The annual NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament has grown into the second most popular multi-program sporting event for advertisers, behind only the NFL playoffs. Last year’s March Madness tournament garnered 21.3M viewers (second only to the Super Bowl). TV advertising spend is projected to be $1.13 billion, up 10% from last year, a record for the month-long event.
March Madness is also very supportive of the changing viewing habits of sports fans. The tournament is offered on multiple digital devices including tablets, laptops and desktops. In 2014, Turner Sports produced March Madness Live and reported 70 million live video streams were recorded for the duration of the tournament.
In this study, Extreme Reach Research has compiled data intelligence that illustrates which brands within dominant verticals ran the most effective March Madness ads. These insights are based on brand lift data using proprietary Extreme Reach brand effectiveness research technology.
The 87th Academy Awards commanded close to $2 million for a 30-second TV spot and reached a US television audience of 36M+. The Oscars have now become a spectacle for Hollywood, its fans and advertisers alike, offering a grand opportunity for brands to speak to a mass audience. Which brands won the night and came home with the advertising gold? Our Brand Effectiveness Study has all the answers.
In this study, we’ve compiled insights that illustrate which brands ran the most effective Oscar ads based on brand lift data.
Evolving is Key to Success as TV and Digital Video Advertising Grow Together
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that Digital Video has become one of the fastest growing channels for both media consumption and marketing budgets. In November, Nielsen reported that the audience for online video was expanding by a whopping 60% per month (Nielsen Total Audience Report). Last September, eMarketer predicted that Digital Video ad spend for 2014 would be 56% greater than 2013. If you assume that the extraordinary rise of Digital Video means TV’s days are numbered, your assumption would be incorrect. TV isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, TV ad revenues are growing significantly too. In 2014, US TV advertising was on a trajectory to grow 3.3% (more than $2 billion) to $68.54 billion. The point is both are growing, and it’s important for marketers to understand that they’re not just growing, they’re growing together. TV is becoming more like Digital and Digital Video is becoming more like TV every day.
It’s time to step back and look at TV and Digital Video advertising together. Now is the time for TV advertisers to integrate, or expand the use of, Digital Video in their video advertising strategies. Internet-connected devices are no longer just for marketing experiments. They’re absolutely a necessary part of an impactful video marketing mix and must be treated as such by any marketer who wants to connect with consumers where they actually watch video. The time has come to plan, execute and measure a single video strategy across all screens.
So how exactly do you stop treating Digital Video as if it’s the same as other Digital media (it’s not) and begin integrating it with traditional TV strategies and operational workflows?
Here are three steps marketers and agencies can take that will get things moving in the right direction, today:
Step 1 – Tear Down the Walls
Media agencies have been working in silos for decades. Broadcast teams rarely communicate with their Digital counterparts and, for the most part, that made sense—until very recently. For several years, the content and ads consumed online were very different from those consumed on television. The resulting media strategies, operational execution and measurement have been very specific to their respective environments. Different objectives and metrics meant different approaches.
The lines have blurred for consumers’ video media consumption, and marketing organizations must follow suit. It’s time to get the Broadcast and Digital Video teams in the same room. There will be immediate benefits—such as significant savings in operational costs and time — as well as massive long-term positive impacts across entire agencies, holding groups and the marketing departments of brand advertisers themselves.
Step 2 – Simplify Workflows
While some advertisers and Digital media vendors may occasionally use or recommend custom video creative or native formats for specific placements or screens, the fact remains that 9 out of 10 video ads that appear in Digital environments are originally created for and air on TV. It’s simply not cost-effective to produce unique creative for every screen or media outlet, so this will likely continue to be the case. Digital Video Ad Operations teams should work in lockstep with Broadcast Traffic and Operations teams to ensure the fastest, smoothest possible workflow and the highest possible video quality 100% of the time on every screen. There’s only one master version of each video ad that comes from post-production. Consider synchronizing your Ad Ops teams around that creative and utilize smart technologies that enable them to work together in a single streamlined workflow. You can do this today.
Step 3 – Measure Everything
According to a study conducted by Nielsen, media campaigns that include both TV and Digital Video are more effective than media plans that only include one or the other. The study cites increased ROI that can be quantified with at least four key brand lift metrics: general recall, brand recall, message recall and likeability. The sequence in which a campaign’s creative is viewed makes a difference, too. Being exposed to an ad creative in a Digital environment first enhances the impact of the TV exposure and vice versa. In short, the most effective video campaigns are not focused on Digital or TV, they’re focused on both. So, advertisers should measure everything and communicate so everyone involved understands the campaign’s goals and that the appropriate tools are used to achieve and measure them.
