Broadcast TV has long been considered the most effective medium for building brand awareness, but it’s also notoriously difficult to buy, often thought of as reserved for major brands with big budgets. But the reality is that brand awareness drives sales, and new marketplace technologies are making broadcast TV easier to buy than ever before. Both smaller brands new to TV advertising and major brands who’ve been on TV forever are finding the ease of use and national reach of marketplaces extremely attractive and remarkably effective.
Yet the mythology surrounding broadcast TV and marketplace buying persists. But marketers who buy into that mythology are underestimating the power and effectiveness of both.
- Myth: TV might help with branding, but it doesn’t drive sales.
Reality: While it is true that broadcast TV is uniquely qualified to increase brand awareness and recognition at scale, that very brand recognition is critical to inspiring trust in consumers who are ready to make a purchase decision. In fact, TV advertising can improve online engagement by as much as 11x, increase brand search volume by 160%, and lift purchase intent by 15%.
- Myth: TV ads cost too much.
Reality: When weighed against the scale and impact TV advertising offers, and against the return on investment (ROI) that can be achieved, TV is more affordable than you think. In fact, a TV ad campaign can reach more than 96% of US households and achieve as high as 300-500% ROI.
- Myth: TV is hard to measure.
Reality: That may have been true in the past, but the measurement of TV advertising is more comprehensive and accurate than ever before. Not only are impressions and spot air times measured in near real time, but there are also tools available to measure attribution. Marketers can now connect the dots between a TV campaign and the consumer actions that result, everything from online searches and conversions to in-store sales.
- Myth: Digital ads are cheaper and perform well enough.
Reality: Digital advertising is great for converting consumers ready to purchase but branding through digital channels is inefficient. And the perception that digital is more affordable is just that – perception. When considered against both the expense and difficulty of achieving scale, the illusion of ‘inexpensive’ goes out the window. Only TV ads provide an efficient and affordable method for achieving reach and scale at the level needed to move the needle on brand awareness and sales. And unlike digital, which includes connected TV, broadcast TV advertising is fraud free, so you can be sure every impression is authentic and you’re getting exactly what you pay for.
- Myth: To advertise nationally, you must buy network TV, which requires a huge budget and advance purchasing upfront.
Reality: Not anymore. Automated marketplaces make it easy to access broadcast TV’s national audience by combining ad inventory from thousands of US TV stations across dozens of designated market areas (DMAs). Marketers can buy spots on one station or on 1000 (or more), including near-to-air inventory. It’s no longer true that only big brands with massive budgets to spend upfront can access and buy national campaigns.
- Myth: ‘Marketplace’ is just a euphemism for ‘programmatic’, which means low quality, remnant inventory.
Reality: Many people do use ‘marketplace’ and ‘programmatic’ interchangeably, and programmatic has long been associated with selling off remnant inventory through RTB (‘real time bidding’ or ‘race to the bottom’, depending on your perspective). But the new generation of marketplace platforms are not RTB platforms, instead they’re platforms that automate direct deals at scale. And if you’re seeing only remnant inventory, you’re using the wrong marketplace. The new marketplaces offer premium inventory, with spots available during quality programming, including prime time hits and major sporting events.
- Myth: TV is too hard to buy.
Reality: Again, not anymore. Buy-side marketplace platforms for broadcast TV automate transaction processes, significantly reducing the time and effort required to buy TV spots. With automated marketplaces, buying TV spots can be as easy as buying digital ads.
Traditional TV ad buying has always been heavily reliant on existing relationships with TV stations or networks, requiring an excessive amount of manual, back and forth communications, primarily by telephone and email. The process could take as many as 30 steps and weeks or even months of negotiation to complete a deal, from the initial avail request to the airing of the first spot, to makegood delivery, invoicing, and payment.
With an automated marketplace, marketers no longer need to start with, “What’s available?” Instead, they can start with this is how much I want to pay for 1000 impressions (CPM goal), this is my max budget, and this is the audience I want to reach, in these markets. The marketplace then leverages automation to match the marketer’s criteria with available TV inventory. A good marketplace will even automatically optimize the campaign in-flight and include all spots, on all stations, on a single invoice.
TV advertising is extremely effective – that’s why advertisers continue to spend upwards of $20 billion annually on broadcast TV alone. And with marketplace technology, broadcast TV advertising is more accessible and easier to buy than ever before. Smart marketers are finding TV advertising options to fit their budgets and meet campaign goals, allowing them to connect with their target audiences in specific markets or nationwide to build brand awareness and drive revenue.
Brian Thoman – Managing Director, WideOrbit Marketplaces
Brian joined WideOrbit as a software engineer in 2007, rising through the ranks to become Technical Product Manager, Senior Director of Engineering, VP Programmatic, and most recently, Managing Director of WideOrbit Marketplaces, including ZingX™, the only buy-side platform offering direct access to inventory from broadcast TV stations using WideOrbit’s premium sell-side exchange, WO Marketplace. Brian led the team that built and shipped the first of WideOrbit’s online media buying and selling platforms in 2012, and our Marketplace platforms have been his passion and focus ever since.
[Editor’s note: This is a contributed article from WideOrbit. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]
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