Driving Desirable Digital Behaviors with TV Advertising

December 6, 2010

Things are not always what they seem. Two TV ads score the same—in copy testing or in market—so they’re equally effective, right? Not always.

TV: Driver of Consumer Digital Experiences

TV ads don’t just deliver awareness, message recall, etc. They drive behaviors—some of which are digital–and good for your brand.

Cross Platform Ad Effectiveness

Marketers increasingly want to understand how advertising works across mediums—particularly TV and Digital. Some of the more frequent questions I hear from CMO’s are the following:

  • What’s the value of a Facebook fan?
  • What’s the role of search in the customer journey?
  • How I use the web to drive greater engagement with consumers?
  • How can I drive more word of mouth and buzz for my brand?

These are all great digital questions. And lots of people have tried to answer them with digitally focused analysis—some effectively, some not.

Building Brands & Online Buzz

Another Way to Think About TV Ad Effectiveness

Here’s a different tack:  what if we analyzed these questions, not from a digital only perspective, but from a TV advertising perspective? Or, to say it differently, what if we were to ask the question as follows:

“What role does TV advertising play in driving desirable digital behaviors?”

TV & Digital Viewing Behavior

This has been a tough question to answer. Who’s going to keep a diary of what they watch on TV and then the myriad of things they do on-line? The fact is that our understanding of TV and Digital viewing behavior has been mostly limited to knowing how many people did what.

Just as important is understanding not only what people are doing, but in what sequence. And after viewing what ads? New single source viewing data opens up new possibilities for understanding media behavior:  it’s now possible to observe (with viewers permission) both what they watch on TV and what they then do on-line.

Next Generation TV Ad Effectiveness

So, back to the opening question. Two TV ads score the same—in copy testing or in market—so they’re equally effective, right? The answer: not always. Why?

Here are 4 new ways that TV advertising can drive positive digital behaviors.

1.  Drive Consumers to Your Facebook Fan Page – Many brands have embraced Facebook and are building Fan pages as opposed to their own branded websites. They see the advantage of “social” currency and a key objective is building the number of Facebook fans.

TV advertising has a role to play here:  more effective ads can drive more consumers to your brands fan page than less effective (or no) ads. Seen in this light, TV can play an essential role in your digital plans–even when the messaging doesn’t explicitly have a call to web action.

Facebook Fan Pages & Brands

2.  Drive Consumers to Search for Your Brand – Companies across all industries have embraced search, even in CPG, and for good reason. It works. Of course, paid search costs real money. So, how to drive more organic search for your brand? Well, one way is with your TV advertising. What portion of consumers seeing your TV ad go on-line and search for your brand?

3.  Drive Consumers to Your Brand Web Site – Like Facebook Fan Pages, many brands have their own website to engage and deepen the relationship with consumers. Question: is your TV advertising driving consumers to your website? Which ads are more versus less effective in doing so?

4.  Drive Consumers to Talk About Your Brand – Research from Keller-Fay has shown that approximately 1/3 of word of mouth is about TV advertising. How effective is your TV ad at driving word of mouth? Are two TV ads which score equally well on traditional ad effectiveness metrics driving different conversation levels about your brand? If so, one is clearly more valuable than the other (assuming the conversations are positive).

Capital One Mascot Challenge: Driving Consumers to Website

Driving Desirable Digital Behaviors

All of the above represent new ways of thinking about TV ad effectiveness. Traditional measures of TV advertising performance around breakthrough and branding will continue to be important.

But increasingly, Marketers need to think about how TV advertising drives other behaviors—particularly digital ones—that benefit their brands.

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3D Advertising Meets TV – Will Brands Benefit ?

September 27, 2010

“Wow, dad, that was way cool!”

That was the reaction of one of my kids after seeing Toy Story 3 in 3D at our local movie theater. What if your TV ads could get the same reaction? And more to the point, with 3D TV’s imminent arrival, could they? 

3D TV: A Reality?

