Cyril Daoud is the CEO of Hoppr, a global advertising innovator whose technology extends messaging and branding on digital devices.
One of the golden rules of advertising is to never ask a question; the audience could say no.
That’s why, for decades, TV advertising has been dominated by messaging that seeks to appeal to the widest possible audience or targets a niche group, very rarely seeking to engage individual members of the crowd with anything specific.
This approach has been very lucrative, but ultimately it’s meant most TV ads have been impersonal to the audience. And with the rise of digital technology, ads have never been easier to skip, block or avoid.
But something fundamental is changing in TV marketing, rewriting the golden rules of advertising and reshaping the way audiences interact with their screens. The kind of digital advertising pioneered online, presenting individual audience members with messaging tailored to their interests, is now available for television. Not only can TV advertisers now confidently ask audience members the right questions, but they can also anticipate the answers.
This is creating advertising that’s impossible to ignore, skip or block — because audiences actually want to watch it. And it proves that advertising is not only still relevant, but it’s going to drive the TV industry’s revenues forward like never before.
Audiences Skip Ads They Don’t Like
Research commissioned by Deloitte has found that 86% of TV viewers skip ads on their DVRs. This is a problem for advertisers, who pay good money to display their messages on TV and expect a return on investment through audience attention.
In a time when revenue from TV advertising is falling sharply, this is even more concerning. Variety is reporting that the impact of the coronavirus could cause revenue from advertising in “linear” media, including TV, to drop as much as 20% in 2020.
It’s crucial that TV ads are effective, so how can they be improved?
Show Them What They Love
Research by eMarketer shows that audiences tend to skip ads because they feel the messages are intrusive, annoying or irrelevant. On the flip side, the Deloitte-commissioned research also found that audiences find the most memorable marketing medium to be TV ads — and that their favorite form of advertising was the traditional 30-second TV commercial.
EMarketer’s analysis found that TV broadcasters that deliver ads that feel personal would be preferred over those who don’t. So the message from the audience is clear: Create ads that engage them personally, and they’ll stop skipping.
The TV Screen Is Now A Mirror
In the past, TV advertisers paid millions of dollars to market researchers to perform exhaustive surveys that would indicate who would buy their products and who wouldn’t. These days, this kind of information can be gathered much more swiftly and cheaply through aggregating information about audience habits by digital means.
This digital edge has until recently been the domain of online advertisers, who combine this unparalleled level of insight with technologies that deliver highly targeted, interactive ads at individuals. This has sucked revenues away from traditionally linear advertisers like TV, with research by Accenture indicating many brands expect to devote almost 50% of their marketing budget on digital ads.
But TV is now getting into the game with digital solutions that offer the same insights, measurements and relevance. This is far different from the linear ads played before, during and after a program, like in traditional free-to-air, where the advertiser buys a spot hoping to reach a potential customer. Programmatic TV leverages the insights and flexibility of digital to deliver ads audiences will engage with, because they are personal.
The Future Of Advertising Is Here
Programmatic TV will represent a third of global TV ad revenue by 2021, according to research by PwC. This is because TV has finally embraced the techniques and technologies of digital advertising so it can reclaim its place as the No. 1 advertising space. The slide in ad revenue triggered by the coronavirus is unfortunate. But if the sector continues to adapt to changing conditions through using programmatic TV advertising, with its corresponding analytics and measurement capabilities, to offer value to advertisers, then that lost ground will be regained.
Best of all, by unlocking the power of digital insights and interactivity, TV advertisers will serve better, more relevant ads to audiences. This will usher in a new era of advertising where the TV will be a complete entertainment and information system, perfectly in tune with the needs and wants of every one of its audience members.
Engaging With Programmatic TV
There are a growing number of programmatic TV providers worldwide tapping into this new way of advertising. But whether you are a brand looking for a new marketing style, a network seeking new revenue streams or a viewer looking for a better experience, there are three fundamental elements to look for when choosing a programmatic service:
1. Flexible: A quality programmatic TV service should offer the ability to display a range of advertising styles — everything from in-program messaging to ads within program menus. It’s not enough to simply collect information about the audience and tailor the ads. The way the ads are delivered is crucial, so the service must have flexible display options.
2. Interactive: Quality programmatic TV services allow the audience to give feedback above and beyond what they watch or switch off. By offering an interactive and even customizable experience that supports feedback, the service increases enjoyment and provides a more effective platform.
3. Transparent: Programmatic TV collects data on audiences, so it’s vital that this process is as transparent as possible. This ensures information accuracy and security is protected and privacy is respected. Choose a service that is upfront about its processes so you can make an informed decision about interactions.
Audiences have been telling TV advertisers for years that if they make the right kind of ads, they will watch them. Finally, we have the technology to make this a true reality — and it’s going to be a show well worth watching.
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