Convergent TV advertising is finally coming into its own as the percentage of linear and digital viewers come into balance. And new technologies, such as addressable and data-driven linear TV, are showing profitable results and experiencing growth.
Convergent TV gets your message on all TV screens using emerging technologies. You can cost-effectively reach your target audience of modern viewers because data-enabled measurement now brings actionable insights, enabling more precise targeting than traditional demographic methods alone.
Increasing numbers of advertisers are experiencing the benefits of a convergent TV ad strategy that puts them in front of both traditional viewers and cord-cutters. And neither group is likely to disappear soon.
Understanding the Current Convergent TV Landscape
The trend toward viewers consuming more digital TV content at the expense of linear viewership is clear. In terms of viewing time, an Intelligence Insider study released in February 2023 forecast that digital will surpass linear for the first time in 2023.
Although the percentage of U.S. households subscribing to pay TV has declined by nearly half since 2014, over 60 million U.S. families still watch it. However, there are also over 60 million households without pay TV. Many more viewers keep a foot in each camp, consuming both online and broadcast television, which can also be satellite or cable content.
Understanding some terminology before diving into the how-to’s of convergent TV advertising may avoid confusion about the current landscape. Linear or traditional TV means over-the-air, cable, and satellite. One of its big attractions is that broadcasts are free to anyone with a TV.
OTT (over-the-top) video comes via the internet and can be ad-supported or use the subscription model. Content streams onto ordinary TVs using technology like Fire Stick, Roku, smart TVs, smartphones, and computers. Popular platforms include YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
The reasons for the current balance between linear and digital are simple. Digital is cheaper and more convenient because viewers can watch what they want when they want.
However, linear remains popular as some viewers resist changing their consumption habits. Also, networks and their production companies have the resources and access to produce content that digital cannot always offer, such as live sports.
Everyone Loves Free
Although people are willing to pay for some digital ad-free content through subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, everyone still loves free content.
YouTube has 246 million free users in the U.S. who watch advertising-based video on demand (AVOD). Comparing that to the 27.1 million premium YouTube subscribers in the same region shows that nearly 90% prefer AVOD.
Understanding the trends and consumer behavior driving the statistics makes it clear that convergent TV advertising is the best path forward for advertisers who don’t want to leave big holes in their strategy.
The Purpose of a Convergent TV Advertising Approach
A convergent TV ad strategy enables you to deliver your message to all TV screens. It also empowers you to reach key viewer groups. The result is a more efficient, tailored marketing approach across media channels, devices, and viewing times.
Convergent TV merges digital advertising targeting with linear TV content in a balanced system to create a buying model that’s an optimal ad exchange instead of traditional open market ad buying and selling.
The future is a converged TV advertising strategy unifying your efforts. True convergent TV unites traditional linear, connected TV (CTV), and OTT services displaying mid-stream ads to video viewers.
One of the most critical benefits of a converged advertising strategy is avoiding the oversaturation that leads to ad blindness and wasted ad dollars. Digital technologies let you know to whom you’ve served ads — and when. You avoid showing the same ad to the same consumers on different platforms as they click around in the convergent TV landscape.
Provides a Holistic Approach To Reach a Large Audience
The holistic approach of convergent advertising combines different channels and tactics that reach and engage consumers at multiple touchpoints. It seeks to create a seamless, consistent customer experience across channels, devices, and platforms.
This unified approach to planning can encompass more than TV. It may boost effectiveness and profitability to include email, display, social media, search, and content marketing to build a cohesive, integrated customer journey that reaches a larger audience with more targeted messages to grow brand loyalty and increase conversions holistically.
Works to Create a Unified Ad Experience
Technology is recreating TV, resulting in the evolution of consumption options that give viewers more choices than ever regarding time, devices, platforms, and locations. This fragmentation means marketers need a converged ad market to reach scattered viewers.
A unified view enables marketers to understand how cross-platform campaigns work and discover actionable insights to engage the right audience wherever it is.
While the benefits of using a convergent TV advertising strategy are so clear that most advertisers are making the shift, there are still significant obstacles because convergent TV is so new.
Challenges of Convergent TV
Convergent TV’s downsides center mostly around growing pains as providers and buyers consider how to maximize returns from new technologies already producing measurable results.
It’s a Work in Progress
Many convergent TV advertisers struggle with the fragmented market. They find it challenging to track campaigns and incorporate comprehensive measurement across so many channels and platforms. Finding consistent success with ad buys is challenging without precise, up-to-date information.
Fortunately, proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning technology does exist that brings analytics together. Using them, you’ll be able to glean actionable insights in multiple campaigns on one dashboard, making effective upfront planning possible.
Advertisers have traditionally relied on demographic data for upfront planning. Now, first-party data is available that is transforming linear TV ad buys into a model closer to the digital ad markets.
Perhaps of even greater significance, data-driven linear (DDL) TV enables alignment with other channels. Digital TV, social, search, and content marketing can work together more holistically.
Upfront planning can include your entire marketing calendar, bringing it together in a coordinated effort that engages consumers with a unified brand message across platforms and channels.
Data-enabled converged analytics makes constant improvements feasible by giving marketers and agencies real-time insights that make intelligent buys consistently profitable.
