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Sports Lift Broadcast TV

Sports lift broadcast TV but signs in viewing all point to streaming:  According to Nielsen’s September 2022 gauge report Broadcast TV viewing increased 12.4% while streaming hit a new high-water mark at 36.9% of TV usage.

 

The kickoff of the fall TV season and the return of football provided audiences with an abundance of new content in September, fueling a 2.4% rise in total TV viewing. The arrival of new broadcast programming provided the traditional lift that seen historically, but the 12.4% increase in volume from August wasn’t enough to alter the forward trajectory of streaming usage, as streaming services captured 36.9% of total TV usage.

Alongside the whopping, but perhaps not totally unexpected, 222% increase in sports viewing on broadcast channels, audiences continued to over-indulge on streaming content, resulting in yet another monthly high-water mark. Audiences also continue to expand their choice of streaming service, with YouTube hitting a new platform-best streaming record, claiming 8% of TV viewing and equaling Netflix’s July record high, Hulu securing its own record of 3.7%, and Pluto TV capturing 1% of total TV, enabling it to be showcased outside of the “other streaming” category. HBO Max also gained 9.9% in volume thanks to House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, pushing its share of TV to 1.3%.

In several cases, increases in volume did not affect total TV share. For example, Amazon Prime Video usage increased 3.9% in September on the strength of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power and specific Thursday Night Football games, but the platform’s share of total TV remained flat at 2.9%. Similarly, Disney+ saw a 2.4% increase in volume, yet its share of total TV stayed at 1.9%.

Broadcast recorded the largest month-over-month gain, driven by the sports genre, which accounted for 25.1% of broadcast viewing. That said, broadcast’s 24.2% share in September was 7.1% lower than it was a year ago. Cable also benefited from a 40% bump in sports viewing, but the 0.4% rise in usage wasn’t enough to move cable’s share of total TV. In fact, with the other categories gaining share in the month, cable dropped 0.7 share points to finish with 33.8% of total TV, its lowest share ever reported by The Gauge. Cable viewing was 9.3% lower in September compared with a year ago.

The return of football was the true spark in September, as it provided new content across broadcast, cable and streaming. But even without sports, streaming—in all forms—continues to gain adoption, and it benefits from the emphasis that pure-play streamers and media companies alike are placing on it.

Complexity Soars

As the advertising landscape continues to evolve and fragment at breakneck speed, marketers are realizing that consumers are no longer satisfied with the status quo. Younger generations, in particular, are expecting a more contextually personalized, experience-driven online experience.  Advertisers are realizing that creating a seamless, personalized customer journey is essential for any digital marketing strategy. In turn, brands and agencies need to deliver compelling content and cross-channel initiatives to attract and retain their desired audiences.

…and the complexity of today’s marketing continues to soar.

In a world where consumers switch effortlessly between web and mobile channels and between physical and digital outlets, the levels of fragmentation and complexity are proving to be a massive obstacle for marketers, impeding true cross-channel success. And it’s only intensifying.

With the dramatic rise in connected TV adoption, the increasing influence and relevance of TikTok, the resurgence of Pinterest, a sprawling landscape of new streaming content platforms, the world of digital media is growing ever-more complex—and it’s making the job of implementing streamlined approaches across channels even harder for advertisers because everything is fragmented and disconnected.

What’s the solution?

In short, advertising automation. Automated campaign execution is ultimately an allencompassing concept covering a number of different areas. Every advertising activity has an end goal—from increasing brand awareness and lifting social engagement, to expanding lead generation and driving sales, and everything in between. Through various means, automation can help advertisers achieve those goals in the most efficient way possible.

It’s clear that all brands (of all sizes) executing a digital-first or direct-to-consumer strategy must move beyond a blanket targeting approach and, instead, create content that caters to their audience’s unique experiences and deliver it on their
preferred channel—be that Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, or elsewhere.

It’s a very pivotal moment in the advertising industry as companies answer the call to create the best systems and processes for this automation. The technology to create a holistic, automated system is there but the systems available today fall short of the need. The good news is that it’s likely we won’t have too much longer to wait.

 

Generational Marketing

For marketing messages to be successful, it’s essential that they’re tailored to the different target audiences and markets. “Generational” marketing is the term coined for segmenting and targeting markets by age rather than other demographics such as gender, location, or income.  Marketing in general and especially content marketing is more effective if the motivations, challenges, and habits of each generation are understood and the content is tailored accordingly.

