Marketers and media planners are constantly faced with the debate surrounding traditional television and digital video. Which do viewers spend more time watching? Which platform will give you a better ROI for your advertising dollars? Should marketers just forget about traditional TV all together?
The short answer to this debate: traditional TV is not dead, not even close.
Today’s programmatic and digital industry news states that millennials are cutting the cord on cable and if marketers and advertisers wish to target them, they have to reach them via digital platforms.
However, this isn’t the full story. Adweek reported a study done by the VAB (Video Advertising Bureau) which revealed that traditional TV lives, even with millennials:
- The majority of viewers prefer to watch their favorite programs live
- 81% of people reported that when watching VOD (video on demand), they watch at a time that’s convenient for them which results in increased ad impressions
- Between 2014 and 2017, VOD ad impressions increased almost fourfold to 23.3 billion.
TV is still very present – consumers are watching it live and on demand – so for marketers, it’s important to understand that this is still a very important advertising channel not to be ignored or forgotten.
In addition, TV is seeing a lot of changes that allow for more effective targeting. Historically, this platform hasn’t seen much opportunity for growth or change, but new features and capabilities are challenging this norm, making it essential that marketers allow for budget in order to implement these changes.
The latest platform that media buyers should be investing time and budget for is Smart TVs and their compatibility with programmatic advertising. One of the biggest challenges that marketers have always found when using TV ads is tracking the consumer journey. What is the time from when they see an ad on TV to actually making a purchase? If someone sees an ad online, they click on the ad, even if they don’t purchase at that moment, as marketers, we are able to track when they eventually do make a purchase. For television, this wasn’t possible until now. Smart TVs are the solution to merging digital with TV for advertising.
Smart TVs create profiles that allow us to know who is watching which programs and thus, which ads they are seeing. This gives marketers a variety of opportunities for better targeting, segmentation, retargeting, sequential marketing, and cross-channel implementation. Examples include:
- Targeting: Because marketers can see who is watching their ads, they no longer have to play a guessing game. Dollars can be spent more effectively as frequency and timing can be better thought out.
- Segmentation: Traditionally, TV allowed for very little segmentation, it primarily relied on age and gender. With the smart TV profiles that are created, marketers can rely on more precisely segmented targeting profiles. This also allows them to see the most concentrated audience viewing a program.
- Retargeting: Advertisers will know if a consumer has also seen a competitor’s ads, enabling them to target these consumers with their products instead – even a direct comparison. With Smart TVs, retargeting can happen both on TV and online.
- Sequential Ads: Advertisers know exactly which ads a consumer has seen. This allows them to use a series of ads, in a specific order, to tell a longer or more thorough story.
- Cross Channel: Once a marketer knows a consumer has seen an ad, they can then target ads on the right device at the right moment.
When all of this comes together, traditional TV offers a great opportunity for marketers to reach consumers on different platforms, with unique messages and at optimal times. However, this can be taken one step further. One of the biggest advantages that advertisers have with Smart TVs is that they can also connect mobile location. This allows them to track from the moment the consumer sees the TV ad to when they eventually make it to the physical store. This eliminates the biggest challenge that TV poses in gauging the length of overall customer journey.
Traditional TV remains an essential part of advertisers budgets and should not be counted out anytime soon. But, in tandem with that, marketers need to ensure they are staying up to date on the latest features and tactics to ensure they are getting the most out of their spend. Tactics like Smart TVs and the ability to track and target cross-channel is a prime opportunity for media planners to reach performance KPIs. Consumers who saw a TV ad followed by a digital ad are 4x more likely to visit the physical store than those who only saw the TV ad. Similarly, consumers who see ads on both platforms, are 3x more likely to make a digital purchase within the hour. It’s clear that with programmatic capabilities, marketers are able to track their advertising more effectively, spend more efficiently and learn more about their consumers.
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