How To Make the Most Out of Your Convergent Advertising Investment
It’s easy to get caught up in the exciting possibilities a truly convergent TV ad strategy opens up and lose sight of what we’ve learned through years of digital marketing instead of melding those proven techniques with new TV technology. These are some best practices you should ensure you continue to apply in your campaigns.
Focus on Personalization
The phenomenal success of email marketing is rooted in the personalized segmentation of audiences into buckets defined by measurable characteristics. Addressable TV (ATV) enables you to do the same. You can drill down as deep as you want to go. DDL lets you scale personalization to deliver personalized ads or ad pods to data-defined groups.
Use Audience Insights To Make Adjustments to Your Campaigns
Forgetting about the gains you can realize from using audience insights to optimize your data-driven linear TV ad spend leaves money on the table. McKinsey reports that marketers using DDL generated by set-top boxes and smart TVs can increase ad performance by up to 30%.
Pay Attention to Critical Trends
The trend towards cord-cutting continues to expand the digital ad market and give impetus to new content production companies like Amazon Prime and Netflix. At the same time, resistance to the digital trend among older viewers presents advertisers with a situation demanding a convergent TV ad strategy.
Always Let the User Know the Challenges Your Product Solves
Pain points and benefits are the cornerstones of successful advertising. No amount of high tech changes the inescapable fact that consumers want solutions to their problems. Remembering this as you create campaigns, segment audiences, and study analytical data will help focus your efforts.
Comparing Convergent TV to Other Channels
Understanding what channels are available to advertisers and the benefits and limitations of each compared to convergent TV will help guide your decisions regarding what will garner the best results for your ad budget.
We know convergent TV merges digital video targeting with linear TV to get your message on more screens. But what about advanced TV, addressable TV, and digitally driven linear?
Advanced TV is an umbrella term that means all non-traditional TV. It includes:
- Connected TV: CTV is any TV set connected to the internet, which enables it to play streaming digital content.
- Over-the-top: OTT refers to media content available through the internet. Today, consumers can get digital streaming from providers like Netflix and Hulu in addition to linear programming. This creates challenges for advertisers.
- Addressable TV: ATV is the most targeted, sophisticated way for you to reach individual consumers wherever they are in the TV landscape.
The technologies of addressable TV allow advertisers to micro-segment audiences. You can serve different ads or ad pods to different viewers watching the same program or using the same navigation screen. This allows micro-targeting based on individual behavior.
While addressable TV is undoubtedly a game changer and the direction advertising is moving toward, it does have growing pains as advertisers and providers work out how to implement it best. Challenges include:
- Limited time available
- Very precise targeting, excluding possible buyers
- High expense
- Limitations of scale
Scaling to reach mass audiences is what linear TV does so well, but advertising to the masses who are not possible buyers is wasteful. Enter data-driven linear TV.
Data-Driven Linear TV
Rather than targeting impressions to individual households like addressable TV does, DDL indexes custom audiences. You can reach a high number of targeted viewers in your industry in one buy.
DDL goes beyond the old linear TV ad model of audience targeting based on age and gender. It uses specific interests, behavior, and purchase data for more precise segmentation, increasing ad effectiveness.
McKinsey states that advertisers not using DDL are missing out on a significant opportunity when they could increase returns on linear TV ad buys by up to 30%.
Improve Performance With the Right Partners
Partnering with the right advertising partners can bring all the benefits of reaching your targeted audience in today’s fragmented advertising landscape. You’ll be able to negotiate the inevitable challenges effortlessly because you have an experienced guide with a proven track record.
A unified solution can take you beyond individualized channels and siloed tactics into a holistic strategy that encompasses the entire digital ecosystem. You can optimize and measure every audience interaction across CTV, native, search, and social to gain measurable performance increases.
At AUDIENCEX, our experts can successfully execute the most challenging campaigns by accessing omnichannel data and media with unbiased recommendations from 24+ enterprise-level platforms. Seamless integration with our highly experienced strategy, analytics, and media buying teams enables you to deliver powerful results across industries for your brand or clients.
Our teams create custom acquisition strategies to build brands and increase market share by shaping omnichannel solutions and providing unified reporting. With proprietary technologies and custom solutions for media, targeting, data science, impactful creative, and powerful analytics we take the guesswork out of ad buys, so you can confidently employ scalable solutions.
AUDIENCEX has developed the strategic expertise you need by managing thousands of campaigns encompassing every channel and vertical. Our AI machine learning technology continually analyzes the major social, search, and programmatic platforms to bring you a genuinely unified strategy that goes far beyond any single channel to encompass the entire digital landscape. You’ll see meaningful engagement with your audience wherever and whenever they view a screen, whether on display, video, search, social, native, CTV, or beyond. And with a seamless dashboard with cross-channel reporting and analytics, you’ll always know how every campaign is performing. To learn more about how we can support your agency or brand, reach out for a free consultation today.
More Insights into Convergent TV
Join AUDIENCEX and our partners at Cannella Media for our webinar, Unified TV Marketing Across a Fragmented Landscape, to learn more about bringing linear, streaming, and digital together into one holistic strategy.