TV advertising is still mistakenly seen by some as an expensive, wasteful medium – and a dying one, at that. Misconceptions abound, but as Google smoulders in the embers of the recent misplaced ads fiasco, it’s important that we debunk these myths once and for all. Because when it comes to ensuring brand safety, there’s no better option than television.
With YouTube’s newly revamped advertising policies and plans for 3rd party reporting drawing a lukewarm response from brands, it’s becoming clear that the tech giant is going to have to do a lot more to atone for the lack of responsibility that has resulted in ads appearing alongside some extremely inappropriate content.
Fastened on to this controversy is a recent study by Ebiquity, which found that 60% of digital programmatic spend is wasted on ‘fraud, lack of viewability and non-human traffic’; further inflaming the debate around transparency and accountability within the online advertising sphere.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course; it simply boils down to how much work your digital agency is willing to put in to ensure brand safety is guaranteed. Yet, the fact we find ourselves here is a damning indictment on the culture that permeates much of the industry as a whole. For TV broadcasters and agencies, it’s an opportunity to be more proactive in promoting television’s credentials.
So, where do we start? Well, one of the key reasons the TV advertising market has remained so strong despite the rise of new media is the brand safety it offers. This is the byproduct of TV planning agencies working closely with broadcasters to ensure that airtime is being allocated to the right channels, at the right times, and within the right types of programming.
To guarantee accountability, brands are updated on a weekly – even daily – basis with up-to-the-minute scheduling reports. These reports detail precisely where individual TV spots have been allocated, creating a relationship built on transparency that, in turn, fosters trust and confidence. Should an advertiser be dissatisfied with the positioning of a spot, the agency will liaise with the broadcaster to quickly find a solution. Brands can keep tabs on when and where spots have aired at all times, with their own online login access to campaign tracking software.
With 66% of UK adults citing TV as the medium most likely to make a brand famous, the prestige and consumer trust delivered by the small screen is another string to its bow.
The quality of programming now accessible to businesses, coupled with the stringent pre-approval processes that largely safeguard advertisers against causing offence and damaging reputations, means that companies showcasing their product or service are cast in a light that, more than any other media, succeeds in cultivating positive, memorable engagement between brand and audience.
The planning procedures implemented by TV agencies – particularly by those of a smaller, independent and more agile disposition – are rooted in a hands-on, diligent approach. Airtime can be booked just days before the launch of a campaign, and can be amended quickly should the real-time insights being gathered suggest changes are necessary. Such nimble planning and buying allows brands to take advantage of new opportunities, without having to commit entire budgets in a leap of faith.
Software is used to track and analyse the impact of every TV spot that is aired, enabling the likes of Guerillascope to optimise advertising activity around the best performing ad creatives, channels, days of the week, hours and programming.
With TV accounting for nearly 70% of the average individual’s daily total video consumption – compared to 3.5% for YouTube, a figure that rises only to 7.5% when focusing specifically on the 16-24 age group – the value of advertising on the platform is often overblown.
The reasons for this are obvious, with TV’s stubborn refusal to become less effective for brands seen as a significant obstacle to the digital environment superseding it as the dominant marketing platform in this new, hyper-connected age.
Television is now 30% less expensive than it was a decade ago, with research from Thinkbox and ITV revealing how one view of an average 30-second spot now costs the advertiser just half a penny. In fact, our own investigations based on official BARB data suggests that around 60% of all commercial airtime is completely free-of-charge!
All of this – coupled with the ever-evolving capacity to target specific audience groups and geographical areas – means that businesses of all sizes can test the waters, learn from results, and build their brand with scale.
The technological reboot of how we interact with the world around us has created a multiscreening consumer market that has, in turn, transformed TV into a point-of-sale medium – one that makes other media channels (including online) work harder. According to Thinkbox, take TV out of the marketing mix and the performance of paid search drops by 33%, affiliate referrals by 20%, Facebook by 33% and online display by 26%. Web visits fall by an average of 29%.
And finally, far from being an outdated monolith, television has evolved, with broadcast VoD platforms such as All4 and ITV Hub widening the reach and enhancing the engagement opportunities offered by traditional linear TV. Factor in new software innovations such as Sky’s Adsmart and Advance platforms, and Channel 4’s Pl4Y initiative, then the folly of claiming that TV advertising is a dying medium becomes clear. The average UK adult is still watching 2 hours 38 minutes of commercial TV and 45 ads a day, after all…
Ultimately, TV advertisers have never had it better: cost-effective, targeted and integrated campaign strategies built on transparency and measurable insights. Google and YouTube have a lot to do.