The introduction of GDPR, the rise of 5G and the upsurge of connected TV dominated last year. 2018 also witnessed the beginning of a shift in how TV is defined – moving from a heavy linear focus to include any form of video played on a TV set including programmatic or addressable, OTT and broadcast. Thanks to increased appetite from consumers for access to unlimited content on a variety of screens, TV’s fight for eyeballs is equally complicated and exciting.
But what are we seeing as the big stories from 2019?
One definite trend is consolidation. TV has earned its place in the media network with 1.7 billion households tuning in worldwide. That’s 71% of all video viewing for the average adult in the UK. FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) is changing the landscape and TV must evolve with consumers needs. For this to work, TV and digital must work together rather than be pitted against each other as competitors.
‘Big Data’ is a focus for data-driven decision-makers but what about artificial intelligence (AI) – will it live up to the hype? Broadcasters and media marketers have been increasingly adopting AI techniques to get the best possible marketing outcomes. The use of AI and machine learning rose from 2% to 13% between April and September 2018 and these forward-thinking strategies are set to continue as technologies advance and align.
Some advertisers are expanding their use of AI, allotting more of the decisions to technology and taking a back seat approach. Traditional, robust media plans are resource-intensive and take weeks to prepare, but advertisers are automating the process, leveraging technology to create multiple campaigns in minutes.They are going a step further by scoring campaigns against each other to determine which will perform best in the real world.
Some brands rely on machine learning as a tool to check where ad spend can be reallocated in-flight to deliver a stronger response, giving marketers recommendations on how to improve strategies. These are all options that can drive the TV industry into planning like digital professionals.
Looking beyond linear TV
For the television industry to continue to be successful, advertisers and networks need to think beyond linear TV. This creates more efficient workflows and helps marketers link TV ad exposure to brand outcomes.
We are seeing new thinking towards TV extend to all forms of video, as well as linear and this is having an impact on media strategies across the board. While there is not a one-size-fits-all means of measuring impact, the space is evolving quickly and the most mature advertisers are experimenting with ways to make cross-platform measurement a reality. This is something many companies are doing with Facebook and Google already and these strategies can be mirrored with TV and digital.
Advertisers are on the cutting edge of machine-driven buying. It’s important to note that programmatic in the TV realm is very different than digital – it’s not as immediate, inventory is limited and coverage is not yet universal. Upfronts may still attract the bulk of advertisers’ TV spend – both here and across the pond – but the use of audience-level data allows targeted inventory to be identified, helping to expand reach or increase frequency to specific audience segments. Whether partnering with emerging network programmes or third-party vendors, advertisers are looking for ways to make faster, more dynamic media decisions, remove unnecessary costs and align inventory to target audiences.
The reach of TV advertising and digital advertising looks set to align in 2019. It is clear that data is key to unlocking the true power of broadcasting and this, combined with advanced technologies, means ROI will be higher than ever this year and beyond. This complementary approach with digital will ensure TV advertisers succeed and keep up with consumer demand.