Growing up in the nineties, it was assumed knowledge that sitting glued an inch from the television would make one’s eyes go square. Not that it stopped us from spending long hours channel-hopping, praying for a certain video to play often to no avail.
It’s a far shout from the total control consumers have today. Want to watch a music video? Within seconds everything is at your fingertips. When MTV was launched, it did so broadcasting the Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star. But nearly 40 years later, digital has changed the game.
It’s not just music videos. The local TV audience has been declining for years, making it difficult for buyers to reach audiences efficiently and effectively. As local TV audiences continue to decline, it’s getting harder for advertisers to reach new audiences at scale in local marketplaces without reaching once unfathomable frequency levels. TV just isn’t what it used to be.
Premium video at scale
The Drum caught up with Nicholas Simonetti, Director of Local Ad Sales at Vevo, where plugging the gap left by television’s decline has become the name of the game, this plays out across many strategies including the local ad market.
“When you look at local markets, it’s harder to find premium video impressions at scale,” says Simonetti. “TV or cable are declining year-to-year, quarter-to-quarter. Audiences have fragmented and the marketplace has dictated that advertisers need solutions outside of traditional vehicles. Looking at us, or Hulu or Roku, we provide the opportunities that have left television. Local video is a $20bn plus market. We have tremendous scale and reach into the marketplace”.
And the numbers corroborate Simonetti’s assertion. Where advertisers are buying lower reach from higher frequency on local TV, Vevo is seeing reach against key demographics (like 25-54 and 18-49 year olds in local DMAs) up to 65%, at frequencies significantly less than that of television.
Simonetti offers the example of the local Hispanic video marketplace in Los Angeles, which has traditionally been dominated by a couple of TV networks: audiences are shrinking, while the Hispanic population continues to grow.
“Local Hispanic buys become inefficient very quickly, because after only a couple weeks you’re really just buying frequency without increasing reach,” he says. “We had an advertiser come to us looking to run against in-language content, and with only $100k over five weeks in the LA DMA, we were able to reach almost 12 per cent of the Hispanic population with only a 3.5 frequency. We’re seeing this type of efficiency again and again with our local advertisers and it’s helping to counterbalance the marketplace.”
Owning the customer experience
This notion of counterbalancing the dwindling television marketplace comes up again and again throughout the conversation. Seeking local audiences through traditional media almost invariably involves taking what Simonetti describes as a “shotgun approach”.
“We’re driving incremental reach to TV, not just reaching the same viewers again and again,” he says. “We had an advertiser run a Nielsen TAR case study, where we analysed their TV and Vevo schedules that ran concurrently and found that 66% of the A 25-54 years old audience reached by Vevo never saw the ad on television. The TV schedule ran across 70 plus networks and included a spot in the Super Bowl – it was 50 times higher than Vevo’s budget.”
This inefficiency is the crux of Vevo’s local offering. Outside of sporting events, most viewers don’t really remember the last time they tuned in to watch a live show at a specific time on a specific network, let alone mindlessly channel-hopping. This diaspora of younger people – especially millennials– is central to Vevo’s solution, says Simonetti:
“The local TV audience is ‘ageing out’ of key demographics like 25-54. We did an analysis breaking down the 25-54 demographic on Vevo and comparing it to the same on CBS, NBC, Fox, and ABC. Roughly half of the A 25-54 population on Vevo fell into 25-34, while roughly half of the network 25-54 audience fell into 45-54.”
“I think another thing to consider is that when we deliver an ad it’s that one advertiser that owns the customer experience,” says Simonetti. “I’m going to get one commercial before I view this content. Whereas on traditional formats, your ad can be buried among anywhere from eight to ten other ads.”
Vevo, he implies throughout our conversation, is the complement to a media plan where marketers are spending money on reaching audiences that simply aren’t there any longer.