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What Advertisers Should Know about TV’s Power to Simplify Consumers’ Viewing Choices

Discussions about streaming services may have dominated both the digital NewFronts (not surprising) and the TV Upfronts (quite surprising) but linear TV will play an increasingly critical role in helping advertisers manage the growing complexity of reaching the right consumers with the right message on the right platform, according to a new study by Xandr.

Xandr, AT&T’s advanced advertising and analytics unit, partnered with Insight Strategy Group to conduct a nationwide survey among 2,000 TV viewers to determine how tune-in behaviors are changing and what advertisers can do to break through this highly competitive environment. Turns out, a strategic mix of traditional TV and digital will be the key to success in navigating an expanding entertainment universe in a time of rapidly growing convergence. Here are a few of the findings of most interest to advertisers.

TV Advertising is Critical for Show Discovery
Xandr’s research found that although viewers discover content through many different sources, TV advertisements are the most common—and influential—way viewers first hear about new shows on all platforms. Overall, 56 per cent of viewers learn about new shows from TV advertisements, followed by 43 per cent who hear about shows through word of mouth from friends and family, and 22 per cent who hear about them on social media.

In addition, after seeing a TV ad for a show, 74 per cent of viewers want to tell their friends about it and 85 per cent are inspired to do more research on the show. Similarly, 90 per cent of viewers remember that an influential ad came from a network they trust and 56 per cent say that seeing a TV ad for a show makes them think that the show is more reputable.

Viewers Are Cross-Platform So Advertisers Must Do the Same
To the handwringers who keep foretelling the death of TV, Jason Brown, SVP and head of advertising sales partnerships at Xandr says no way. “TV advertising remains a critical part of a strong cross-platform campaign strategy and a key component in the marketing mix.”

According to the study, about two in three viewers consume content across both linear and digital platforms and divide their viewing time based on the platform that is most convenient for their schedule. As such, consumers are continuing to gain more control over when and where they watch their content and advertisers will have to tailor campaigns to those habits, developing different content for different screens and personalizing the messages to specific audiences. As IAB noted at the conclusion of its NewFronts presentations, the most effective cross-platform campaigns will be the most complex to execute, but offer the most promise for better engaging consumers.

TV is Advertisers’ GPS for Traversing a Fragmented Landscape
Today’s advertisers are tasked with making informed decisions about how to best reach specific targets across an increasingly fragmented TV landscape. It’s by no means an easy endeavor for marketers. But Xandr maintains that in a world where viewers are inundated with content choices, TV advertising plays a pivotal role in breaking through the clutter, helping viewers maximize their viewing time by minimizing the complexity of what to watch.

For show providers, this means TV ads will remain a critical part of the most sophisticated campaign strategy, and a key component in their marketing mix. And for advertisers, changing consumption patterns presents opportunities to match consumer preferences – rather than interrupt them.