It's undeniable that the future of TV will be all about performance. But how will brands measure this performance when the metrics keep changing? Will brands always be the winners and benefit from these changes?
Since the beginning of TV, we have been defining and re-defining the performance metrics based on offering of the time. First, the evolution of broadcast television forever changed the way the nation consumed news and entertainment. No longer did people have to leave the comfort of their homes to see the world. It was brought into their living rooms every night. In the early 1940’s, the first commercial ran on NBC allowing Bulova to market its products to viewers. This forever changed advertising and marketing around the world. The ability to talk to your target consumers in their home was beyond innovation — it was genius! The ratings system would later provide brands with insight into the numbers of people they could reach with their advertising.
Then cable television launched, giving people even more choices for entertainment, some with and some without commercials. Although it launched in the late ’40s and early ’50s, it really wasn’t until the early ’70s when HBO launched that cable TV was taken seriously as a threat. Although they could not advertise on HBO, brands quickly realized that a paid TV network would start to dilute the audiences watching channels with commercials. Brands then decided that they would continue to use the ratings and insights provided by other commercial channels since the information they were providing was becoming even more detailed, offering advertisers even more opportunities to reach the desired target audience.
In addition, brands negotiated with movie studios and content creators to have their products written into films, ensuring those partnership deals would make up the difference of the advertising pie. Brands would also use their advertising dollars to showcase their partnerships with film partners, further extending their relationships with consumers. Networks quickly realized they were losing money to the studio partnership deals and had to come up with a way to engage those dollars back. That’s how marketing integration departments began at the networks. Assuring brands of the performance on the network, as well as providing them with unique integration packages. Add to the mix the introduction of satellite TV in the late ’90s and now you had even more options for content and advertising.
So will the future be about performance? Absolutely! It’s always been about showing brands how efficiently you can reach their audience. The difference moving forward is the way people will be consuming the content. Previously, we knew we were reaching them in their homes, they were focused on us and they wanted to hear everything we had to say. Now consumers are viewing content at home, on cell, at work on their computers, on tablets and even on their wrists. So how do you measure performance? Yet, the real question brands should be asking is, can you measure engagement with my brand? That is going to be the most difficult thing for content providers moving forward. Tell me if people are engaging with my brand via your content — that’s the way to win.
Brands, get out there and get people engaging with you, with your brand, with your product. Engagement builds that relationship with your target customer and gets you in their heads, and in their hearts. That’s how brands will win.