The TV Emperor: Clothed, Nude Or Wearing A Speedo?

jayfriedman_tv"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Jay Friedman, COO at Goodway Group.

I spent the first 10 years of my career in traditional media. The past 10 have been in digital. When I made the transition I was astounded by the double standard to which marketers held digital compared to its traditional media counterparts. That double standard has only grown worse over the years.

Marketers used to say, “Well, if I can’t measure my digital down to a sale, I might as well do TV.” While this was mostly due to ignorance, part of it was simply that we could measure digital – but not TV. Now we are entering a stage where we’ll be able to see if TV advertising is really as effective as many assumed because everything will be able to be measured. Everything.

Is the TV emperor fully clothed, wearing a birthday suit or walking around uncomfortable but legally covered?

Here is what I see potentially coming in the next two to three years.

‘I Can’t Believe I Said That’

Has anyone ever asked you, “What’s the last TV commercial you remember seeing? OK. What about a banner ad? Ah ha! See? You don’t! We have banner blindness! They don’t work!”

These people are about to feel a bit silly. This isn’t in defense of digital, this is simply a matter of neurology, economics and exposure.

The studies show that just because we don’t consciously remember something doesn’t mean it didn’t impact us. And just because we do consciously remember it doesn’t mean it created the behavior the marketer desired. There are many brands that have much more memorable TV creative than their competitors yet are still behind in market share.

In terms of economics, your $5 CPM banner doesn’t work as well as your $35 CPM TV spot. That’s likely true. However, if we averaged the performance of banners versus TV spots across multiple verticals and campaigns, I bet banners work somewhere near 14.28% (5/$35) as well. As inefficient as our markets can seem to be at times, the broader markets tend to work remarkably well.

When considering exposure, one medium is not better than another. Each medium has advantages it brings given the objective, product and creative message. You may have seen this “BMW Checkmate” outdoor execution. This was a powerful message that couldn’t have been achieved in any other medium. The right exposure in the right medium for the right message is what creates a powerful combination.

‘Between Fraud And Viewability, Digital Has Too Many Problems’

For now, fraud is mostly unique to digital. However, with 1,500 channels available on Roku and “TV” now coming to mean more than just a large screen in your living room, it’s not too much of a stretch to see fraud coming to TV as well. And remember, the bad guys don’t just rip you off on their own apps and channels, they rip you off by sending fake traffic to legitimate channels to build a profile that looks good enough to avoid being blocked once it hits their app. Sticking to name-brand channels will not keep you immune.

Whereas I think the emperor will come out wearing some form of clothing in most of these cases, I think he will be 100% naked once TV viewability data is exposed. Eighty percent of homes have DVR or streaming video-on-demand service and 74% of those skip ads. We will all need to agree that ads that are skipped are not viewed. I predict that overall, TV viewability will be essentially no different than digital when accurately measured.

The Ability To Measure

It’s been about 65 years now that TV buyers have been able to sign an insertion order, let the media run, ensure their ratings post and move on to the next buy. TV buyers are busy, to be sure, but through no fault of their own they’ve not been held accountable.

While only available to the largest advertisers today, I believe the process of tying TV – even linear – back to offline and online purchases will be democratized within the next three years. Every buy in every channel other than traditional out-of-home will have a measurement cycle where a minimum ROAS level is expected. Current broadcast buyers must learn this way of thinking.

Fewer Are Watching, And GRP Goals Are Inefficient

When Nielsen moved from diaries to local people meters, ratings fell 30% to 40% just by changing the measurement methodology. What we realized was that ratings didn’t fall, the measurement was just more accurate. Despite improvements in accuracy, TV is still not nearly as accurate as digital, and this will be demanded. Improved accuracy will continue to right-size eyes-on audiences, and marketers will finally realize that achieving communication goals against broad demographic audiences is inefficient and conceivably impossible with budgets that don’t grow as fast as the audience size shrinks.

Seeing and discussing the latest in TV buying and measurement over the last two weeks at AdExchanger’s Omni.Digital and DMEXCO conferences has helped to paint a clearer picture that we will soon be able to measure TV with the same effectiveness and precision that we do in digital. This will be a storm like we’ve never seen. Agencies, local station affiliates and marketers that put up the same proverbial storm boards they did during the last one will find this protection insufficient.

And by all means, please do put up better storm boards. There’s a half-nude emperor wandering around out there.

Follow Jay Friedman (@jaymfriedman) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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