Obviously, it should go without saying that generalizing thousands of people as a single homogeneous group just because they fit into the same age range is not a great strategy either. Further segmentation of the target market is almost always necessary. But beginning a marketing plan by keeping generational marketing in mind can ensure that there’s not a huge chunk of the target market being excluded from the start.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials are the current three main generations to focus on. Each generation has its own unique marketing opportunities and challenges.
  • Different generations consume different types of content online and spend their time on different platforms.
  • It’s imperative to go where the target audience is and adapt the brand voice and tone accordingly.
  • Each of the three generations has its own unique media usage and behavior.
    • Baby Boomers (1946-1964) – Traditional marketing is the norm and they tend to watch more television than younger generations, but 64% of people ages 50-64 use at least one social media site with Facebook being the most important.
    • Generation X (1965-1976) – This is the last generation who lived their childhood without computers, cellphones and the Internet being an integral part of everyday life. While tech-savvy group, they are often more comfortable using the technologies they’ve been accustomed to using since a young age. They can be suspicious or intimidated by newer social networks aimed at a younger audience.
    • Millennials (1977-1995) -This is the first generation that grew up around technology. They can’t imagine a world without the Internet and are lost without their smartphones. They’ve lived their entire childhood and youth in an “always on” world and expect instant information and gratification. This group is highly active on social media and is not loyal to any particular channel.

       

 

 

New Digital Ad Regulations

While the European Union continues to live up to being the fiercest tech regulator, here in the U.S. we could catch up if legislation named the Digital Services Act coming to a vote in Congress gets passed.  The new bill would prohibit companies that take in $20 billion or more in ad revenue from owning all the tech and marketplaces involved in both the buying and selling of those ads.  The law would require the Big Four to spin off parts of its global ad business as well as deliver higher levels of programmatic advertising transparency for advertisers and publishers. The fact that the bill has even made it to the Senate shows just how much Americans want a digital advertising industry that is more transparent and less of a black box.

So, what is the impact for us marketers using digital advertising?  First, it could lead to safer advertising environments—particularly in social media—because the internet will have less misinformation and earn more trust from consumers.  It would mean ad campaigns that are less personalized, at least based on ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, but the trade-off in favor of brand safety and a more trusting ad environment might be worth it.

It’s becoming crystal clear that consumers want more control over who can and cannot access their personal data as part of the advertising process.  One way or the other, the digital advertising industry is going to have to put a higher priority on consumer privacy.

The Metaverse

It’s getting a lot of hype lately as a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.  The Metaverse may live up to its hype with the help of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).  AR augments your surroundings by adding digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) is a completely immersive experience that replaces a real-life environment with a simulated one.  AR is now mainstream with an estimated 82% of people having used AR in the past year for things like face filters and product try-ons.  AR and VR are being seen as a way for technology to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds we live in.

Today, the metaverse is being talked about as essentially a broad shift in how we interact with technology. And that means virtual reality, augmented reality, a digital economy (yes – users will be able to create, buy, and sell goods in the metaverse), virtual identities and avatars, and much, much more.  Marketing strategists at major companies expect a growing interest in “virtual worlds” and immersive technology in the next 3-5 years, especially among younger consumers. With Gen Z and Millennials on track to take over as the largest consumer group within the next few years, it makes sense that technologies aimed toward them start establishing a firm foothold now.

Facebook’s rebrand to Meta is a huge claim to stake, and it remains to be seen if their self-declaration as a metaverse company will be seen as authentic and earned, and they’re not alone. Brands such as Gucci, Nike, Disney, and Walmart are also focused on creating virtual communities, content, assets, fashion, art, experiences, and entire worlds. As this becomes the next frontier, brands will need to rethink their narratives in three dimensions and marketers will need to embrace this emerging technology.

There is the camp that thinks the metaverse is more hype than near future because the technology is 10-15 years away versus 3-5.  There’s also the question of people having the desire to use the metaverse.  Will people want to use VR/AR to be in an office meeting? To buy their next outfit.  Metaverse detractors don’t see knowing that for quite a while.

The Last Mass Medium?

Out-of-home is back as what advertisers surmise could be the last mass medium that is also cost-efficient.  The pandemic with its shut down and remote office periods deflated outdoor’s power as a mass medium but a new survey from The Harris Poll confirms that consumers will be on the roads this spring and summer, marked by a return to commuting and plans for summer vacation

Yet, even outdoor is having its own fragmentation due to the increase in digital boards that divide advertising reach by 6-8 advertisers sharing media space on the same board.  Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is also moving into Programmatic giving it advantages to counter this fragmentation.

