Old habits die hard. After 40 years of doing things a certain way, broadcast advertising professionals have a well-defined comfort zone: Develop the spot, deliver the assets to the networks, reach as many viewers as possible, and get data from publishers. That's just how it's done, and with nearly 70 billion in advertising dollars being spent on broadcast each year in the U.S. alone, why mess with a good thing? Why not just let the people down the hall worry about the online end of the campaign?
The answer is two-fold. First, there is a lot to be gained from changing the broadcast mindset to consider a more holistic view of the video world -- because the medium is video, even if there are multiple pipelines to bring it to your audience. Maintaining a narrow focus on TV not only prevents clients from exploiting everything online has to offer, namely measurability, interactivity, laser-like targeting, and unbiased data -- it can also make for an inefficient spend. Sure, rolling a TV asset onto a smaller screen keeps things simple, but it leaves a lot of opportunity on the table.
Second, while the biggest budgets remain in the broadcast realm, consumers are heading online in droves.
The good news is that it won't take a huge revolution or business reorganization for the TV minds to start thinking a little more like online minds. It just takes a broader perspective. The end result will be campaigns that utilize each and every screen to its unique and full potential -- and follow consumers where they spend their time.
One brief for everybody
Agency personnel should lay out goals and parameters for campaigns with every screen in mind -- considering all the possibilities before production begins so that assets can be developed for easy adaptation. For example, creative teams who are envisioning both TV and online for a spot are more likely pitch concepts that lend themselves to engagement beyond sight, sound and motion. What concept will leave room for interactivity? How could a user play with this ad? Where will the touch points be? Thinking this way from the beginning results in a video asset that is optimized for broadcast, yet readily adapted to the interactive world. The transition is smoother for production teams, and the result is something that really wows users and drives performance.
Thoughtfully incorporating online placements into your big picture media plan can save you money and refine your targeting. Let's say your target is 24 to 34 year-old males. Your TV buy will include the usual (very expensive) network suspects, but look online, and you have a lot more options, many of them surprisingly cost-effective ways to buy the same audience. And while many TV buyers assume CPMs are higher online than for TV, the fact is that many niche sites and exchanges can give you the GRP you're looking for, at a lot lower cost, along with other metrics that provide additional intelligence. Bottom line: Don't make the online portion of the buy an afterthought. Look at TV and online as one big audience, and then carve it up to get the most from your client's budget.
You could be optimizing
Instant performance feedback, unlimited variability, and one-on-one targeting are hallmarks of online advertising. Why not put them to work for your TV campaign? A/B testing online lets you test-drive your TV spots. That's something even the most hardened broadcast veteran can get on board with.
The online format also offers virtually unlimited targeting power you can't get offline. Tools for dynamic creative optimization allow for very personal targeting based on user demographics, behavior, and position within the buying funnel. Frequency capping is another plus -- online you can limit impressions to avoid overkill -- something you can't control on TV. Building TV-online media plans and campaigns from day one to take advantage of these capabilities gives you the best shot at reaching the right audience with the right message.
Own it, you'll love it
When agencies can start looking at TV and online as two dishes from the same video ingredients, everyone benefits -- in terms of costs, workflows, and overall campaign performance. When everyone is working together from the get-go, assets will work harder online, be more suitable for engagement, and be just plain easier to find and access by online personnel.
The take-home is this: If agency professionals can develop some new habits, own all sides of every asset, and think of themselves as video professionals instead of TV or online specialists, everyone -- especially advertisers -- wins. So, when you plan your next TV campaign, why don't you go next door to your online colleagues and share your plans with them? You might end up doing wonders for your client.
Boaz Ram is senior manager of video product marketing at MediaMind.
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