TV Spends – The Butterfly Effect

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is a concept, that small causes can have large effects. It essentially means a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, in which a small change could result in large differences, at a later stage.

We have often witnessed the butterfly effect in action in television advertising and the money spent on TV ads. TV media communication has been credited for driving reach in the short run and uplift in brand scores in the long run for advertisers. For years, this criterion has been a benchmark for evaluating crores of advertising money spent on television advertisings. However, off late, there has been a change in mindset towards evaluating the impact of television advertising and the money spent on it. More so, media has now switched from being just a carrier of communication to being the last mile closure platform, that can determine how a consumer is reacting and interacting with a brand.

The advertising world is undergoing a shift as marketers get to grips with digital media. According to research by eMarketer, last year, Britain became the first country in the world where spending on digital ads exceeded the spent on all other forms of advertising put together. The always-on, fast-paced nature of the internet and fuelling mobile growth in India has forced marketers to up their game. This rapid state of the internet world and the advent of low data cost and low priced smartphones has initiated a fresh perspective amongst advertisers to measure the return on TV spends.

Global market reports say that 2017 is projected to be the year, when digital will surpass TV to become No. 1 in total U.S. media spend. This is not surprising when you consider the seismic shift in channel consumption and tectonic transition in advertising accountability.

From a consumer perspective, U.S. TV audiences are down 11% this year and 87% of viewers use another device while watching the big screen. From a marketer’s perspective, the percentage of decisions made using analytics is up 22% in the past year, with 80% of companies now able to demonstrate the impact of marketing spending.

According to the Millward Brown AdReaction 2014 study, a typical multiscreen user (defined as people who own, or have access to a TV and a smartphone and/or tablet) in India consumes around six hours 24 minutes of screen media daily. This is driven mainly by a high usage of smartphones (162 minutes).

Of the total time screens are viewed, ‘shifting’ between individual screens throughout the day remains the dominant form of screen use, at 69 per cent of screen time. This fact points to the huge multiscreen opportunity in India. Simultaneous use of an additional screen with TV accounts for 31 per cent (91 minutes or 1 hour 31 minutes) of the time, thus leading to the fact that almost the entire TV viewing experience is accompanied by use of another screen.

In this cross-screen and multi-screen media scenario, two strategies that are expected to grow in size and prominence and become marketers’ choice for effective digital ad spends are TV and DigitalSync strategy. Marketers will demand TV – digital sync platform that would help them address audiences, instantly while they shift between screens thus creating a far larger impact of the advertising money spent in a year. Today consumers are TV disengaged with immense media time spent shifting away from TV screen to digital. During ad breaks and specific time bands of the day, this phenomenon is far more common amongst millenials as compared to baby boomers and GenX. At that juncture, it is important for brands to start thinking of seamless communication journey from one screen to another so that the lost exposure on TV is compensated with exposure gained on digital. Marketers need to focus on not just buying cross screen media but also thinking content and communication messaging that is cross screen. This is a big reason why video has become a far more acceptable format as compared to banners or display promotions. Video not only allows comparative analysis by reach of audio visual on TV v/s that on digital, but also helps in measuring the relevance of ad watched by user due to measurable analytics around the same.

Some of the real time TV sync campaigns by advertisers in FMCG, Food & Beverages, Automobile and e-commerce industries have yielded extremely high uplift in response to ads on the digital medium as compared to running standalone digital and TV campaigns throughout the day. This is where marketers need to make a smarter choice by wisely choosing platforms that allow them to optimize media advertising spends real time in this cross screen era .

TV to Digital Response Strategy: -Marketers especially in ecommerce companies are starting a new trend, breaking the myths and adopting the next level of media buying that takes television advertising beyond just reach and viewership. Brick and Mortar advertisers define efficiency of advertising spends by analysing uplift in sales at the time when their TV ad goes live. This analysis by advertisers at end of a TV campaign helps media managers and agencies understand the effectiveness of the plans executed by them. However, this equation has changed drastically today especially because products are now on mobile and available for purchase on a click. Brands are now discussing methodologies and statistical models that can help define the effect of TV ads on their digital properties while campaigns are live instead of mapping sales at the end of TV buys. This effective real time tracking of the impact of a TV ad on a brand’s digital goals is bridging the gap of looking at TV’s efficiency beyond reach, to leads or conversions or online sales getting triggered. A smaller attribution window ranging from five to ten minutes helps an advertiser create trends about day parts, genre mix, TV channel mix. This can often lead to an effective campaign which can further strengthen the decisions they could make for optimizing and planning TV media better. This also answers a much larger concern of advertisers on whether they should pay a premium for buying spots on TV channels and shows that deliver a far more effective ROI or whether they should focus on the set of target consumers who are truly engaged and responsive to the ad that goes on air. Clearly there are reasons behind this radical change in thinking and deploying media and ad budgets in a different manner.

A consumer’s media consumption pattern is now traceable, measurable in real time, more actionable and different from what it was four years ago. With ecommerce, auto, telecom, BFSI, online services, handsets etc. we have started seeing a shift in cross device media strategies. Making meaningful exposure is no more a dream for marketers. Advertisers now have enough avenues and data points available that could help them understand how audiences are traversing today from one screen to another and where to create that placebo effect.

The strength lies in knowing that as a marketer which part of the strategy do you belong to and how soon can you make the shift from single screen marketing to cross screen marketing as that’s where you will reap the maximum benefit.


This article has been picked up by : TV Spends – The Butterfly Effect, AdAge India


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