There will, of course, be challenges as video advertising converges. Brand marketers and agency leaders must invest in the education of their employees to ensure that they understand new technologies and systems. The inertia that has been created by the traditional approach to media planning, buying and measurement must be overcome. Media buyers and sellers must create and maintain new standards. As always, consumer behavior lights the way that our industry must follow. We must evolve to ensure we are constantly maximizing ROI as we follow the consumer down their path.
Written by Avi Brown, Chief Digital Officer at Extreme Reach
Business Affairs Expertise Isn’t Just for TV Anymore
As more and more video ad campaigns run across multiple screens, the management of commercial talent contracts and payment, and of rights in general, is becoming more complex and often quite costly.
It’s time for agencies and brands to consider a new, unified approach to managing talent and rights for all video advertising, not just Broadcast and Cable TV.
The advertising industry is constantly transforming to catch up with technology and consumer behavior. Nowhere is this more evident today than in the recent evolution of TV. TV audiences, TV content and TV commercials have all expanded beyond Broadcast and Cable to a new world of Digital viewing options. Advertisers and agencies are now realizing that they too must bridge the gap between TV and Digital Video advertising when it comes to commercial talent contracts, payment and compliance. But even some of the most forward-thinking agencies still see Business Affairs—particularly commercial talent and rights management— as a classic television model and department. As a result, the terms of talent contracts are mysterious territory for Digital Video ad teams and agencies and Business Affairs teams are often left out of the loop on Digital campaigns. Today, that is a problem.
One Commercial. Every Screen.
More than 90% of the video ads that run online also run on TV. In fact, most of those ads start out as Broadcast TV commercials. The use of those ads online is sometimes a secondary concern and in some cases, repurposing a spot can be unplanned, with little communication. For years, TV advertisers worked with TV agencies (both creative and media) on their Broadcast campaigns and worked with a different digital agency (or a separate Digital team) for planning and buying Digital media. Digital video budgets and inventory were scarce, so most advertisers would just have their Digital team get a TV ad from their TV people and send it to a couple of websites to serve it up. But Digital Video has grown up. And although it’s grown up in a Digital family, it’s matured into a completely TV-like experience: “TV” commercials are now presented in TV-like ad breaks to Digital audiences who view Digital Video an extension of TV. However, it’s very important to understand that a commercial running on both Broadcast and online media will have different payment and compliance requirements that must be considered for each.
Different Screens. Different Rules.
It’s a mistake to assume that commercial talent contracts and licenses for rights necessarily include use on digital screens. This is rarely the case, especially with licensed rights. Separate payment to union performers for Internet, and sometimes Industrial, usage must be made to secure the rights for those media types. TV, Internet, Industrial and other Usage rates for Union Commercials are distinctly defined in the SAG AFTRA Commercial Contract, whereas Non-Union ads are based on negotiated fees.
In addition, the duration of permitted use online is different than the typical 13-week cycles long-established for network, Cable and other Broadcast use too. It’s important to understand the differences between the length of time an ad can run on TV vs. online media, in order to ensure that the use of the commercial remains within the various durations outlined in the actors’ contracts. Sometimes it’s tricky to know for sure that a particular ad is no longer running. Tracking where and when an ad ran on Digital media, for the purposes of talent payment and compliance, can be an additional concern as well. This is frequently the case because Internet talent and rights lack the maturity and infrastructure of TV and often the digital data is handled separately by a Digital team. These data disconnects frequently delay, hinder or further separate the availability of Digital data for Business Affairs. As a result, Talent Managers are at the mercy of late or incomplete reporting of uses.
There are similar issues involved when securing the rights to use licensed music and images in commercials that may run on the Internet. As Digital Video ads have become more visible, the “Internet” terms of these talent and rights contracts have become more enforceable. So, it’s prudent to plan for compliance upfront rather than ask for forgiveness if an ad runs where it wasn’t permitted.
Manage Risk. Control Costs.
According to SAG/AFTRA (the commercial actor’s union), when a commercial featuring union talent runs online without paying Internet usage, the infraction may warrant a late fine of up to $90, plus wages due, per performer. The late penalty of $90 per performer is small compared to the standard usage fees of $3,000. However, late fees for a cast of 10 or more performers get expensive, quickly. In more severe cases where the commercial has been released, the costs can be dramatically higher, and the headaches of contracting new terms for each actor can be major. And now, talent has quite a bit more leverage and the power to negotiate higher usage fees. In addition, willful use of music, images or footage online without a license that covers Internet use is copyright infringement, which can be a very expensive matter if litigated. And damages can include attorney fees and/or statutory damages.
