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TV Advertising: With So Many Options, Why Choose One?

By Kayla Varga

Senior Media Strategist

While TV is still one of the most popular and effective forms of advertising, many agencies are pushing media dollars down avenues of the digital variety, in order to keep up with ever-evolving consumer trends. However, what if we were able to capture a television and digital audience at once? What a concept, right? By running in television programs streamed across multiple devices, advertisers can capture a larger, more “on-the-go” audience, rather than possibly missing the boat by only purchasing live, first-run programming.

Year over year, consumers are paying top dollar for quality television packages in their homes. But what has changed over the last few years is that consumers can now catch their favorite shows OnDemand, on the provider and streaming sites, or right there on the cable network website. The number of viewers tuning in across platforms has increased in the last five years and with this comes the perfect opportunity to capture the attention of the new group: the binge-watchers.

Neilsen is rolling with the tides, totaling up audiences across devices and platforms. Neilsen’s Cross-Platform Report provides access to “video viewing behavior across platforms; device penetration; TV content delivery methods; and viewing habits by age, ethnicity and gender.” Because we have access to this consumer information being pulled from different mediums, we can find opportunity gaps in our media schedules and now reach these audiences with pre-roll and banner placements. For example, imagine your ideal viewer is watching the big game, and in the middle they need to leave for the night shift. The long commute ensues, and they tune back in on their public transport route, via mobile device. You may have missed connecting with this viewer, because your ad schedule is only running on live TV. By taking advantage of cross-platform opportunities, many of which can be purchased as packages and cover a larger footprint, you will be on-the-go with your target audience.

Below is a breakdown of where the consumer is getting their information today, including which devices are regularly being used to watch television.

Source: Neilsen

Many companies are taking note, and making adjustments in what they can offer in terms of advertising opportunities. We know that we can run pre-roll, we have banners strategically placed, but every day there is a new angle or way to reach target demographics.

AT&T, who recently acquired DirecTV, in collaboration with Opera Mediaworks, has rolled out a new ad platform (being tested by three unnamed Fortune 500 companies) that will allow the same ad campaign to run across television and mobile. They are able to target specific households, and when a consumer switches from their television to their mobile device, they are able to run their ads there as well. "Integrated marketing across TV, smartphones and tablets puts influential new tools in the hands of brands and agencies. They can now tell a seamless story to their target audiences at home and on the go," said Mahi de Silva, CEO of Opera Mediaworks, in a statement. And as de Silva stated, this is exactly how brands can take advantage of this type of viewing environment.

As a binge-watcher and media agency team member, I have often thought about when I am most likely to really hear and notice the ads strewn across my daily life and how we can integrate viewer habits, such as mine, into client media plans. If I am traveling, I know I am guilty of streaming TV shows through my car speakers, much like a book on tape. If I have to wait at the airport picking someone up, then I’m streaming. With an internet connection just about anywhere we go now, why plan our television advertising as though the only place to view is in our living room?

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Kayla Varga

Senior Media Strategist