“TV vs. Digital” is a headline you can probably find in any advertising publication lately. It’s a juicy topic and one that doesn’t have a clear-cut winner or loser, because they both have their place in the marketing funnel. Since the two advertising options started working together, TV has mostly filled the role of building brands by reaching the masses, while digital has been the go-to for getting targeted conversions.
Let me assure you, though, TV is no longer the stiff older sibling trying to keep up with its young, hip digital counterpart. With the adoption of internet-connected smart TVs, the line between TV and digital is blurring. Below are four elements of digital marketing that TV advertising also offers, thanks to the advanced capabilities of new technology and smart TVs.
1. Real time, device-level data
Data rules the digital world and is largely what makes digital marketing so useful, as long as it’s accurate and timely. TV has historically struggled to provide device-level, timely data. For decades, viewer metrics were difficult to gather; but new advances in data collection through smart TVs has enabled immediate data reporting.
As TV data becomes available in real time at the device level, broadcasters and advertisers can make decisions and operate in real time. For example, with real-time viewing data a broadcaster can analyze the performance of their 7 a.m. news and make decisions on what to carry through or cut in advance of the noon news. Similarly, advertisers can begin evaluating the effectiveness of their advertising efforts in real time by answering questions like, “How is my ad resonating?” and “Who is my ad resonating with?” The answers to questions like these leads us directly to the second element.
2. Dynamic content
While every content owner or advertiser loves finding an interesting trend in the numbers, the real value of data comes from how actionable it is. The odds that you have experienced dynamic content/advertising online since you opened your internet browser are extremely high. The digital world has delivered relevant content and advertising to viewers for years and this is now a reality for TV.
Consider an automobile manufacturer, for example. An automobile manufacturer could be running a number of TV ads at any given time (their basic sedan, luxury sedan, minivan, SUV, and truck). Traditionally, the advertiser would purchase spots that over-index for their target audience with the hope that homes with children see the minivan or SUV and high income homes see the luxury sedan. Thanks to real time, device-level TV data advertisers can now reach their target audience with unprecedented accuracy on a one-to-one basis, just as you would expect in the digital world.
3. Enable conversion & A/B testing
A major reason the line is blurring between digital and TV is that they are able to work more closely together than ever before. TVs are now a digital device, just like your phone, tablet, or laptop. Just as you can sync your phone and laptop, the same is true for your TV. The time is not far away that consumers will be able to interact, using their remote, with a TV ad that pushes them directly to a digital portal via the TV or to their mobile device to make a purchase.
An increase in sales is nice, but ideally you would want to track the journey that led to that sale. Conversion metrics are a staple in digital marketing and are starting to make headway in the world of TV. These metrics lead to the ability to conduct A/B testing with TV ad creative. Like the digital space, if TV ad creative A influences consumers 70 percent more than creative B, an advertiser will have the ability to act swiftly and adjust in near-real time to fully leverage creative A.
4. Lower barrier to entry
The traditional TV model hasn’t necessarily lent itself well for the little guy. A TV spot can be expensive, especially for a niche product or a localized business. Historically, these advertisers have turned to digital where they can find their target segment and avoid overspending on consumers that have little to no chance of ever becoming a customer. Through dynamic content and conversion optimization, TV becomes a reality for these advertisers. The ability to serve their TV ads to specific profiles and/or within a particular geographic region lowers the steep barrier of access to TV advertising.
A marketer’s utopia
If you polled 100 marketers and asked them to describe their marketing utopia, you’d likely get a variety of answers with some core similarities. One common thread I’d expect to find is the ability to leverage the scale and impact of television combined with the measurement and addressability of digital—the best of both worlds. Perhaps Utopia isn’t too far away?