Chase the viewer, not the spot
"Marketer’s need to stay abreast not only of technological developments but also of the way people respond to them" – Matt Haig, Author of Mobile Marketing
Once upon a time in a land far away, a lady watching TV reaches for her remote and turns down her programme. She leaves the room and goes to the telephone in the hallway. A number is scribbled down in her TV times guide, and unfolding it from her arm she picks up the phone and makes a call. 25 minutes later she returns to her chair in front of the TV. She’s missed most of her programme but that’s fine, her spirits are high after her new purchase.
Back in the day, daytime TV was considered the best environment for direct response advertising as programming was low interest, so people didn’t think twice about missing it. Most importantly the key driver of response was the telephone — specifically a corded landline. To respond, people would have to be willing to abandon their programme and leave the room to make a call or enquiry. But things have changed, do you still have a landline? For a lot of people the answer is no.
The living room has evolved and our attention is now fragmented across multiple devices. In fact, according to the latest research from GfK, 54% of people regularly using their smartphones while they watch TV.
The consumer now has more control than ever - and trust plays a vital role in brand choice. However, trust in brands has to be earned and the purchase journey is more complex than ever. We research products, read reviews, check out competitor pricing, discuss with friends and family over social media and maybe only then do we make that leap of faith… the purchase.
So if we know things have evolved, then why are we still delivering DR airtime the same as we did 10 years ago and expecting to see the same results? Our focus needs to shift away from buying cheap airtime in low-interest programming and move towards an insight driven audience-centric approach.
I’m not saying daytime delivery doesn’t work - it certainly has some benefits in enabling us to achieve cost effective cost per leads, but it can also be very limiting.
Viewers now have the ability to make a purchase instantly at anytime so we need to consider the viewing habits of the target audience first. For example, if you are selling insurance to an upmarket target audience, should you be solely buying cheap daytime spots when most of the audience will be at work? No. We should chase the viewer, not the spot.
In fact new evidence by Thinkbox, ‘TV Response: new rules, new roles’, shows that peak airtime actually drives response and can be cost effective even when taking into account the price. For some sectors, peak can drive more uplift than any other daypart.
However this will vary by audience and product sector. For example we know financial products tend to have a stronger response in the morning, which may reflect our frame of mind for getting on and doing things. Evening time is a time to relax with loved ones, think about the weekend and maybe a spot of online retail?
My point is that DRTV strategy should be product category led and more importantly the target audience. Focusing too much on individual spot performance can be damaging.
TV spot matching analysis can be a great source of insight, especially when measuring larger station performance however we know that over half of TV adverting is instant and the rest is longer term brand building. Solely optimising on spot performance could mean we close down our demand pool, limiting campaign reach and potential losing audiences who may not be in market for our brand currently but maybe at some point in the future.
We need to consider a more holistic approach to DRTV evaluation, taking in other robust data sources such as day of week, daypart, and viewing figures, to help us optimise our schedule beyond the lowest CPT and helping us reach the target audience in the most efficient and effective manner.
Then sit back and relax.