May 6, 2020
The world is changing day-by-day as we attempt to navigate a global pandemic. Since social distancing and quarantine measures took effect, one thing has become consistent in many of our new routines: TV. As a result, we are consuming more content than ever before, with Nielsen estimating a 60% increase in viewership, while being forced to stay indoors. I know for me; the news is always on in my house, and I've just started my fourth new show on Netflix, when it typically takes me months to finish a single series.
TV is taking over, and brands must think about how to maximize their advertising budgets within this medium to effectively maneuver through our new reality.
Live Sports are Canceled, But People Are Still Watching TV
Live sports are a huge source of revenue for broadcasters and a key target for advertisers. They draw thousands of viewers over a short and specific time, an advertiser's dream. Now, with the cancellation of live sports, advertisers lack that increase in viewership during a given event (besides the news, but that's a separate conversation). So, that begs the question, where is that 60% increase in viewership coming from?
Finn Partners client, Viant, which enables ad buyers to plan, create, execute, and measure their omnichannel digital advertising investments, did a recent analysis that showed where March Madness viewers are migrating to since they aren't watching the games. Their research revealed that viewers are instead tuning into programs like NBC Nightly News, SportsCenter, Big Bang Theory and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at higher rates during these times.
So, what does this mean? It means that your audience hasn't gone away, but instead has dispersed across a variety of different programs. The good news is that your target audience is still there. The bad news is that advertisers will have to work a little harder to find the viewers they want and hold their attention.
TV Inventory is on Clearance and Messaging is Key
While our current economy may be in question, for advertisers, TV inventory is more affordable, and competition for ad spots has decreased among brands. This creates an opening for brands to increase their share of voice in comparison to their competitors. Time, however, will play an important role. Advertisers want to take advantage of the optimal prices, but many are reluctant to make long-term commitments for fear of what the future holds and how their businesses may be affected.
For those that do decide to buy, given the current environment, brand messaging will be exponentially more important. You want your brand to appear strong and stable to viewers while recognizing the sensitivities of the situation and addressing them in a nuanced way.
Companies who do this successfully will find themselves in a good position in the long term as the world starts to recover, and society goes back to normal.
Observe, Learn and Adapt to the Situation
Viewership is changing, and everything we thought we knew about TV advertising is out the window. Those who are still moving forward with their TV ad spend are looking for new methods to reach their audiences, such as through increased targeting and other omnichannel approaches like OTT and connected TV.
Brands and agencies need to reach their consumers regardless of where they are watching TV. This time is an opportunity for advertisers to explore, discover, and reshape their spending habits to make the most impact with their ad buys.
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