This may not be groundbreaking news, but it bears repeating: the media landscape isn’t the same as it used to be. And it’s nowhere near ready to stop changing.
People’s media consumption habits are far more fragmented, and incremental reach is increasingly more expensive. TV is no longer the solution to reaching mass-market in isolation. It’s not great for target ability and real-time measurement and optimisation, and most of it is still bought through traditional means. Yes, TV is still winning in terms of audience reach… for now, anyway.
In 2017, almost a quarter of 18-49 year olds did not subscribe to linear TV in the US, and the number of millennials who don’t have a TV subscription has increased by over 50% in the past two years (Google & Nielsen).
That’s not to say advertisers should start ditching TV. Far from it! There’s a lot of value to be gained, if you do it right. And by that I mean knowing how to close the gap and how to leverage TV and digital channels together.
And the winner is… video
Although things are changing, there’s one thing that has remained constant: video is still a consumer favourite across all markets.
According to the IPA, 99% of British consumers were watching 4 hours and 41 minutes of television and video per day in 2018. Two-thirds of that was done on live television by adults – though note that this has decreased by 3% since 2017, and for the 15-34 age range it fell from 50% to 41%.
Long story short: video, wherever it’s being watched, is as strong as ever. But what’s more important than ever before is the need for cross-platform reach.
Television versus digital?
A lot of digital marketers are quick to defend digital and point out the flaws of traditional marketing, and some advertisers seem to think digital has nothing on TV. The simple truth is that they actually complement each other very well. Especially digital video and TV.
The obvious advantages of TV are reach and scale, which are basically incomparable to anything else at the moment. TV reaches about 96% of people in key markets (WARC). It’s also got a very effective ROI, and is second only to paid search for brand performance according to research Accenture.
On the other hand, TV alone isn’t enough anymore. By focusing on one channel only, you’re missing out on users that don’t watch TV. Viewing habits are fragmented, and second-screening is omnipresent: a Facebook study found that 94% of people have a smartphone on hand while watching TV, and research from the Center for Research Excellence and Nielsen found that second-screen usage goes up 50% during TV commercials. This is a problem because second-screening reduces brand recall by almost 50%.
Interestingly, Accenture’s findings show that TV is good at enhancing the impact of digital channels, and generates a “multiplier effect” when combined with other channels in the same publisher ecosystem.
And guess what? This effect has been found across the board!
When 1+1 equals 3
Digital channels complement your TV campaigns with additional, exclusive reach and additional frequency, leading to a multiplier effect that drives ROI, conversions and brand value. Combining TV with Facebook/Instagram video and YouTube generates a higher lift than any of these channels alone, while still being cost-effective: Facebook found that on average, spend on TV is 16.6x greater than on Facebook even though the TV components of campaigns reach only 3.6x as many people as Facebook.
Against all mobile-favored odds, YouTube’s fastest-growing viewership platform is TV. So the company has introduced tools to allow advertisers to target ads specifically for users watching YouTube on TV screens, watching less than one hour of broadcast/cable TV per day and tend to no longer pay for cable/satellite TV services. To optimize cross-media spend, these Light TV Viewers can be targeted to reach that low-TV consumption audience. With this, you’re increasing the impact of existing TV campaigns and extending reach beyond TV spend to an audience that may otherwise not be exposed to a campaign.
Facebook and Nielsen have done some interesting research in Latin America, where for the first time TV advertising doesn’t offer omnipresence. By adding Facebook ads to traditional TV campaigns, they were able to access an average 17% incremental reach to TV advertising, i.e. an average of 2.5 million additional people not reached by TV ads alone. Unsurprisingly, the impact was especially high for younger audiences. They also found that a TV plus Facebook campaign is 20% cheaper than a TV-only campaign for the same results.
The future of TV and video
The numbers are spelling it clearly: linear TV still deserves advertiser money, but viewership is declining and reach is getting more expensive. Advertisers are going to need to move budgets where they can see accountability. As the marketing funnel get’s increasingly non-linear with hundreds of touchpoints and media consumption evolves, it’s no longer enough to know how to plan a campaign on a single channel. Real impact will come from understanding exactly how channels are represented across industries, how they complement each other, and how to plan and measure in a cross-channel world.
What we really need for TV to work in the digital era is better measurement options, as well as an updated delivery infrastructure. I’m confident that all TV will one day be bought programmatically… but we’re still years away from that. In the meantime, you can make your brand activity work harder for you by combining TV with Facebook Video and YouTube. You’ll get more complementary and incremental reach, create altogether better campaigns, and do it all more efficiently.
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