Recently, there’s been a steady stream of cross-media research highlighting the impact of adding online video to TV campaigns. New statistics show that the TV audience is bigger, watches longer and is more effectively persuaded by advertising when they watch video on both traditional TV and the Web.
There’s a lot said about the momentum of online video advertising, but little mentioned about the process. The critical role of trafficking is often unsung and the need to measure and respond to reach, frequency and performance of cross-media campaigns is frequently neglected. The process of executing campaigns that span TV and the Web is often redundant and inefficient. Rather than planning TV in one box and Web video in another, brands and their agencies should consider unifying traditional and digital TV campaigns, departments and technology solutions. By bringing all video advertising together under a single, strategic discipline, brands can connect with viewers more effectively across screens and their agencies can eliminate costly steps and missteps.
A familiar story
When cable television started to expand rapidly in the 1980s, advertisers weren’t sure how to address the new shape that TV was taking. There was lots of uncertainty about the new connection, channels and content. Advertising metrics like audience reach, demographics and share were TBD. The number of TV media outlets suddenly grew far beyond the big three networks. The new frontier presented real challenges for brands, agency planners, buyers and traffickers. Ultimately, the audience’s viewing attention may have become more fragmented with cable television, but the advertising industry didn’t. The industry adapted.
Today’s dilemma with the rapid growth of online video is very similar. TV audiences are seamlessly shifting their viewing attention across more content and devices. The “new TV” is generally the same viewing experience as the old “new TV.” The types of programs are the same, the ad creative is generally the same and the ads still run in commercial breaks before, during and after the program. The many similarities have helped to make it easy for audiences to adapt. But this time around, adapting is more challenging for advertisers.
Until now, online video advertising has been managed separately from the rest of TV. Agencies, departments, technology solutions and workflows have remained in two separate camps: broadcast and digital. In order for advertisers to efficiently and effectively connect with consumers across every screen, they need to be able to bring them together. The challenge is in the way online video has developed over the past several years. Its history is standing in the way of its future.
While broadcast-focused agencies have had the lion’s share of the media budget and video creative responsibilities, digital agencies have retained the digital expertise. Many digital shops have even been advocates for a Web-only world. To further the separation, the digital advertising platforms used by interactive firms have offered online video as an extension of banners and rich media. Those solutions have little or no connection to traditional TV, so they have a vested interest in keeping online video separate from TV.
Here’s the good news. After years of separation, advertisers are now starting to evolve with the medium.
The path ahead
Traditional and web-based TV advertising each have their strengths, but online video has far more similarities and ties to traditional TV than other online ad formats and campaigns. Forward-thinking marketers understand these synergies. As a result, we’re starting to see a clear shift in the industry. Several large agencies have combined their online video and broadcast teams, so they can plan, traffic and measure both together. Interactive agencies are adding traditional TV to their offerings. Newer technology solutions are starting to provide a single platform for delivery, management and measurement of video campaigns that span both the Web and traditional TV. These recent shifts indicate an important industry trend towards unifying video advertising and embracing the “new TV.”
As the advertising industry adapts, the Web is becoming an extension of TV. Each new study that comes out should serve as another cue for advertisers to combine the two camps and seek cross-media solutions that bridge our multi-screen world.