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Four Signs TV & Digital are Converging & What to do About it

  • - Shringar Pangal
  • 3 min read

Let’s recap what we’ve learned recently on the future of TV: linear real estate is shrinking (and getting more expensive) and advertisers must therefore be more strategic with their ad dollars.

Still not convinced that TV and digital are converging? Here are four signs:

  1. How we watch TV now: The biggest sign that TV and digital are converging is how we consume content: on the big screen with our families in the evening, on a laptop later at night, and on our phones or tablets on our commutes (if you missed Game of Thrones, catch up on it before getting to work or dodge those spoilers all day long). Content consumption is almost seamless between devices.
  2. The existence of Connected TV (CTV): CTV is the baby that linear TV and digital had together. It’s like your phone in TV form, which makes it immensely easier to apply what you love about digital to TV.
  3. Even linear TV folks are expanding to cross-screen buying: If you’re looking for a way to encourage your TV and digital teams to collaborate, NCC Media’s recent news outlines that its TV platform now encompasses digital media planning and buying. If you’re in the 48% of surveyed marketers who consider the inability to plan media buys seamlessly between platforms, publishers, and networks as your biggest obstacle, this should come as great news.

    This move by NCC is consistent with what we heard from Sandy Padula, SVP at Turner, at RampUp on the Road Atlanta: “Everyone is now project based instead of platform based. If you’re on [the TV show] Claws, you’re doing Claws soup to nuts.” In our cross-screen world, the only way marketers will succeed is if they share knowledge and insights that can only improve ROI across channels and tactics.
  4. Marketers expect digital-like targetability on TV and demand addressable reach: For far too long, TV media buys were executed in service of reaching the masses (i.e. everyone. Not to be confused with mass audience, which is a large concentration of your target audience). Buying was based on ratings and/or age and gender. Now, marketers have the ability to send a TV ad to households within their target audience. The reality of addressable TV—where you and your neighbor watch the same show but see different commercials—is here.

So, what can you do about this convergence? Perhaps it’s time for us marketers to change how we think of TV—not  as a stand-alone channel or a device, but instead about the audience and how TV feeds into that customer’s journey.

Here’s one way to train your brain to think differently about cross-funnel and screen media buying:

  • Upper funnel: Who do you want to reach? How much of that audience did your linear TV buys end up actually reaching? As modern TV viewing changes and content is consumed across devices, your audience might miss your linear TV ads. You need to understand who within your target audience missed the ad and strategize on how else to reach them. Reaching those specific audiences through addressable TV buys can be the right first step.  
  • Upper to mid-funnel: As the bridge between TV and digital, CTV can provide a great solution to fill in some of those linear TV gaps by reaching cord shavers, OTT streamers, etc.
  • Mid to lower-funnel: If you agree that TV and digital are really converging, then you always need to reach your TV audiences with the right digital touchpoints as well, to keep that message consistent. You might want to think about how you get consumers to convert by reaching those exposed audiences on digital.
  • Measuring ROI: What are you defining as a conversion? Depending on your means of conversion (e.g., TV to digital, TV to digital to offline purchases, TV to digital to location conversion, etc.), you’ll need to pull in the relevant datasets and resources to understand the true ROI of your omnichannel campaigns.

As you head into the Upfronts, you’ll probably notice more solutions offering a TV+digital reach  than ever before. To ensure you are in the best position to negotiate for maximum ROI, you will need to know your audience and discover where they are first.

Click here to see how you can leverage your most valuable asset—your first party data— to better understand your audience and let the data drive your decisions.