At The Future of TV Advertising conference in London last week, Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox (the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK), discussed the body’s recent research which shows that BVOD is the most efficient video driver of short term sales.
The research involved an econometric analysis (conducted with Gain Theory) of GroupM’s data set – which represents £1.1B in media investment – assessed through marketing mix modelling. The study shows that BVOD registers a slightly higher short term ROI index than for linear TV – 1.27 compared to 1.0. Hall also revealed that linear TV drives a much higher percentage of sales volume than BVOD – 47% compared to 3% – due to its significantly larger reach.
Hill said the research conducted by Thinkbox represents the most comprehensive exploration of BVOD and its role in media to date. In addition to the econometric analysis of GroupM’s data set, to understand the incremental reach BVOD provides, the study (conducted with PwC) evaluated 1,259 campaigns using BVOD measured by CFlight, with ad server data coming from ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.
Hill remarked: “One thing we weren’t expecting is that it is very important to plan BVOD across longer periods of time, as reach of VOD builds slower than linear TV. Rather than mapping BVOD against your linear campaign you should try to map it across a longer period of time to give you a better chance of accessing light viewers.”
The study found that BVOD incremental reach increases by three times for campaigns that have a 30-50 day duration when compared to those shorter than 30 days. Additionally, Hill recommended that advertisers should be “buying across all sales points and genres and spreading [their] inventory as wide as possible” to maximise reach on BVOD. The study shows that campaigns delivered across six to ten genres yield up to two times the incremental reach compared to those delivered across one to five genres.
The study also sought to assess the impact that device, platform and ad creatives have on advertising engagement. In order to explore this question, the body conducted an ethnographic and videographic study of video ad experience for 30 households.
One takeaway from the research is the important of the concept of ‘value-exchange’. Hall said: “For viewers, there is an understood and accepted value exchanged between consuming TV content and watching advertising. That comes from years of linear TV. When the value-exchange breaks down and the content is not good enough, then advertising is actively ignored and avoided.”
Another key finding is that viewers react negatively to ads disguised as content. He said: “This is a common problem on TikTok at the moment. People will be watching a video on TikTok without realising its an ad, then realise and feel frustrated.”
Hall also revealed that viewers have a higher tolerance for ads not being relevant to them on a shared screen as compared to a personal screen. This is because viewers assume that ads on a shared screen will not be targeted (despite the fact, as Hall noted, that ads can be targeted on shared screens and more often are.) On personal devices, viewers expect ads to be more targeted and relevant to them, and are frustrated when they are not.
However, Hall stressed the salience of creatives: “If you can make great creatives that resonate, that completely overpowers any need for relevance. This allows TV to play across all categories, for people who are in market and for people who are out of market. That’s the essence of TV that makes it such a powerful brand builder and also a powerful sales tool for all types of business.”
According to Thinkbox, BVOD now account for 6% of all video viewing, with BVOD revenues forecast to reach just over £800m this year.