TV stations have traditionally centered their tune-in efforts on-air. But with consumer habits shifting to an online world, broadcast tune-in strategies are moving in that direction too. That’s the conclusion of a white paper from video marketing and analytics platform Mixpo. The company surveyed local broadcasters around the country to assess how they use all types of online advertising to drive viewership, and the result is that nearly half will be upping their online ad spend this year, with many leaning more on online video.
Previously, stations that used online advertising had mostly relied on display ads, but now they’re adding online video to the mix. On the one hand, it’s about time. On the other hand, this is also an important step forward in the online video business, which is still new. Just a few years ago, the rallying cry around online video centered on scale and standards. Now the focus is on the move to broad ubiquity and practical use of online video for all sorts of marketing such as product videos, pre-rolls and now tune-in.
Mixpo found that stations spend about 18% of their tune-in budget online, and that 42% of stations plan to increase their online tune-in advertising budget in 2013. Diving deeper, about 85% of stations plan to use online video to market their shows this year. About 57% of stations in the top 10 DMAs say they’ll boost their tune-in budget this year, with much of the increases coming from video. “Today’s audiences are not only online, but are increasingly spending a large portion of their online time watching video. TV broadcasters are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this shift and reach viewers with online video advertising,” the report said. “TV marketers already have engaging video content, daily topicals, social media strategies, promotions, co-op programs, and skilled creative resources at their disposal.”
Many smaller stations are also relying more on online video. Stations in large markets on average spend 15% of their tune-in advertising budget online, while in small markets, the average is 24%. Local broadcasters say they use online and digital video ads because such ads “extend the reach and frequency of their on-air promotions.” In addition, they also said they rely on online advertising to effectively target viewers by demography and geography.
One of the reasons stations are just starting to explore online video is that, frankly, TV stations have never been at the cutting edge of marketing. Only 20% of survey respondents said their stations had a "reasonably effective program in place” for online advertising. However, 46% said they are actively growing their capabilities and another 23% have rated online advertising as a “new strategic area of emphasis.”
If stations are just beginning to use online video for tune-in, Mixpo advises them to start with their on-air spots and reuse them online, to lead with daily topics to drive spikes in viewership, and to pivot off popular prime-time shows in video ads, with perhaps a split-start screen showing an ad for a popular network show alongside a topical for the nightly news. Don’t forget to add localized info such as call letters, and be aware that consumers might view the tune-in ad on a mobile screen, so make sure it’s optimized for mobile.