Digital and TV: Meant To Be

July 19th, 2018 | ACA Team, Association of Canadian Advertisers

The latest ACA Executive Forum brought together three speakers with fascinating insights about the increasingly intertwined worlds of television and digital marketing. Brands are facing the same dilemmas — how can digital measurement be used to gather data about consumers’ TV viewing habits? Which data sets are best, and how should one measure effectiveness? These are questions the industry has been asking itself for years, but still struggles to answer.

As George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the Media Rating Council demonstrated for conference attendees, standardizing the measurement of ad success is a constant battle — in the past five years alone, the MRC has released 27 different papers on the topic.

Sample of recent papers released by Media Rating Council.

Far from rendering it obsolete, data is breathing new life into television marketing and presenting advertisers with new, and increasingly more effective, ways of reaching their customers.

These key takeaways from the speakers at the latest executive forum demonstrate that the connection between TV and digital is really a match made in heaven, especially for marketers.

  1. Television still has the power to shape consumer purchasing decisions

Alphonso.TV’s senior vice president T.S. Kelly gave an overview of his company’s ability to monitor ad placement on every television channel in the United States in real time. Alphonso has programmed hundreds of computers to watch television 24 hours a day, and record in real time when every ad plays on every channel nationally. Their server uses automated content recognition (ACR) to identify the ads in under a second, and categorize them by brand, product type, the time of day they were played and more. As you can imagine, it’s an immense amount of data. (You can actually see what the computers are watching in real-time on their “ad wall” here.)

Credit: Alphonso.TV

The applications of this data to a brand’s marketing strategy are incredible, particularly time-of-day targeting for television ads. In one test case from Alphonso’s early client briefs, a restaurant chain wanted to measure visitation rates to its brick-and-mortar locations in relation to prior TV brand exposure. Over a 12-week period, the team tracked local store visits in correlation with TV ad placement in certain areas, and they were able to show (with a lift of 3.23 per cent) which part of the day the brand should play a TV ad in order to increase visitation.

  1. Context, not saturation, should be the primary goal of your brand’s next campaign

Shane Skillen, CEO of global market research firm Hotspex, took us into the world of marketing neuroscience, which has produced the scientifically-backed claim that our brains are programmed for context. When we see an ad in proximity to content, the ad is either complementary, or not. Most of the time, an ad placed before a video or during a show you’re watching doesn’t fit with the overall theme, mood or feeling produced by the content, and this creates a negative reaction in the brain. The more advertising jarrs us, the more likely we are to react to negatively to it in general.

Hotspex conducted a study with Google to show the connection between context and ROI. One of the most telling pieces of information gleaned from the project is their finding that when ads are placed out of context, purchase intent can drop as much as 19 per cent. It’s a waste of advertising dollars, especially since, Skillen notes, it doesn’t cost any more money to run your ads in context than out of it.