Brands looking to develop more meaningful consumer connections are turning to branded content to increase engagement, reach new audiences, and convert immersive brand experiences into sales. A fusion of advertising and entertainment, branded content has been developed by a broad range of leading brands -- everyone from BMW to Marks & Spencer and Chipotle. Incidentally, the latter recently won the first ever branded content Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Lions Festival for its efforts.
To date, branded content has been used strictly as a form of online marketing; however, given the rise of Internet-connected TVs, it's time it made the leap to prime time and the larger screen in the living room. Here are 10 reasons why:
1) Smart TVs are Moving Mainstream.
No matter whose statistics you look at, connected TVs are rapidly heading mainstream. Parks Associates projects smart TV households in North America will grow to 37 million at year-end 2012, increasing by 40% to 51 million homes by 2013. By these estimates, 62% of all TV homes will have a smart TV by 2016.* And with every major consumer electronics manufacturer on board with Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray disc players, consumers can take their pick from popular brands including Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic and LG.
2) Nobody Can Compete with Talented Cats.
The biggest destination for branded content today is YouTube. While we all love YouTube, it’s very difficult for brands to rise above the din of dancing felines. In contrast, connected TVs offer an uncluttered ad environment where compelling content is readily noticed.
3) It’s the TV.
While good on the small screen, branded content is often professionally produced and high-quality content that screams “Take me to the big screen!” And, while Internet video quality can be great, the smaller screen will never pack the sight, sound, emotional impact and appeal of video on the big screen in the living room
4) No, Wait, it’s the Web!
Connected TVs bring the capabilities and functionality of the Web to the TV. Granted a tad obvious, but in advertising terms what this means is that marketers can develop stunning branded content destinations that are highly immersive and can offer multiple videos, rich graphics, as well as advanced interactivity such as QR codes, RFI options, click-to-call, polling, and T-commerce. Along with a broad range of features, connected TV advertising can also offer marketers detailed campaign metrics providing brands and agencies easy assessments of performance from impressions to viewer interactions.
5) Connected Viewers are Good-Looking.
Nearly 70% of U.S. connected-TV owners have a college degree and are four times more likely than the general population to be college graduates. Over one-half, 55%, of connected TV households earn at least $75,000 annually. Connected TV owners use this buying power as early adopters of technology products and services -- on average, each household owns 11 Internet-enabled devices.*
6) People Don’t Like to be Interrupted While Being Entertained.
While I’m asserting that branded content should make its way to the living room, I’m not saying it should arrive as traditional 30-second spots. That would doom branded content to the realm of pure advertising, which it is not. Connected TV advertising is an entirely new form of promotion that’s elegantly inserted into the device experience and delivered to consumers at a point when they are making a decision about what to watch -- and therefore, before they become engrossed in a piece of content.
7) People Quite Like Branded Destinations.
Less intrusive than 30-second spots and DVR-proof, connected TV spots are not only being noticed by consumers, but also surprisingly well received. A recent connected advertising receptivity study noted that 67%** of consumers believe connected TV video ads are less disruptive than traditional TV ads. Better yet, more than 52% of households** exposed to connected ads indicated they were open to advertising while they are searching for programs to watch. That’s correct -- consumers said they were open to advertising! In fact when asked about branded destinations, 67% agreed that they “think of this as content more than advertising.”**
8) Connected Content Gets Noticed.
Based on a recent study, in the U.S., 81% of connected TV users notice the presence of connected TV ads* and a staggering 64% of them indicated they actually respond to them with a click*. Relevant video content is a powerful payoff for consumers and can drive interest and ultimately time with brands agreed 61% of respondents
9) Connected Content Drives Action.
Based on some campaign samples, connected TV ads are prompting users toward more brand- and product-related activities:*
10) Folk Still Love their TVs.
In the last three months of 2011, the average American with a TV set at home spent 153 hours and 19 minutes watching “traditional TV” (TV viewed on a set rather than a computer or a tablet). The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98% of which they watch on a traditional TV set.^ Connected TVs might actually help push this number higher - 13% in a recent study indicated that they would spend more time in front of the tube.*
Think of it this way, the paradigm is shifting once again. You’ve invested in high quality, well produced video; now place it where consumers prefer to interact and enjoy it -- on the big screen at home.
*Decipher Research, Rovi Connected TV Advertising Field Study
**Research Narrative, Rovi Advertising Network Receptivity Study
^Nielsen Reports 2012, The Nielsen Company