How TV Advertisers Can Stay Visible by Following the Audience

By Jason Swartz, Vice President, Advanced Advertising, New Business, and National Sales at New York Interconnect

Advertisers across categories often have to reevaluate their planned TV investments due to unforeseen circumstances to ensure their campaigns prove their ROI. From changes in how viewers consume content across different screens (including the addition of streaming services) to global pandemics to production stoppages and cancellations, there are seemingly countless factors that can throw an advertiser’s planned TV campaign into a tailspin. When these curveballs are thrown, the recent advances in data are the key to making sure brands can still connect to their audiences to hit their campaign goals out of the park.

Following the disruptions of the pandemic and in spite of economic uncertainty, important advertising verticals like auto, travel, healthcare, and others are surging back. Now, more than ever, advertisers need to stretch their advertising dollars and remain competitive to stay visible. However, the TV landscape and its accompanying ad opportunities look a lot different than they did just a few years ago. Let’s take a fresh look at advertising survival tactics for today’s TV reality.

Rethinking the Programming Mix

Categories that warrant special attention from advertisers right now include reality TV, live sports and news programming, as these continue as usual despite disruptions elsewhere. All three categories draw highly engaged viewers with tremendous collective buying power. Particularly when it comes to live sports and local news, advertisers will want to ensure their media plans include regional partners with access to the most popular programming for a given area, as well as the right multiscreen, measurement and attribution capabilities – which leads us to our next point.

Following Audiences to the Other Content They Love

Advertisers should work with media partners with access to set-top box data and other audience insights. They should be able to discover where else the viewers migrate to when their shows are canceled or disruptions occur. During the pandemic, when live sports went on hiatus, the data showed which programming these audiences – the ones that advertisers were targeting – migrated to and how and when they were watching. Advertisers were able to reallocate their ad spend accordingly and never lose track of their intended audience.

Leaning In to Streaming and Multiscreen Behaviors

In adjusting their TV advertising around whatever is happening at the moment, brands should acknowledge the new consumer behaviors that have reshaped viewership in recent years. A growing number of viewers are watching content across screens and adding streaming on top of their cable TV habits, a trend known as “cord stacking.”

By putting a deeper emphasis on streaming content and multiscreen capabilities, advertisers can unlock deeper measurement and attribution capabilities that will help them assess and refine the impact of their TV campaigns during a time of disruption. Likewise, the extension of linear campaigns to streaming content not only expands an advertiser’s audience, but also the ability to engage and understand those audiences on a deeper level.

Advertisers have no control over what unforeseen circumstances may come their way, but they have plenty of control over how they pivot their TV campaigns when they are hit with the unexpected. By focusing on the above three tactics, brands have an opportunity to do more than just be at the mercy of the events of the day. If they make the most of the recent advances in TV media data and reporting, they won’t need to miss a beat with their campaigns and they can keep their brands visible over the long haul.