National TV ads may get the big budgets and broad exposure, the top creative talent and majority of trade and general media coverage, but for many advertisers local TV is the unsung hero of the media plan. Because when the targeting and creative is done right, the rewards are high in terms of reaching the right audience and encouraging the desired action. You have only to look at the success of the political advertising conducted almost exclusively over local channels during the November 2018 midterms, which we wrote about here, to gauge the impact local TV can have.

While local TV ad spend in 2019 is expected to dip slightly from last year’s record levels, and digital continues to take dollars from both national and local TV, here are a few reasons why local TV remains a reliable campaign workhorse.

Advertise Locally to Drive Results Globally, Nationally and Successfully
Automakers, franchises, national chain restaurants and retail stores have long known that national TV can drive overall brand awareness, but local TV is what builds customer loyalty, helps brands promote local deals and promotions, specific stores and, ultimately, sales. Adapting the top-flight creative assets developed for national TV for local spots and managing those assets however, can be time consuming and complicated. To help streamline the process, Extreme Reach’s cloud platform, AdBridgeTM, helps brands better manage national and local TV campaigns to successfully tap into specific markets and boost sales in the process.

Programmatic Should Help with Local TV Advertising Programming
Programmatic technology is still very much in development. While much progress has been made building out front-end planning tools that help buyers sort through data-enriched TV advertising inventory, true end-to-end automation is not yet a reality. But the potential for programmatic to improve targeting while streamlining transaction processes exists today. Regarding local TV inventories, eMarketer maintains that programmatic has the potential to simplify processes for components of TV buying that require complex coordination. For example, many advertisers purchase local commercial time in select markets within a universe of 210 DMAs (Designated Market Areas). A programmatic approach to local TV buying holds the potential for winnowing down available TV inventory that meets targeting and CPM requirements across 30 markets, making it far easier and attractive for advertisers to keep local in their advertising mixes.

Advanced TV Can Help to Advance Investments in Local TV
Similarly, further upgrades in advanced TV capabilities will drive greater spend in local video. While the majority of that spend will go to digital, local TV will capitalize on the upgrades in order to stay competitive with the growing interest in digital ad platforms, according to new research from BIA/Kelsey. As Rick Ducey, managing director BIA/Kelsey and report co-author noted, “Advanced TV could be a viable solution because it brings data-infused audience targeting beyond just gender and age and delivers analytics between TV ad exposure and subsequent consumer behaviors. Eventual success will come down to continued efforts in developing and transitioning to new automated workflows.” Local stations, eager to keep their ad revenues flowing in a non-election year, are sure to investigate the many ways in which advanced TV capabilities can improve their targeting capabilities in order to retain and grow their advertising base in the years to come.

While overall TV ad spend numbers (both national and local) stay flat and digital rises more dramatically, TV still commands the biggest investment because of its proven power to build awareness and drive desired actions. As such, local TV remains an important part of the advertising mix and one that should be closely monitored by advertisers as it adopts new technologies and services to keep pace with digital offerings.

Patrick Hanavan

Patrick Hanavan

Chief Client Officer, Co-Founder
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