Forget the Rule of 7: It’s Time to Reduce Ad Repetition

On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is by Valerie Bischak, general manager and head of growth at Amobee

Most advertisers have heard of “The Rule of 7.” For an advertising message to stick with consumers, they must hear it a minimum of seven times.

While that sentiment may still ring true to some extent, redundancy in advertising can actually ruin consumers’ modern-day viewing experiences. Consider the last time you watched a show or movie on your favorite ad-supported streaming platform. How many times did you see the same ad? And how many times have you seen the same ad across other platforms and on other devices? The number is probably higher than you’d care to admit.

Earlier this year, Samba TV research revealed that airing ads too many times to reach desired audiences may be costing brands billions of dollars. But ads are the lifeblood of many TV platforms and streaming services. Advertisers cannot afford to lose on such a massive scale. 

In short, it’s time to forget about the “Rule of 7.”

Understanding the consumer

People consume content over a myriad of platforms and devices, even when dealing with the singular medium of TV. Data continues to play an integral part in advertising with identifying, locating and catering to the audience. 

However, with CTV, linear TV and digital, there are sometimes three or four different ways one person can watch one program. Gone are the days of one-time aired programming. Consumers are no longer siloed into one singular viewing experience, and the ads that reach them should not be either. 

As consumer viewing options have evolved, advertising options have remained the same, with companies buying up ad space for each stream individually. The result? Audiences are bombarded with repeated ads four or five times in the same sitting. Instead of reaching multiple audiences in your target, you’re reaching one an unnecessary number of times. This wastes money and creates a poor viewing experience.

Reduced repetition through data and technology 

Repetition is not a data problem. Advertisers know who they are targeting, what they’re tuning in to and how to sell to them. But data alone doesn’t get the advertiser all the way there. The magic happens at the intersection of data and technology. While data enables advertisers to reach their desired viewers, technology can maximize reach and control frequency against these most desired audiences. 

Consider this: If a brand buys ad space on ABC as well as ABC content on Hulu, is there a way to verify unique impressions across platforms? Can ad frequency be controlled so that individuals are not seeing the same ad over and over again? Yes, if data is combined with investment decisioning technology that optimizes incremental reach and manages frequency. 

When data silos are unified across all streams, it becomes possible to manage the frequency and maximize the reach of ads. In order for brands and media buyers to drive growth in today’s fragmented media industry, they must have a grasp on content consumption habits, understand duplication overlap and unify their video investments holistically so effective optimization can happen.

Only then will they find success in reaching their audiences effectively and cost-efficiently. 

Follow Amobee (@amobee) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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