Ha. To think they used to refer to television as the small screen. PCs. Tablets. Mini-tablets. Smartphones. Big-Screen TVs. Video displays in malls, stores and on billboards. And of course, the original big screen at your movie theater. All those screens are accompanied by a very important behavior: we’re watching more than ever before.
As of the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, we’re watching 155 hours of live television a month, plus another 12 hours or so of time-shifted/DVR TV. Some 86 million households now have broadband access; as a result over 150 million people now consume video on phones, tablets and PCs each month.
One thing is for certain: if video is an important part of your communication plan, there is no shortage of ways to use it. The real question is, how can you use video most effectively?
Commercial television is still important and viable. It is still the foundation for almost any media approach that includes video. But effective plans are no longer simply a matter of reach and frequency. Today we’re looking for the most efficient ways to target and aggregate just the right audience. Building the best strategy to do that means taking a more creative, more studied approach, so that we can find undervalued placements and placements that have the best likelihood of engaging the audience. Consider:
1. Online streaming services are a relative bargain right now. Targeting options are outstanding, reaching even down to the zip code level. Clutter is minimal. A service like Hulu typically has far fewer ads than broadcast TV, often just a single ad in a break. Even better, the audience is almost certain not to “change channels” since that involves way too many clicks to accomplish. So you can pay less for a spot that is more likely to be seen by a well-targeted audience. Win. Win. Win. These services are still small, so they can’t form the foundation of a plan. But they can certainly extend it and improve efficiency.
2. Cable offers more attractive options than ever before, with a growing list of popular programming, zoned targeting, and system interconnects all providing opportunities. Similar to streaming services, an advertiser with a good profile for customers and prospects can build the right audience at a great value.
3. Online pre-rolls continue the theme of great targeting options and engaged viewers. Whether on smartphone, tablet or PC viewers of internet video have accepted :15 and :30 pre-roll ads to get to the content they want. With pre-rolls an important element is to make sure the ads are running on sites and on content that are favorable for the advertiser’s brand. We have great tools to help ensure make sure ads run where they should, but that’s another blog post.
4. Multi-screen integration. We’re busy with our tablets and laptops while we’re watching TV. According to Nielsen, 45% are daily “simultaneous viewer,” and 7 in 10 do so at least “several times a week.” That’s an interesting opportunity for marketers who want to enhance the viewing experience and/or tie-in to the ads that are running on the TV screen. It’s an area for experimentation right now, but one that may yield rich rewards for the advertiser that provides additional value to the audience.
5. Live sports and major events are the best opportunities to ensure an engaged audience through mainstream broadcast TV. A quick look at the ratings show they are dominated by sports and live shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Episodic TV has seen consistently declining ratings and is more susceptible to the whims of channel-changing viewers during commercial breaks.
6. Learning Spanish because every week 15-20 of the 100 top-rated shows on television are Spanish-language programming. As our national demographics continue to reflect a growing Latino audience, advertisers need to recognize that their campaigns may benefit from a second language.
- We have more screen opportunities than ever, and we’re watching more than ever.
- Old measures–reach and frequency–must be viewed in concert with new concepts: highly targeted reach and likelihood of viewer engagement.
- Don’t eliminate mass reach TV, but use it differently and supplement with highly efficient and impactful placements among smaller but well-targeted audiences.