3D TV – What We Know

Consumers are very familiar with 3D, based primarily on their experiences at theme parks and the movie theater. However, in-home penetration of 3D TV’s is still nascent, and if you’re like me, you’ve yet to meet the friend who has actually shelled out money for one. 

Yet, we do know something about how consumers think about 3D TV. In a recent joint Nielsen / Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing research study (disclosure: I work for Nielsen), we learned the following about consumers’ views of 3D TV: 

  • 48% said they were more engaged in a show when watching 3D programming
  • 42% said they would watch more TV if they had 3D
  • 77% said 3D TV is well suited for specialty programming like sports and movies

3D TV: Sports Programming

3D Adoption Barriers

All of this sounds great, but the study also uncovered barriers to adoption. Not surprisingly, barriers included the cost of a 3D TV set, the special glasses required, and the current lack of 3D programming. Cost and content will likely be addressed over time as scale production brings down cost and increased penetration drives more 3D programming. 

But the glasses? A real issue. Specifically, fully 89% of consumers said they didn’t like the glasses because they impede their ability to multi-task while watching TV. 

Glasses: 3D TV Adoption Barrier?

3D Ads

Ads in 3D have been around for a few years, although few people have actually seen them. 

Sobe Lifewater and Dreamworks‘ Monsters vs. Aliens both aired 3D ads in the 2009 SuperBowl. And, more recently, ESPN convinced Gillette, Sony and Pixar to produce 3D ads for the new ESPN 3D network

But, I’m not aware of any 3D ad testing that would tell us anything meaningful about how 3D ads perform versus their 2D counterparts. 

Potential 3D Ad Impact

Having said this, here are a few first thoughts about the potential of 3D advertising: 

1.  3D ads will deliver more impact than 2D ads. This is because: 

  • 3D programming is more immersive and engaging. The Nielsen research outlined above shows that many people find 3D programming much more engaging. Also, real world experience shows that the same ad scores better in cinema than it does on a home TV set. The size and scale of the cinema experience makes it more immersive, and therefore, the ads are also more effective. The same will likely be true of 3D ads.
  • There will be fewer distractions. 3D requires special glasses (at least in its current form). And special glasses reduce consumer’s ability to multi-task while watching TV and your ads. We already know that the same ad scores better in on-line video than on TV in the current environment. At least part of the reason for this, in my opinion, is that people watch on-line programming in a “lean forward” manner while watching TV in a “lean back” mode—with all of the inherent distractions therein (e.g. kids, dogs, spouses, etc.). 3D glasses will reduce multi-tasking, increase attentiveness, and improve ad performance.

2. Ad performance differences by genre will increase. If consumers watch 3D TV disproportionately for special programming like Sports and Movies, these genres will outperform other genres for TV ad performance, all things being equal. We already know that ad performance for a given category and brand can and usually does differ by genre. 3D TV has the potential to further amplify these genre effects. 

3. Emotion and Action Driven Ads will be Stand-Outs. Neural research has shown that TV is better for communicating emotion than PC or Mobile mediums. 3D promises to take this a step further thru its immersive nature. Brands with strong emotional benefit messaging are likely to play especially well. The same will be true for brands which can deliver action based benefits—cars, sports products and other action driven categories are likely to be winners in the 3D world of ads. 

3D TV: Emotional Ad Brand Communication

3D TV Ads – My Take

At the risk of being labeled a Luddite, I’m still skeptical about the adoption of 3D TV. The glasses are a real barrier. But who knows—new technologies are already promising 3D without them, although they are not without their own limitations. But, all manner of things that people have been skeptical about, including Facebook and YouTube, turned out to be huge. 

3D is yet another potential factor in an array of factors—e.g. program content, placement, form factors (TV vs. PC vs. Mobile, etc.), and now 3D—that will likely impact your brand building and communications effectiveness. 

Marketers can look at this panoply of choices as complicated and bewildering, or as I would prefer–the future golden age of advertising. Or, to put it in my son’s lingo: 

Wow, those ads are way cool!

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