Gone are the days when we spend most of my time planning and buying TV campaigns for clients, not because TV is dying or less effective than it used to be but because we now plan and buy across ‘video’ or ‘screen content’.
TV still delivers the greatest proportion of content watched, but viewing has been fragmented across platforms and devices.
To completely misquote Mark Twain, “Tales of my death have been greatly exaggerated”
I was told 15 years ago that I should get out of TV buying because ‘it won’t exist in 5 years’. Well, that wasn’t the case, and large proportions of our clients’ budgets are still invested in TV. However, what we have seen is new formats and ways of watching good quality TV style content springing up and changing the market.
It’s been a really interesting few years, but one of the main questions that we regularly get asked is – “Is TV still effective?”
I honestly believe that the answer is YES!
The first reason is that TV still offers scale and can get brands known quickly.
If we look at how people consume video content, we see that TV (live, playback or broadcaster video on demand) accounts for two-thirds of all views. This includes video content which does not serve advertising. If we look at TV as a proportion of time spent watching commercial content – it is over 95%.
The charts below from Thinkbox show how our viewing is broken down for all individuals – and also for young adults.
These figures set the scene by illustrating the fact that we are watching hours of video content every day – of which we see an average of 20 minutes of adverts each day on TV.
However, having scale does not necessarily mean that TV is efficient. To ensure it delivers very strong returns, you need to make sure that your screen budgets work as hard as possible for you.
Here are 8 ways on how to get the most out of your on-screen budget:
1. Set campaign goals
It is important to understand what you want to achieve and how you think video advertising will get you there. Goals need to be realistic, but also challenging. They should also be clear and help focus the team responsible for delivering the work on specific deliverables. For example, ‘maximise the conversion from a broad audience to the core target against pre-agreed benchmarks’ gives more focus than ‘reach 80% of people at least once’, ‘increase brand awareness’ or ‘sell more’.
2. Have creative that stands out
There is plenty of debate around which is the most effective; creative execution or media placement. Both need to work together to get the maximum benefits from advertising. We can’t underestimate how important it is to get this right to make sure that your campaign works as hard as possible. Plenty of research has shown that people respond better to advertising that generates an emotional response and when they are in a state of ‘cognitive ease’, which put simply means – talk to people when they’re chilled and make them feel good.
3. Know which screens to advertise on
With so many platforms and video formats to choose from, how do you know which ones will work the best for you? Having a planning process in place will enable you to allocate budgets to deliver against various different campaign metrics. Come and talk to our team, and we’d happily take your brief and make recommendations as to what proportion of your budget should be on TV, or any other video formats or platforms.
4. Right time, right place
For all this talk of disruption – there are some things that remain because they work. Once you’ve got great creative, serve it to people not necessarily just in times of ‘cognitive ease’, but at times when it is relevant to them, and likely to generate a response or consideration. It is getting easier now to serve content at specific times of day, dialling up or down with factors such as temperature or traffic. More value can be eked out of a campaign by delivering the adverts at the most relevant times.
5. One size does not fit all – tailor if possible
We often find that budget restrictions lead to one format of visual advert being made. As a result the same copy tends to play out across all platforms, whereas a series of tailored adverts could be much more effective. An advert, viewed on a mobile screen around some short form content, might not have the same impact as the same advert seen on a cinema screen. It’s good to know what you would have in the advertising suite in an ideal world, and then work back from there if budgets do get squeezed.
6. Know your effective weights and take breaks
We plan multi-media campaigns to make sure that brand awareness peaks at the right times. We standardise and combine the communication weights across all media and then look at where the awareness peaks. We also look at the points at which diminishing returns occur – in other words the bands within which any further spend will only generate limited further reach of the target audience. At this point we start to build frequency – and we need to understand the campaign goals to know how much to continue investing beyond this point in the campaign. This is often where we build in a break before starting a new burst.
7. Monitor and review
Once your campaign timings are set and your budgets are allocated and agreed, don’t stop looking at ways to increase efficiency. What was right in the planning cycle might not be right now. It’s important to be able to bend and show flexibility of tweaks need to be made. Campaign goals should always be constantly monitored, and changes made to improve the success of the campaign. Once the campaign has then ended, review the activity and agree what can be done to improve the next campaign.
8. Test and learn
Every campaign is an opportunity to learn. It is also a chance to test new things. Budgets should regularly be approved to new channels if they’ve been researched and are likely to deliver a return. By saying we only advertise on X because we know X works, means that you could be losing out on Y which might also work, and might deliver especially well with X to drive better combined results.