At Extreme Reach, we don’t make a big distinction between TV and video ads. As we often note, we see them as complementary rather than competitive strategies because they both rely on sight, sound and motion to sell a brand or product, and incorporating both formats into the marketing mix has been proven to increase the reach, frequency and recall of a commercial message. Plus, there’s the fact that today’s consumers—who increasingly toggle between linear TV, digital video, over-the-top and other options to view desired content—probably don’t see a huge difference between these ad formats either.
But where consumers have fully embraced this new culture of convergence, marketers are experiencing some significant acclimation issues, according to a new study from Advertiser Perceptions™ that queried 300 marketer and agency contacts on video ad spend allocation and their approaches to planning and buying spots. While respondents say they subscribe to the value of true convergence in planning and buying ads, the practice is hardly widespread: only 53% of marketers plan digital and TV together and less than half (40%) buy bundles from multichannel providers. But of the 60% who still buy separately, 83% say they intend to integrate in the near future.
Getting intent and practice better aligned is a question of addressing some long-standing unification challenges. Here are three of the most pervasive of them that the advertising and marketing community can work toward resolving to fully realize the proven potential of converged campaigns.
Most brands use the same creative assets for both TV and digital campaigns, but tap separate agencies for executing them over the separate channels. And it’s no surprise that communication issues and disconnected workflows follow as a result. This is one of the easier problems to resolve. Brand marketing teams need to step up and ensure all parties are working from the same page to ensure the basics—like team unity on getting the creative assets out there and insurances that video quality will remain the same throughout. Coordination is key here and it’s an ongoing challenge due to the absence of a widely accepted unique identifier for every commercial as well as the lack of standardized practices for sharing those assets.
Unifying Siloed Sales Forces
True video ad convergence will require more than just updating the legacy practices of advertising and agency people, however. On the media brand and publisher front, respondents cited siloed sales organizations as one of the biggest challenges to convergence. One participant in the Advertiser Perceptions study put it this way: “The methods of purchasing these campaigns over larger networks is very complex. There is no single platform that can be used to target the majority of video outlets so setting up the campaigns is time consuming and confusing.” Getting the supply side more integrated is no easy task, but it’s an outcome respondents are asking for. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of advertisers said is “very important” that suppliers offer them a “multi-platform solution” integrating TV and video advertising vs. standalone options. As more advertisers demand integrated buys, media companies are likely to increase their offers.
A big impediment to that multi-platform approach, however, is the vast difference in campaign measurement practices for TV and digital. But along with the emergence of advanced targeting and addressable TV has come mandates for performance-based measures that are more standardized across both platforms. With metrics companies such as Nielsen and comScore focused on these metrics, it should become easier for advertisers to get comparable assessments for their TV and digital video ad investments.
None of this will be quick and easy but given that convergence is already here in the consumer arena, advertisers will need to keep pushing for the industry to work together toward better unification going forward.