- Evolve: Think of the role of Business Affairs as a true multi-screen discipline that extends beyond traditional TV. Establish a workflow that facilitates complete transparency, knowledge and control of all commercial usage rights across Broadcast, Cable and Internet.
- Gain Expertise: If you’re part of a Broadcast-centric Business Affairs team, round out your team with a trained expert on Digital advertising. Or, if you rely on other Digital teams or agencies, identify experts within those groups whom you can work with to establish a safe and efficient multi-screen workflow. If you’re on a Digital team and don’t have access to talent and rights details, connect with a knowledge- able ally who does.
- Know Early: Rather than think of TV first and Internet as an afterthought, understand the various uses of each commercial before it’s even cast. Early transparency from square one will enable you to think more strategically, manage risk more effectively and keep costs in check.
- Lock It Down: If there is a chance that a Broadcast commercial may run online, report use, pay related fees in a timely manner to secure the rights to run on the Internet and lock down Internet licenses in music and footage agreements too. Be mindful of expiring rights to ensure compliance and you will eliminate significant unexpected costs and issues down the road.
- Track Usage: Take advantage of available tools that enable greater transparency and the automatic tracking of commercials and expirations across all screens and against contract terms. That way, you can be apprised of potential compliance issues, not just on traditional TV, but across every Digital screen as well.
Written by Courtney Allen, Director of Client Relations at Extreme Reach.
This year, a 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl cost about $4.5 million. And with that hefty, record-setting price tag comes a question we hear every year: which ad did the best? Which brand made the greatest impact with their Super Bowl investment? We’d like to help answer those questions.
In this study, we’ve compiled insights that reveal which brands ran the most effective Super Bowl ads based on brand lift data. We’ve analyzed the responses from the audience as a whole and looked at specific demographic segments as well. Read through the study and be sure to let us know what you think!
The TV Perspective: When it comes to Video Quality, The Source Matters
The online media and advertising industries still have a long way to go to ensure a consistent TV-like viewing experience across all screens. With the growing adoption of Smart TV’s and OTT solutions, larger screens have to now be considered too. As a brand builder, protector and storyteller, you need to control every factor you can to ensure the best possible quality of your video ads. One step in particular can make a significant difference.
The TV industry has had organizations like SMPTE, NAB and Society of Broadcast Engineers for decades in order to protect and draw TV viewers by ensuring the highest quality viewer experience possible. The digital advertising industry doesn’t have organizations dedicated to online video quality. In short, there are no equivalent standards for online video. However, digital video has quickly become a popular alternative to TV for a huge portion of the viewing audience. And TV, with all of its meticulous quality oversight, has set a very high bar for the audience’s viewing expectations.
Without industry-defined video quality standards and practices, online video quality remains inconsistent and often poor, particularly when it comes to advertising. For brands, this can be a serious issue. Studies have shown that poor quality video often sparks a negative viewer response. According to one recent report* more than 2 in 5 online video views are of inferior quality.
In the broadcast world, most advertisers wouldn’t think of delivering a file that didn’t meet stringent industry-defined quality standards. There’s a well-established TV practice that ensures that ads clear the high broadcast bar: Brands and agencies go direct to the source, the post-production house that did the finishing work, to obtain the ad. The post-house has the highest-resolution master file and they can provide that pristine file digitally upon request. Starting with that crisp source file is one of the most effective steps you can take because that creative master remains in its purest, most watchable form. If your third-party ad platform supports broadcast quality MPEG or QuickTime files, you can immediately eliminate several quality-compromising steps that typically occur along an ad’s dark journey from production to digital audience.
One Key Step Toward a TV-Like Viewing Experience
Video quality is a significant issue for most marketers who include digital video in their advertising mix. If it’s important for you and the brand(s) you’re building, you will find it worthwhile to go right to the source, the video post house, to gain access to the creative master. Before you do this, however, make sure you know the Ad-ID of the specific creative you need. Ad-ID (or in some cases, an ISCI code) is a unique code number used to identify each specific creative. Each version of a single ad has a unique assigned code number. If you know the specific Ad-ID, you know you’re using the correct creative. This is important, because different versions may be different lengths, have different talent and rights permissions (like whether the ad is even permitted for internet use), specific contractual expiration dates, etc. Armed with the proper Ad-ID, contact the post-house that has the master file you’re looking for and grant their operations person permission to upload the broadcast master to your third-party ad platform. If your third-party ad platform supports broadcast standard files (not all do), you’ve just improved the way the vast majority of your digital audience experiences your brand and message.
