TV advertising isn't what it used to be. The rise of ad-free platforms like Netflix have forced advertisers to find new ways to use their budgets to reach the crowd.
So, what does that mean for the future of television advertising? Is it the beginning of the end for ads on TV?
The truth is that the future of television ads will be more of an evolution than an extinction. There are challenges and significant changes, for sure, and marketers and brands need to adapt if they want to survive. For example, Samba TV research found that linear TV viewership hit a two-year low in Q3 2021, but the quarter was actually a breakout period for linear advertising.
People are still watching TV, and when considering the future of advertising, the advertiser’s challenge is to find them in the most effective, engaging way possible.
TV ad revenue vs. digital ad revenue
The latest Samba TV State of Viewership Report, shows that linear viewership was down in Q3 year-over-year, but that’s to be expected, given that many people were home in Q3 2020 and may have had their TVs running more often as they watched the news. This is especially true given the presidential election that was approaching at the time.
But look at the numbers compared to the last non-presidential election year (or the last “normal” year) and there’s a different story. The daily percentage of households watching linear TV is down 10% in Q3 2021, compared to the same period in 2019. But the total linear minutes watched is actually higher, by 17%. This shows that even though fewer households are watching linear, those that are watching are actually watching more linear content than before.
So what does this portend for the future of TV advertising? Well, we may have actually already seen it. Nearly every ad vertical saw big increases in linear advertising impressions compared to Q2 2021, as advertisers looked to take advantage of viewing habits to reach linear-committed audiences.
Putting budget to work
Once armed with metrics about TV viewership, the task ahead is to put them to good use. It’s great that linear-loyal audiences are watching more TV, because advertisers shouldn’t have any challenge reaching this portion of their audiences. The key factor is that they have to ensure that they are properly capping their ads and aren’t oversaturating this audience with messages, which ultimately results in wasted spend.
Then there’s the matter of the audience that isn’t watching linear TV. Advertisers can’t abandon this segment of their audience, so it’s not wise for any brand to buy solely on linear. The next question is about how to reach this audience. Yes, streaming viewership is up, but many of the most popular streaming platforms offer ad-free subscriptions.
That doesn't mean that those audiences are unreachable - it simply means that they are unreachable through their Connected TV (CTV) platforms of choice.
Advertisers need a bevy of viewership insights to understand their target audience’s viewership behaviors, and then they need to use those insights to make informed buying decisions. The future of TV advertising isn’t necessarily a TV-only approach, but a combination of TV and digital targeting in order to reach an audience with scale and efficiency.
The advent of CTVs and over-the-top (OTT) streaming makes it easier to reach elusive audiences when they do watch ad-supported content. These advances brought data-driven advertising to TV and allowed a much more effective analysis of viewership behavior and the generation of richer data. For example, advertisers can now show ads per household based on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information.
And when advertisers know that their target audience doesn’t watch ad-supported TV, they can build out digital and mobile ad plans to reach these households by leveraging TV data.
How Samba TV can help your ad efforts in the future of television
One of the biggest problems with today's advertising – whether on TV or digital – is that it can be difficult to reach users across devices. More and more people begin watching a show on their home TV, switch to their mobile phone or tablet while commuting, and then perhaps finish on their laptop.
To effectively measure these situations, you'd need all devices to synchronize with each other. Unfortunately, with different streaming platforms and OTT devices, this can be very difficult or limited.
Not with Samba TV.
Samba TV is an opt-in technology that's installed directly on users' TVs and devices. It can read what's shown on screen, pixel by pixel, and determine what show, film, or even video game the person is consuming. By leveraging Samba TV’s core automatic content recognition (ACR) technology, advertisers can identify any type of TV viewer, target them based on how and when they consume TV, and then engage them on their phone, tablet, PC, or TV in a privacy-compliant manner.
The result of this process is rich viewership behavior and in-depth demographic information. This TV audience data allows Samba TV to recommend shows to the viewer and serve them only relevant ads they'll respond to.
Samba TV is helping write the future of advertising on TV, and the future of television in general. The TV ad future is bright indeed.
For more TV insights and innovation, start working with Samba TV. We are a trusted source of truth for TV viewership. Discover how we can transform the way you connect with audiences today.