The results of a large, long-running UK study on the impacts of programmatic ad campaigns are in and they’re looking like a win-win-win for marketers. Sky, the UK TV, broadband and mobile company, conducted a five-year survey of 300,000 subscribers across 130,000 campaigns that showed addressable ads can be significantly more effective at maintaining consumer attention. And, in what looks like good news for linear TV, those addressable ads worked especially well when combined with traditional TV commercials.
Such findings have particular import in light of sharp increases in programmatic investments in both the US and UK and offer guidance to marketers on how to allocate their budgets. Let’s take a look at three points The Drum, which covered the study, identified as the biggest takeaways.
With Addressable, Viewers Stay Put
In one measure of addressable’s efficacy, the study found that channel switching rates were cut nearly in half (48%) when addressable ads were shown in the first three slots of a commercial break, compared with standard linear ads. For TV companies and brands alike, this finding comes at an opportune time. In the wake of audience fragmentation and viewership challenges, most networks have been forced to increase their ad loads to keep pricing in keeping with brand and agency needs. Consumers are responding by tuning out or gravitating to ad-free services. If the targeting and relevance of addressable helps keep viewer eyeballs on the screen, that technology is bound to be welcomed by all.
They Also Stay More Engaged
Equally notable is the fact that the study results suggest that addressable isn’t just keeping eyeballs on the screen during ads, but keeping viewers interested in what the brand has to say. Based on gauges of engagement that included facial coding, emotional analytics and subscriber interviews, the study suggests that when ads are targeted to viewers, spontaneous recall improves 10%, attentiveness is 35% higher, they’re 21% more engaged in the content and the purchase intent improves by 7%. Such gains offer marketers better measures of calculating ROI than the brand awareness that comes from traditional commercials on linear.
The Halo Effect
But that’s not to say that linear is excluded from these gains as addressable solutions were found to be more effective when combined with more traditional commercials. For example, brand awareness increased by 22% when the two were combined. And when the frequency of addressable ads was higher or equal to linear, ad recall went up by 49%. In other words, it’s the mix of marketing solutions that tends to produce the best results. “TV is well known for its impressive brand-building abilities,” Jamie West, director of strategy and capability planning at Sky Media said. “Now with clear evidence of the effective performance of highly targeted ad campaigns across TV, its full potential is being discovered and unleashed by broadcasters, viewers and brands.”
Of course, given that this study only included Sky subscribers, it remains to be seen whether the same results will be true across other media companies and in other markets. But data like this should be proving to brands and media outlets that tentativeness in incorporating new solutions into the advertising toolbox could translate into missed opportunities.