The appeal programmatic DOOH ads is multi-faceted. First, they are impervious to ad blockers and dwelling in non-invasive environments.  Second—and perhaps more importantly—DOOH is a major beneficiary of the cookieless future due to its alternative means of audience targeting that is not executed on a one-to-one basis but rather one-to-many. Brands employing this technology can tap into fluctuating societal, cultural, and environmental trends in real-time, and reach consumers en masse with relevant ads as they navigate their daily journeys.

It also opens up new creative opportunities, great examples of which include when Renault bought OOH inventory to promote its latest electric car whenever air quality dropped below accepted levels, or when Flonase ran DOOH campaigns anytime pollen levels rose in target areas. Brands that adopt Programmatic DOOH have an opportunity to create meaningful, head-turning experiences that leave a marked impression on consumers. There is no doubt that this channel is emerging as a compelling disruptor to brands and advertisers looking to develop their presence during uncertain times.

Cord Cutting Continues

With the worlds of TV and digital gradually coming together, more and more consumers have chosen to unplug from traditional linear TV options and embrace online streaming—a move that’s fueled the Connected TV phenomenon. Then, as the pandemic gripped the world and forced people to spend more time at home, the media landscape was set perfectly for CTV adoption to soar to new heights, and now, what was once a “nice-to-have” programmatic channel is unequivocally a “need-to-have.”

Programmatic’s penetration of the CTV arena reached a massive 70% in 2021 and it is expected to surpass 78% by 2023. However, while there is undoubtedly momentum here, there are still some obstacles to further growth. Unlike, say, mobile app advertising, where the vast majority of inventory is available within just two operating systems—iOS and Android—the CTV space is infinitely more fragmented in terms of different devices and providers where an ad could be displayed. Think streaming sticks (Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android TV), games consoles (PlayStation, Xbox), and Smart TV devices (Samsung, LG, and other manufacturers), each of which have distinct standards and advertising capabilities. In 2022 and beyond, programmatic CTV has huge potential, but to maximize campaign success, advertisers must carefully consider where they are serving their ads and which devices to embrace.

On a local market basis, maximizing quality inventory while achieving cost-effective reach of a target will continue to be challenging.  Especially when media buying qualifiers such as frequency and channel caps, dayparting and use of white lists become necessary to maximize the quality of CTV buys.

Targeting 2.0

With Chrome about to cancel third-party cookies, 2022 will be the make-or-break year for the development of new identifiers and technologies that can either reimagine the concept of tracking codes or replace them entirely. The advertising industry and its organizations must seize the opportunity to become more transparent with their audiences. Any new identity solutions must put consumers in the driving seat and empower them to control how, when, and where their data is used.

That said, there is no need to panic.  The end of targeted campaigns is not upon us. Programmatic advertising—even in the absence of many once-relied-upon persistent IDs—will continue to give media buyers access to publishers and placements, with contextual targeting likely re-emerging as an integral piece of the puzzle.

There is actually huge opportunity for savvy brands to deepen their relationships with consumers in ways cookie-based tactics never truly allowed. Recent research by Deloitte Digital exploring emotional-driven engagement revealed consumers prefer contextually sensitive brand experiences since they tap into their more immediate concerns, rather than over-relying on past behavior or browsing habits. By embracing the use of contextual data in programmatic campaigns, marketers can foster meaningful connections with consumers that inspire and frame the depth of brand loyalty and brand advocacy.

TV Most Influential

In a recent TVB study, 49% of respondents said TV was more important for awareness than all other media platforms combined. It was also tops by a wide margin in terms of influencing interest, visits to stores or websites, consideration and ultimately purchase.  TV initiates word of mouth, the study said, as well as helps ad recall in other media.

Even among those who do online searches, 89% said that TV ads influenced their search selections. Among young adults (18 to 34), 96% said TV influenced their searches.

90% of online shoppers said TV influenced their searches.

The study found that TV was the most influential for the categories of automotive, banking, furniture/bedding/carpet, legal, hospitals/urgent care/clinics, dentists/orthodontists, eye doctors/Lasik, QSR, in-store retail and online retail.

Audio Trends

Traditional radio listening flat into 2023—studies show time spent with digital audio is slightly higher than radio and that radio is at pre-pandemic listening levels as of Oct 2021.

YouTube is the most used streaming audio app —followed by Spotify and Pandora but Amazon is expected to surpass Pandora in listeners in 2022.

37% of U.S. households have smart speakers furthering the increase in streaming audio.

 90% of all podcasts are currently enjoyed at home.  Traditionally a mobile medium, the pandemic shifted podcast listening away from cars, offices, and gyms and into kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms.  Millennials listen most to podcasts.