What is the future of TV advertising? Well, bright, brand safe, bot free, technologically driven, collaborative, data rich, better-measured and effective, obviously. But before stroking our chins and considering the future, let’s look at the present.
A recent study by Ebiquity and Gain Theory quantified for the first time the impact different forms of advertising have on the bottom line. Called ‘Profit Ability’, the study has excellent news for many forms of advertising, but especially for TV.
It found that TV advertising out-performs all other media investments by some margin, both in the short and long term. TV ads deliver 71% of all profit generated by advertising, at the greatest efficiency (an ROI of £4.20 per pound spent), and for the least risk. In an uncertain world, businesses want what TV advertising can offer more than ever.
TV advertising now has it all
Procter & Gamble's chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard recently commented that TV has "demonstrated that it gets broad reach and high engagement, the quality of the content has become significantly better and it’s very efficient and effective." We wouldn’t disagree, and the renewed confidence in TV advertising from the world's biggest advertiser is not isolated – there has been a widespread re-appraisal of TV’s strengths and a new sense of momentum in TV.
One of the main reasons for this is a realisation that TV advertising now has it all. Brands can talk to everyone thanks to TV’s power as a mass medium, and they can talk to individuals thanks to TV’s advanced ad solutions and the increasing choice of personalisation that they bring.
TV’s future will be built on technology
This is as it always has been. Whereas some industries have often been negatively disrupted by new technologies – print and the music industry stand out – TV is thriving in an online world. It has successfully monetised the changing way it is consumed (a viewer opting to watch on catch up is just as commercially valuable as a viewer watching linear TV) and the advent of multi-screening has meant that TV ads can drive an immediate response. The high street has been brought to the living room.
As viewers continue to embrace new forms of TV, the targeting capabilities and data-richness of the online world are being blended with the high quality, highly trusted world of TV shows.
While addressable TV is already here, in the future we’ll see all of TV viewing become addressable. TV will offer all the benefits of online advertising: return path data, dynamic real-time ad delivery and addressability. Importantly, this will be powered by first party data and will be offered within the premium TV environment, with high view-through rates, big screens, the sound on, and shared viewing (by humans). TV will offer the best of both worlds.
TV’s future will be built on collaboration
There is a new spirit of partnership among broadcasters both within countries and between countries. The TV industry is working together like never before to tell its amazing story. At an international level, we’ve seen the formation of the Global TV Group to give TV a global, unified voice. In the UK, the main TV sales houses of Sky, ITV and Channel 4 are publicly committed to exploring ways in which they can work together to make it easier for advertisers to get the most out of TV, be that by collaborating on pieces of research, holding joint events like The Big TV Festival, or sharing data.
TV’s future will be built on better measurement
In 2018, BARB will begin to officially report on non-TV set viewing. This is a vital step as TV viewing evolves, especially younger people’s viewing habits. It is a fact that people are watching less linear TV than they used to (although at 3.5 hours a day on average, it continues to be a huge part of our lives) and younger audiences are the most enthusiastic about new forms of TV. But we have been missing out on measuring this new viewing.
For example, an average of 2.8 million people watched ITV2’s youth blockbuster Love Island live or within seven days on a TV set. Not to be sniffed at. But this increased to 3.5 million when ‘device viewing’ was included, either live-streaming or on-demand. TV’s future is already here, we just haven’t been able to measure it yet.
TV’s future will be built on quality and trust
The fundamental point about the positive future of TV advertising is that it is built on the quality of the shows broadcasters invest in. This year they will invest north of £7 billion in the UK alone. We are living in the ‘Age of Television’ where the standard, variety and popularity of the shows that brands can associate with on commercial TV are second to none.
TV is the brand-safest, most effective ad medium, 100% whitelisted. It is stringently regulated and independently measured. Its data is first party and willingly given. Brands can trust TV, now and in the future.
Matt Hill, Research & Planning Director, Thinkbox