Guest Post: The sky’s the limit when you take an agile approach to TV advertising

Guest Post: The sky’s the limit when you take an agile approach to TV advertising

TVSquared’s Meg Garnett Coyle says travel brands can reap rewards from adapting to changing viewing habits of consumers

Meg Garnett Coyle, vice president, communications at TVSquared, says travel brands can reap rewards from adapting to changing viewing habits of consumers 

While travel brands have always responded to the trends consumers set, they must also start following their lead when it comes to media flexibility.

Limited by pandemic challenges, audiences broadened their TV viewing horizons: taking in a range of linear, time-shifted and streaming services.

As well as making borderless consumption the norm, this converged landscape offers greater opportunities for versatile engagement—if brands are ready to adapt.

According to recent estimates, enthusiasm for rejuvenating TV efforts is growing.

After major disruption saw travel spots fall 100% below average for 120 leading brands in early 2020, the past 12 months have brought significant boosts in activity, with bolder ambitions for the near-future.

In fact, estimates predict industry ad spend will expand by 35% through 2022. Trajectories, however, may still hit some turbulence.

For brands aiming to maximise TV reach and impact, enhancing agility will be vital for ensuring  campaign effectiveness and efficiency, whatever the next leg holds.

Adopting Tailored Agendas: Knowing Your Audience

Escalated uptake of IP-focused TV content has driven multiple changes beyond the increased fragmentation of the TV space.

One is more room for expanded advertising scale, with brands now able to reach audiences through a wider array of connected channels and screens, instead of exclusively via scheduled programming on traditional TV sets.

Another is the enhanced ability to do so accurately by harnessing larger stores of audience intelligence.

The soaring consumption of streaming services (ad-supported and subscription-based CTV platforms) is rapidly increasing the availability of insights into specific viewer behaviours, even down to specific households.

This means that, rather than relying on traditional TV ratings— which track the broad age and gender demographics watching a show, but not who’s engaging with specific ads — they can tap precise information about audiences’ viewing patterns and preferences to ensure ads achieve maximum, real-time relevance and stand the best chance of driving engagement.

These evolved capabilities help significantly improve efficiency, reducing the chances of wasted spend and enabling brands to hit their mark on digital channels — particularly when used with deterministic one-to-one matching that pairs ads and media opportunities most likely to reach desired audiences.

It’s also worth noting that this data allows for the additional capacity to bolster results for omni-channel TV campaigns.

Tapping granular data puts brands in a stronger position to harness the strengths of traditional and connected TV (CTV): identifying where incremental digital reach can build on a mass linear scale to supercharge reach and awareness.

Optimising campaigns in-flight with audience insights

For campaigns to remain agile, travel brands will need consistent insight into the impact TV ads are having with audiences.

Access to these ‘always-on’ insights will allow brands to review effectiveness and consistently adapt their campaigns mid-flight—both increasing the campaign’s effectiveness and ensuring maximum return on ad spend.

The continuing evolution of TV, especially its transition into a data-rich space that enables heightened addressability, has made impression-based measurement much more viable.

This gives a precise, granular view of audience response and advertising engagement, and can be used to optimise in-flight campaigns.

As the TV space continues to fragment across linear and streaming platforms, campaigns are inevitably cross-platform, meaning advertisers need a clear overview of reach and frequency to ensure campaigns can be optimised, regardless of platform.

Back when people did most of their TV viewing through linear (broadcast), estimating reach and frequency was relatively simple.

Exposure to advertisements could be estimated using an audience sample, generated using programme viewership measured in increments. But this was not a watertight, fully reliable or representative solution.

As the TV space has continued to diversify, advertisers find themselves with access to more data and platforms, so calculating frequency and reach has become a more complex task.

Having access to consistent, accurate reach and frequency insights empowers advertisers to recognise when campaign effectiveness might drop off, and when allocated spend and impressions are wasted – or even when the viewer experience might become damaged by overexposure.

Few things turn viewers off brands more than oversaturated ad breaks, and with ongoing uncertainty around travel and leisure a concern, advertisers will need to be particularly cautious about when and how often their campaigns reach viewers.

We’ve seen examples before of travel advertisers using insights to change TV advertising campaign strategy based on wider trends.

Throughout 2020, travel advertisers avoided advertising slots around news programming so that audiences wouldn’t see their messaging alongside announcements of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

With access to more granular campaign performance data that can optimise campaigns in-flight, combined with the lessons learned over the disruption of the last few years, travel advertisers are well-placed to begin taxiing for take-off once again.

The sky’s the limit – Riding out the turbulence

One of the stand-out advertising creatives that performed well throughout the pandemic was the ‘On The Beach’ campaign, which reminded travellers that what the industry sells best is hope and excitement.

Plus, with the benefits of TV advertising now abundantly clear, it’s not just travellers who can be hopeful and excited, but advertisers too.

Ultimately, while the potential for future disruption remains, travel advertisers (and the wider industry) have ridden out the worst of the turbulence, and learned the importance of flexibility and the need for data to drive and inform campaigns ‘on the fly’.

Moving forward, messaging will no doubt be different, focusing on safety measures and assurances of flexibility in rebooking or cancellation.

Brands and advertisers will need to continue to be adaptable, rolling not just with travel guideline changes but also shifts in consumer attitudes.

But by developing a better understanding of TV’s ability to offer agile, insight-led and well-optimised campaigns that enable maximum return on spend, advertisers can once again begin reaching out to audiences with renewed confidence.