Not So Fast: Linear TV Remains Vital to Advertising Success

This article is provided by New York Interconnect.

In 2017, digital drew more ad dollars than television for the first time – generating $209 billion worldwide compared to $178 billion for TV, according to MAGNA.

But in the rush to capitalize on the perceived advantages of digital advertising, brands are ignoring some important facts – namely that TV is still where audiences spend the majority of their time.

In many ways, TV has never been more important for strong brand campaigns primarily due to its proven ability to reach audiences with high impact, targeted messaging. According to a Video Advertising Bureau survey, TV still accounts for 80% of total video viewing for adults 18+ and these adults continue to watch almost 5.5 hours of video daily.

With all of this confusion regarding TV’s veritable value proposition, here are three common misconceptions to reconsider when evaluating the proper role for TV in successful ad campaigns with stellar ROI.

1. Myth: No One Watches TV Anymore. While cord cutting has accelerated, linear watching is nowhere near the point of collapse. Live and time-shifted viewing still has a weekly reach of 87% of adults, and 77% of TV households are still traditional cable homes, according to the 2018 Q2 Nielsen Total Audience Report. In the NY market alone, 42% of adults 18+ spend most of their media time watching TV.

“Viewers are still following their favorite programs on their TV, and they’re still getting it through their TV,” said Jason Swartz, VP of Advanced Advertising at New York Interconnect, a joint venture between Altice, Charter and Comcast. “In the New York market for example, viewers might be using a Roku platform or Apple TV, but they eventually log into their Spectrum app or other provider apps to consume the same content that a traditional set-top box would also have access to.”

While live linear TV faces growing viewership competition, TV advertising can still achieve scale by complementing these ad buys with live streaming and video-on-demand to reach every audience member in their preferred location and on their favorite device. In fact, according to a 2018 Clutch study, 58% of consumers still prefer ads on TV more than any other medium.

2. Myth: TV Can’t Match the Granular Targeting of Digital. Buying against pre-defined generic TV (or digital) demographics has innate flaws. But the introduction of addressable TV and audience-based buying practices is helping advertisers harness viewership data in new, powerful ways – many of which achieve the same (or more precise) audience targeting capabilities than digital, without the ad fraud and brand safety concerns.

The key? Access to proprietary set-top box data, which has the ability to offer more accurate data at a much bigger scale, particularly when referencing a major market like New York. Buyers who have access to these valuable data points can help advertisers unlock a wealth of deeper insights based on real, authentic viewership behavior.

“At NYI, our set-top box data is not modeled, it is census level and it is the day-to-day information coming back through the box from over 6 million households,” Swartz said. “This goes way beyond what has historically been possible with TV, and it opens the door for brands to allocate ad buys to maximize reach and index, without wasted ad spend. Plus, additional third-party data can refine segmentation and optimize campaign delivery.”

3. Myth: TV Doesn’t Have the Back-End Reporting to Prove ROI. While TV advertising outcomes used to be difficult to measure, the interconnectedness of TV with other data points—including digital and online indicators – brings new visibility to conversion analytics and attribution.

Attribution reports, location data reports, website visits and tune-in conversions give buyers and media planners new ways to evaluate campaigns, moving beyond simple GRPs to measure the specific actions brands hope to drive with their ad spend.

“It’s incredible what attribution reports offer media buyers. Automotive brands, for example, can not only learn, definitively, whether a person walked through the dealership doors, but also whether or not they purchased the vehicle,” Swartz said.

Using resources like geo targeting and vehicle registrations offer media providers like NYI, the robust data marketers need to determine accurate ROI.

Ultimately, the biggest myth of all might be the premise that digital and TV need to compete in the first place. According to a study by Analytic Partners, brands that use both together often achieve the strongest results – increasing ROI by an average of 60%.

“Because of our partnerships with MVPDs, we can offer set-top box and IP targeting to households directly through the provider, which is the most precise targeting on the market. So, the argument isn’t that brands don’t need digital, it’s that brands need to engage customers wherever they are,” Swartz said.

By taking an audience-first approach, brands can create comprehensive multi-screen media strategies that capture attention, amplify key messages and generate strong results.

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