“Television advertising revenue was up 7.1% in January 2018 according the the latest stats from the Standard Media Index. While that’s certainly not bad news—the boost was largely fueled by advertisers spending more on live events like the NFL playoffs and Golden Globes—the industry is far from out of the woods.
While TV ad revenue was up, so was digital ad revenue—up 16.8%, more than double TV’s rise. More troubling still, social media ad spending was up 42%, with Facebook alone up 55%…What’s crazy is that this shouldn’t be happening, at least not to the degree it is. People may be watching much less linear television, but overall, the number of people watching actual ad-supported TV shows (as opposed to digital video) across all platforms is up.
So what gives?
Show Us The Numbers
The beauty of digital advertising, at least to the brand managers who are ultimately tasked with determining ad budgets, is that it is all about numbers. They know exactly who saw the ad. Where they saw it. What they did next. Whether they eventually bought anything remotely like the product.
On TV, they know the ad ran.
That’s because TV isn’t delivered digitally. Or wasn’t—thanks to everything from smart TVs to connected devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV et al) to mobile, it’s a lot more digital than people realize. And therein lies the opportunity: take advantage of all that digitally viewed television to create the sort of data that the people who are buying the ads want.
TV Fights Back
Now that TV has reached a point where much of what’s being viewed is, at some level, digital, the industry is starting to fight back. As I discussed here last week, ACR (Automated Content Recognition) data from smart TVs is capable of providing second-by-second metrics as to which shows and ads viewers are watching.
Pioneering companies are now taking that data and combining it with IP-based metrics to provide multitouch attribution—a complex view of the effect that TV advertising has on the purchase funnel. Their goal is to provide advertisers with the data they need to prove what they long could tell by observation: TV advertising drives sales. (The fact that much TV advertising is “brand advertising” e.g., designed to make viewers feel good about the brand in general versus selling a specific product, is something multitouch attribution algorithms have already taken into account.)
And while it may sound a little invasive and creepy, the digital advertising world has been doing this for years, which is why all those brand managers are giving all their money to Google and Facebook: they rely on the Duopoly to target and track the people who see the ads and inform them of the results.
Now it’s TV’s turn to get in on that action.
More To Come
There’s a lot more to come as TV goes digital. Programmatic buying, for instance, looks very different in a world where there are a finite number of options, all of relatively similar quality. (Versus the internet, with its seemingly infinite supply of websites, all of vastly differing quality.)
There’s the evolution of systems that track how much of the messaging viewers retain, how much they remember: it’s long been the television industry’s contention that context matters, that ads seen on TV create a stronger emotional connection with viewers, who, in the correct circumstances, expect to see and even welcome the ads, all of which makes them more effective, particularly for branding.
Finally, of course, there’s the most important metric of all: a universally accepted standard for measuring viewership across all the devices and platforms on which TV is currently being viewed. That’s less about accuracy, oddly enough, and more about getting all the players—networks, platforms, brands, MVPDs and ad agencies—to agree to a single currency that everyone can transact off of … and then holding digital video and its three-second “views” accountable to that same currency.
A Place For Everyone
Television advertising isn’t always better than digital or social advertising—there’s a place for all three (plus print and radio and now voice) in most marketing plans.”