Friday, December 21, 2012

Let’s ban the word Television – part 2

In part one of this post, we highlighted the fact that despite phenomenal growth of TV channels, distribution, formats and ever cheaper high-end TV sets, growth of viewing is still more or less at a stand-still (we showcased a young adult population – tomorrow’s generation, or actually today’s and tomorrow’s generation).

And all of this pre-Apple TV. Because it seems to be common knowledge that Apple intends to enter the crowded field with hardware as well perhaps sometime in 2013.

In this second part, we will examine where to take your dollars instead, or actually first.

Here is a hint:

And this is not just a trend in the Western (developed) world, but equally elsewhere:

So here are the new rules when planning video (NOT TV):

1.       Change your mindset

The first major shift you need to make in your thinking is this: TV is the icing on the cake in your media mix, not the scaffolding that holds everything else up.

In order to reach your consumer, especially any audience under 40, your first budget port of call is online. I always advocate a basic layer of search before you do anything else – year round. This means you also need a search destination, which should be a website and a Facebook page (in China, choose the equivalents).

Now that we have the basics in place, we are hunting for our audience. And this is no different than planning an old fashioned TV schedule. You’re looking for eyeballs, and assuming you are a mass distributed national brand, you will have a lot to choose from. The most cost-efficient way of buying eyeballs is buying online video eyeballs. You will be able to afford significant amounts of well targeted, time and content relevant eyeballs.

Below is a comScore chart for the US showcasing that there are many options to find an audience. As this data is a year old, I can only assume things have moved since. YouTube has launched over 150 dedicated content channels, and I am sure this has impacted their delivery. I bet comScore or its local equivalent in your market can produce the same data for you:

Do not buy TV just yet. First get your online buys in order, then add TV as icing on the cake during those campaigns that need propping up or further/wider (less precise!) exposure.

Your total video mix, including the online basics, will look something like this (totally hypothetical):

And the mix translates to the following – hypothetical – online & video budget mix:

Yes, TV still makes up almost 50% of the budget. But only when it is deemed necessary, which is during the key campaign periods. The larger amount of money is spent on Always On.

2.       Don’t change your planning parameters, change what you buy

As mentioned, online video comes in many forms and depending on who you are, what you are trying to communicate and when you are trying to do this, you should pull together your mix of channels, day-parts, content mix, etc. See? That sounds remarkably like TV planning, doesn’t it?

Don’t forget the “where”: where will your audience be when you reach them?

Just like with TV, there is a prime-time, and the above chart shows you weekday viewing habits in Q1 of 2012. This chart also gives you an indication as to what the viewing environment might be. From the chart above we could conclude that daytime viewing is more work/study related as the main platform is a traditional computer. In the evening, the tablet/mobile platform takes over, suggesting viewing happens on-the-go, and most likely not tethered to a desk.

To add more complexity but also further opportunity for better targeting (and therefore higher relevance and engagement) we should dig a little deeper on the platforms used to watch your content. This will help in selecting both the appropriate reach vehicle but especially the kind of message you should use (content: meet context!).

Ultimately, you should mix time of day with platform to decide which form of content makes most sense: long form? Call to action? Entertaining or informational? Etcetera.

3.       And change how you buy

Finally, it is time to start buying. Here the options are also multiple, and again depend on your audience, the type of message, the time, place and device it will be seen on, etc.

Some might be anxious that online video is – even worse than TV -  a medium that is easily avoided, clicked away or even ignored. The data suggests otherwise:

Obviously, length (and probably even more so creative strength) impacts this data:

But here is a wonderful extra benefit: most online video networks and sellers now offer, at a premium, the option to only pay for those people who actually completed the whole video. In other words, if your video is 30 seconds long, you don’t pay for anyone who has not watched the complete 30 seconds. I would urge you to try and negotiate similar conditions with your TV networks. Good luck - it won't happen of course.

The industry is quickly shifting from “opportunity to see” to “guaranteed delivery”. And the added benefit is that more and more of these viewers have registered profiles on the platform they are using to view your video, meaning you know a bit more than age/sex/education, which is about as detailed as most TV ratings get.

All of this means that waste is now limited to less than 50% of your budget (based on my hypothetical plan shared above) finally putting to bed John Wannamaker’s famous quote of "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

Move over TV. There's a new sheriff in town.

Continue to the series epilogue here (I couldn't resist using TV program language...).

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