Photo: Gustavo Devito/Flickr
Big brands spend tens of billions on television advertising every year because it’s the ultimate medium for reaching a large audience with a message for the masses.The TV audience, however, is changing. Today’s TV audiences catch their favourite shows on screens of every size and schedules of their own making. Every day they effortlessly shift their attention from flat-screen to lap-screen to smartphone and back again. Whether connected to viewers via cable, antenna, satellite or Web, the new TV is generally the same viewing experience as the old. The types of programs are the same: they’re ad supported, the ad creative is generally the same and the ads still run in commercial breaks before, during and after the program.
Online video advertising is expected to grow 40 per cent this year, but it’s still a small fraction of broadcast TV (estimated $3 billion vs. $60 billion). The exploding number of screens, media outlets and programs ignited by the Web has significantly boosted the amount of time consumers spend watching video content. The explosion of programming content also further increases the specificity of audience targets and segments. On the surface, that sounds like a good thing for advertisers. But for most, the opportunities are outweighed by the challenges. While there is no shortage of industry talk about the benefits and opportunities of Web-based TV, there are several key reasons advertisers aren’t moving more of their broadcast budgets to online video.
Multi-Screen Campaigns Have to be Measurable
Of course, online video advertising is measurable, but that’s not enough. Most marketers know they need to follow the audience from screen to screen. Before they make significant investments in online video advertising, they need to know how and why they should split their budgets between broadcast and Web. How much of their target audience is viewing content on the Web? Does that mean they’re losing that audience on TV? Is there a benefit to reaching the audience across both? How could the combination increase overall campaign results? How can video campaigns be optimised across multiple screens?
To answer these questions and proceed with larger, more frequent “TV everywhere” campaigns, marketers need to be able to centrally track and analyse broadcast and Web commercial reach, frequency and performance together.
This remains a key deficiency in the current offerings by technology and measurement companies. In fact, the vast majority of online ad technology providers don’t offer any solutions for broadcast. They have a vested interest in convincing advertisers to abandon broadcast and move their media dollars to the Web. As long as online video ad servers and ad networks continue to address only part of the picture, this will remain a tough sell and progress will be slow.
Multi-Screen Campaigns Have to be Scalable
The business of marketing is getting in the way of smart marketing practices. Advertisers want to find smart, efficient ways to sync with TV viewers, but most still have internal marketing departments that are divided into separate digital and broadcast advertising teams. Separate teams lead to separate thinking, separate planning, separate workflows, separate campaigns, and even separate agencies for broadcast vs. online video.
To further the division, many agencies still specialize in either broadcast or Web video, but not both. Agencies often select various technology solutions to help them execute and measure campaigns on behalf of their clients. When multiple agencies are involved, their disparate tech solutions often separate broadcast and Web advertising even further.
Multi-Screen Campaigns Need New Thinking
In order for TV advertisers to connect with consumers across every screen, they need to be able to nimbly execute cross-media video campaigns and centrally control how their ads work together on every screen. To get there, brands need to start with a new end in mind. By approaching TV advertising with a multi-screen perspective from square one, brands can think bigger, execute more efficiently, eliminate redundancy and increase the performance of commercial campaigns.
Agencies should consider broadening their scope to include un-siloed thought leadership and big ideas that span every screen, not just broadcast or Web. By tying all video advertising together as a single, strategic discipline advertisers will eliminate the current divide between broadcast and Web and, as a result, cross-media video advertising will become as seamless for advertisers as it is for the audience.
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