"On TV and Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Jayant Kadambi, co-founder and CEO at YuMe.
Once upon a time not so long ago, summer TV was considered a dead zone, with only a wilderness of reruns and game shows to pass the time until September, when the good stuff is back on the air.
Those times are long gone. In the upcoming weeks, content players, including TV networks, prestigious cable outfits and popular over-the-air mainstays, will continue to debut big-budget shows they hope will capture the attention of viewers during the hot months. Some observers, however, are paying less attention to what’s on screen than what screen it’s on. The real battle, they say, isn’t between shows, but between linear TV and connected TV for the heart of American viewers.
It’s true that the two are at odds with each other in several ways, such as competing for budgets between separate agency media teams. There is, however, an untapped opportunity for these two platforms to work in tandem to achieve success for advertisers. Although linear TV is still a valuable way to reach a massive audience, for example, adding connected TV ad placements can increase incremental reach, making ad dollars work harder.
Consumers tuning in to linear TV and connected TV are not mutually exclusive. Advertisers running campaigns across both have the opportunity to reach consumers across both platforms, which can drive brand metrics. A recent ad effectiveness study from Interpret demonstrated that consumers who were exposed to the same ad on both showed nearly 70% higher brand consideration than those exposed on linear TV alone.
This doesn’t discount the staying power, audience reach and impact of linear TV. With the number of US households with pay TV subscriptions topping 116.4 million, or 84% of all Americans, this is hard to beat when it comes to sheer volume. Linear TV also benefits from established and trusted measurement tools like Nielsen, a step that is only recently being taken for connected TV.
There is also convergence between connected and linear TV formats. ESPN is streaming more content than ever for cable-endowed connected TV users, while linear TV marketers are increasingly turning to technology-driven tools, such as programmatic advertising and ad insertion. These innovations are driving a more dynamic approach to linear TV targeting, ultimately improving advertisers’ ability to reach their targeted audiences across all screens.
The convergence is undeniable, as is the subtle but discernable shift in how people consume content. Consumers who only watch linear TV are obviously unreachable by connected TV. Likewise, consumers who have cut the cord are completely unreachable on linear TV. But this latter group is growing, particularly among millennials. An integrated approach can ensure marketers don’t lose sight of this shifting but desirable demographic.
Sizing Them Up
So how can the apples of connected TV be compared to the oranges of linear TV?
As a best practice, advertisers should approach measuring connected TV and linear TV by executing a brand study from a third-party ad effectiveness vendor. Often, linear TV and connected TV are evaluated separately, using different metrics as success factors. This is a result of linear TV and connected TV typically being bought by different teams or departments within an organization.
Using an ad effectiveness brand study, advertisers can compare the two platforms side by side and focus on big-picture impact, including growth in awareness, consideration and intent, rather than just evaluating impressions delivery, GRPs and video completions.
The truth is that both linear and connected TV can drive consumer attention and complement each other. Marketers know that linear TV is often a critical component to a successful brand campaign. But we also know that linear TV inventory is guaranteed and scarce. Connected TV can offer opportunities to pick up relatively affordable impressions that capture hard-to-reach younger viewers, as well as compensate for existing scarcity in a given television market.
Multiple touch points are a good thing. Making an impression on two platforms, linear and connected TV, is better than just one.