One of the biggest changes in the paid advertising space over the last five years has been the increasing share of dollars spent on OTT (over the top), online video pre-roll/mid-roll and social video ads as a top-of-the-funnel alternative/companion to TV advertising. As this has happened, many company marketing leaders have had the following questions on their minds:
- Do we still need TV?
- Are the new options as effective as television?
- What is the quality of the audience watching the videos online?
- How should social video advertising play into an overall marketing strategy?
- Should we transition our dollars to digital (and risk losing the brand equity we’ve built)?
- Why should we fix something that’s not broken?
These are all great questions to consider as you build your media plans, and there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer … so let’s take a closer look at each medium and what makes it effective.
Why Broadcast/Cable TV/OTT?
Without a doubt, TV is still the loudest megaphone you can use, and it reaches the most people in the shortest period of time, building an immediate level of brand equity quickly. If your target audience is broad by age, gender and behavior, there will be very little waste by using TV as your main platform. Plus, your message will reach more than just your targeted audience, getting your brand’s message in front of people who might not be your target, but may have referral power with family/friends who could be. (Adweek)
The recent trend of cord-cutting with broadcast/cable TV has led to an increased share of dollars being spent on OTT, which is any channel with commercials via apps, such as Hulu, Sling TV, Amazon Video, channel-specific apps, etc. OTT can be targeted at the DMA (designated market area) level to match TV, or it can be targeted further by demo inside a market, making it an effective complement to broadcast and cable TV.
Is Online Video Pre-Roll/Mid-Roll as Effective as Television?
This is probably the question we’re asked most often when talking to clients about where to place their money. And the answer truly is, it depends on your specific audience and objectives. For example, if you’re a large company with a big service area and a matching budget, TV remains the best way to blanket your service areas with great reach and frequency.
But, if you’re a smaller company with spread-out locations that only serve consumers in a five-mile radius around each location, you may not be able to afford TV, and it may not be the best fit for you. With a more limited budget, you run the risk of wasting dollars on reaching consumers who are outside of your service area. This scenario makes running digital video much more cost-effective to reach your target audience. Additionally, with online video, the ad is shown specifically to someone watching, as opposed to a mass showing, and each ad that’s served is tracked through percentage of completion, which provides key insight data on who watched it, for how long and what they did next.
How Does Social Video Advertising Fit In?
There are approximately 214 million Facebook users and over 105 million Instagram users in the U.S. alone. Facebook owns Instagram, and together, they have a robust video ad platform. Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest also do a great job of serving video to consumers. Social video ads are served to a very targeted audience, making them cost-effective to get a brand lift with the target consumer. Videos can be educational, product-focused, lifestyle-themed, etc., and can have benchmarks specific to the content, such as cost-per-completed video view, cost per click (website visits) and cost per purchase (attribution). Video ads in social platforms are viewed similarly to native advertising, as the videos fall right into organic content on the platform.
Social video can be used as a stand-alone video tactic if you have a very limited budget, but it works best in conjunction with digital video and TV, ensuring that you’re reaching consumers across a variety of devices and platforms — wherever they are, whenever they are there.
What’s the Bottom Line for Your Company?
In a world with no budget restrictions, serving video ads across all of these platforms at the same time would be ideal. The more touchpoints that expose your brand to your target audience, the better! But, for most companies, that’s not an option. To figure out what the best video medium is for you, take a look at the big picture, including who you are, what your budget is, who your target audience is, and whether the mass reach and cost of doing TV effectively is appropriate for you.
If you’re not sure, or are just starting out, consider social and digital as an option before spending large amounts of money on TV, as they can be started with small budgets and stopped, changed or ramped up easily and quickly. From there, with a better understanding of how your market receives information, you can consider adding TV to your marketing mix.
Need help navigating paid media for your brand? The Brandon Agency can help with all of your digital and traditional media placement needs — contact us to get started.