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The End Of TV Ad Waste

Despite the growing presence of digital platforms, TV remains the most effective advertising medium. More than 304 million people make up the 2018 U.S. TV audience, and the average American still tunes in for around 4 hours of TV viewing a day. For advertisers, it’s a powerful marketing channel – one capable of unmatched reach and, thanks to the rise of second-screens, a major driver of digital response.

Ad waste is the money lost when ads aren’t seen by target audiences – and it costs advertisers billions each year. For TV, many advertisers believe ad waste is an unavoidable consequence for being able to reach a large audience.

Given the enduring influence and effectiveness of TV advertising, it’s remarkable that some in the industry continue to accept “ad waste” as a necessary cost of doing business. Ad waste is the money and resources lost when an ad isn’t seen by the specific audience for which it was intended.

For TV spots, an advertiser traditionally buys an untargeted, mass audience with the potential that millions of viewers will see its spot. But, in reality, the majority of those viewers will either not see the ad or see it and not engage with the brand. While some argue that this wide-net approach is good for brand building; for advertisers, where the KPI is to grow sales at the lowest possible cost, it’s highly ineffective.

Today’s linear TV is now a performance-driven channel, one that can be measured and optimized in real-time (just like digital). Advances in data analytics mean that advertisers no longer have to rely on wide-net TV strategies.

The New School Of Thought For Tv Advertising

Brand awareness aside, why do some advertisers accept ad waste? It’s because they are operating under the assumption that TV can’t be measured at a granular level or optimized in a timely, accurate way. And who can blame them for thinking that way? Many still measure TV with rating data, received weeks after campaigns air.

Here lies one of the biggest myths around TV: that it can’t be measured or optimized in the same way as digital. But it can. Brands that want attributable sales – and not only increased awareness – can make their TV budget work smarter and harder by reaching target audiences at the places and times they’re most likely to respond.

Advertisers need to change their perceptions of TV, and leverage data analysis to plan and optimize campaigns based on real-world responses and actions generated from TV spots.

The Role Of Data

Advertisers now have access to timely TV performance measurement and the insights needed to optimize ad campaigns. By analyzing day-of spot and response data (from customer touchpoints like call centers, SMS, apps, search, web/mobile, etc.), advertisers can understand what’s working and what’s not regarding programs, days, dayparts, networks, genres and creatives. This information can be used to improve the efficiency of both current and future campaigns to drive the greatest response.

Data is giving TV advertisers more understanding and control over their campaigns, while also helping to optimize TV spend. By identifying high-value spots, as well as those that fail to perform, advertisers get a data-backed view of how TV will work for them in the future – and use that information to buy media that will drive the best possible results.

Right People, Right Places, Right Times

The bottom line is that TV is still the most effective marketing channel – but now it’s more powerful than ever. Today, advertisers have access to the data to reach their target audiences with tailored messages, accurately know who’s watching and when, measure the impact of advertisements and optimize ads – even when they’re still on air.

For years, TV advertisers didn’t have these capabilities, so ad waste became an accepted issue. But most brands simply don’t have the budget for wide-net TV advertising – and the ad waste that comes with it. In a day and age when people have scores of options to consume content, advertisers need to make TV work better for them: reaching the right audiences, in the right places and at the right times to drive maximum response and increase sales.

To learn more about ways to combat TV ad waste, download “Put an End to TV Ad Waste.”

Kevin O’Reilly

Chief Strategy Officer