Transforming TV Advertising For An Online World

Transforming TV Advertising For An Online World
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The television advertising industry is undergoing some dramatic changes, and most people know that online has something to do with it.

If you are involved in broadcast advertising but not actively investigating these changes, you might be behind the curve.

The Lure of Online

Yes, television still plays a major role in advertising. We don’t need to tell you that TV ads do an outstanding job in capturing the attention of consumers, and that market research over the years have shown that audiences perceive TV ads as highly credible, and pay more attention to ads on TV.

But at the same time, consumers have changed their behaviour, moving in droves over to portable devices. Consider the following:

  • Millward Brown’s Adreaction report shows the average Australian spends a total of 271 minutes on smartphones, laptops and tablets, versus 125 minutes watching the telly daily
  • A recent Bank of America survey found 76 percent of smartphone users consider their mobile devices significantly more valuable than TV. Also, 79 percent of the survey respondents would give up alcohol or chocolate to regain access to their mobile phone.
  • Experts and researchers say digital screens and devices trigger primal brain wiring and powerful social/dopamine reward mechanisms, making them habit-forming and potentially addictive.

It’s clear that this is a time of change. So what are some things TV ad production people can do to adapt to these changes?

Retain TV, but Expand To Online

Online, just as it has affected print, is having a big impact on TV. Make no mistake, the TV market is still healthy and growing: ZenithOptimedia predicts a 5.2% growth in global TV ad spend between 2013 and 2014. But according to Gartner, mobile ad spend is expected to increase by almost $5 billion in 2014. That’s a market that advertisers and agencies ignore at their own peril.

Broadcasters, on their part are embracing the challenge of online video. They are moving to fold tablet and phone viewership into their own business models, via value-added experiences, and playback services.

Online, visually rich forms of media like video have been shown to be highly shareable, providing engagement levels that blow traditional banner ads out of the water.

For agencies and studios with a good base in traditional TV ad production processes, this presents a great window of opportunity to think about how they can apply their capabilities and processes to expand into online offerings, like extended versions of TVCs for online viewing, behind-the-scenes footage, short films or video display advertising.

Understand Multiscreen Behaviour

While the recent Australian Multiscreen Report by OzTam found that Australians are spending more time watching TV than they did a year ago, they are complementing their viewing of TV and other video by using Internet connected devices.

Even when we are watching TV, we are often engaging with another screen simultaneously. Surveys of consumer behaviour found that 71% of the time, people using multiple screens are looking at unrelated content – usually to fill the time during TV ad breaks, or to multi-task on social media.

Even so, there is a degree of migration between screens. Notably, consumers tend to visit a brand’s website or Facebook page if it is featured on a TV ad that they are interested in, and they show an interest in supplementary online content such as behind the scenes footage and other extras that support a TVC.

We need to consider these multiscreen habits, and find ways to engage with consumers as they navigate the narrowing divide between online and TV, as well as find ways to analyse the successes of campaigns.

Deeper Insights from Social Media

We have people live-tweeting their way through television programs, but the jury is still out on whether social media integration is really such a big thing for advertisements.

That said, it’s great to have viewers who are publicly advertising their engagement with the content in real time. This is a real opportunity to improve our audience insight by analysing these social media sentiments. It can also help us build some good ideas for cross-media campaigns.

Are your broadcast and social media departments playing nice together? Also consider forming partnerships with program streaming providers, and see what insights can be gained by combining the expertise from both areas.

Hard Sells Fall Short

Now that consumers are no longer a “captive audience”, the traditional 15 or 30 second hard selling, over-produced ads are far less effective. This is especially true on the Internet, where cynicism rules the day.

The new generation of connected audiences don’t really mind advertising – IF you do it on their terms, and successfully engage and entertain them at the same time. Hence the effectiveness of cross-media advertising campaigns and longer form narrative videos. Case in point: the popularity of half-time Superbowl ads.

The age-old secrets of advertising still apply in the digital world:

  • authenticity
  • entertainment
  • engagement
  • information

What This Means For Advertising Production

The demand for longer form videos online means a greater focus on the creative and production processes, possibly having to work with a greater variety of crew to attain the required production values.

The need for authenticity means brands need to define their visual style – putting a renewed focus on things like camera work and colour grading, and the emotions they evoke.

Multiscreen and cross-media campaigns mean agencies need to encourage teamwork across traditionally siloed departments. Print, TV, radio and online need to work together, and establish the content and technological links that allow audiences to seamlessly flow from one form of media to another.

This post originally appeared on Dubsat’s blog and has been syndicated with permission.

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