There are several other steps you can take to improve and control the quality of your digital video ads, but this a great first step. The future offers even greater quality enhancements. With the implementation of new codec standards (H.265), perceived video quality should be able to increase even at the lowest of bitrates. But when you start with anything less than the video source file (creative master), you compromise the viewer experience from the beginning. Your ads shouldn’t take a lesser path for digital than with TV, and today, they don’t have to.
To learn more about video convergence, please click here.
*2014 Viewer Experience Report. Rep. Conviva, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.
The Convergence Perspective: Innovation is Powering Change
As the advertising world moves toward a convergence of TV and Digital Video, several disruptive technological changes are helping to pave the way by breaking down the barriers that have kept these two worlds divided for years. A recent study found that 51% of advertisers who weren’t doing multi-screen video advertising said that they were frustrated with technology solutions (or that there has been a lack of tech) to help them smartly execute their convergence plans. The truth is that there are a number of new technologies and innovative solutions that can help advertisers seamlessly converge TV and digital video. These technologies span multiple aspects of the video advertising process, including: media, creative, workflow, viewer experience and measurement.
There are many areas where we can see the worlds of TV and Digital Video coming together. For example, more media packages and buys are including both TV and digital video. With respect to creative, 90%+ of the video ads that run online also run on TV. Traditionally, TV and digital workflows have been two very separate silos, but the industry is starting to bring them together for greater efficiency and control. A significant portion of the video ads that run on digital media look poor compared to their TV counterpart. The ad industry is now starting to pay closer attention to digital video quality (including publishers, like Facebook and Google). Finally, advertisers want to see and understand the ROI from TV and digital together, so they can understand synergies between the two.
Several technological changes over the past few years have helped accelerate the convergence of TV and Digital video, addressing these opportunities and challenges. One notable shift has been the emergence of cloud computing as a catalyst for innovation and improved efficiency. By applying the latest in cloud efficiency, scale and flexibility, TV operations have been able to become as nimble and efficient as their digital counterparts, sometimes even more so. In some cases, video ads delivered to TV can actually be processed and delivered to air in less time than comparable digital executions. One feature that has been instrumental in this shift is the ability to deliver high-quality video to the exact format needed for the target system or device, adding efficiencies at multiple steps in the process and giving the transparency and control needed for achieving scale.
Advances in workflow automation that allow TV agencies and broadcast operations to dramatically streamline their systems can now be leveraged by the digital video segment as well. By connecting and streamlining processes and workflow, from post-house through media and traffic and on to stations, networks and publishers, everybody wins as content is delivered in pristine quality, at scale, in the most efficient means possible.
Recent advances in realtime data processing and analytics, including so-called “big data” processing, has sparked some forward-thinking companies to develop realtime analytics solutions and present more actionable analytics to advertisers. We are seeing this unfold both in digital and in TV. Add to this the constant advances being made in measurement and data science, allowing brands to have more intelligence than ever on the effectiveness, safety and quality. These tools go well beyond the standard VAST (Video Ad-Serving Template) and VPAID (Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition) metrics that have been the standard in digital video. Advanced analysis of campaign executions can show information for specific domains where media was purchased, identify optimal creative frequency and rotation patterns and even determine if video bought as pre-roll was served in-banner. These advances ultimately help to drive convergence because they help determine and improve the actual ROI of digital buys, thereby making it easier to make a clear, fair comparison between TV and digital ROI.
As the worlds of TV and Digital Video continue to converge, the technological advances will keep coming. Innovative companies are continuing to look for ways to provide better efficiency, better transparency and better accountability across the entire video advertising ecosystem.
To learn more about video convergence, please click here.
Extreme Reach was proud to be a part of the Digiday Platform Summit touching on the growing role and utility of online platforms like ours in connecting brands with audiences. Our own Chief Digital Officer Avi Brown sat down with Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey for a discussion regarding video convergence and the challenges of scaling digital video; the two touched on a big issue for digital video advertising and the cornerstone of our efforts: transparent, actionable data. Click here to watch the discussion and learn more.