The main reason for that trend was, frankly, that media buyers were faced with a limited supply of pre-roll video inventory.

Whatever the reason, the linear TV and VOD media landscape is only going to get more complicated as new technologies, new devices and new media channels/owners arrive on the scene. The only way to make sense of that complexity will be to deploy equally sophisticated technologies to collate data on audiences to feed into media plans.

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