Four Golden Rules for Solving the AV Paradox

Tim Cross 05 June, 2023 

As the boundaries between TV and digital video are becoming increasingly blurred, it’s becoming harder and harder from a buyer’s point of view to navigate the AV space. Understanding the value of each channel, how to reach your audience, and ultimately where to invest ad spend is no easy task for agency planners.

In this piece Andrew Monks, partner at EssenceMediacom, outlines four golden rules which can help advertisers understand the current AV landscape.

The media landscape is constantly evolving, and as we move further into the age of audio-visual (AV) advertising, marketers are facing a paradox. The rise of streaming services, social media, and other digital platforms has fragmented how people consume video content. While AV advertising has never been more effective, mass reach is becoming increasingly multi-faceted, and it is more challenging than ever to consistently reach audiences at scale. 

The atomisation of traditional TV viewing represents a gain for AV platforms, with UK viewers now watching more video content than ever before. While AV advertising is gaining traction, however, not all AV reach is equal. There can be significant variability in performance between platforms and placements. Complicating things further, the variation will often differ between audiences. This poses a considerable challenge for media agencies and advertisers looking to optimise their strategies. To overcome this, we need to develop a more connected approach that enables us to achieve breakthrough impact at every level.

Adopting a fully connected approach means planning, executing and measuring AV campaigns as one cohesive unit rather than separate campaigns on different platforms. 

Moving towards a more connected approach, however, does not necessarily come easily. If agencies want to create campaigns that exploit the full breadth of the AV landscape, they must be ready to continually evolve their mindset, dissolve legacy silos, and embed a truly integrated approach.

Here are four golden rules that can help agencies and their advertisers solve the AV paradox, mastering fragmentation to reap the significant sales-driving benefits of AV media:

1. Plan for the long and short term
Les Binet and Peter Field, the godfathers of effectiveness, have been banging this drum since 2012, and it’s as true now as it was then. Investing in advertising for the long-term yields twice the profit compared to a short-term strategy. Yet at the same time, if media doesn’t succeed in the short term, it has no chance of delivering a long-term effect. When choosing media channels and creating content for them, it’s vital to follow two further principles:

  • Get the balance right: Understand the contribution of each media channel to short-term and long-term sales and weave that into the budget allocation in the planning stage. Often this means being brave and investing more in channels such as audio, TV and BVOD, where the return happens over months or even years rather than days and weeks.
  • Be purposeful about the formats you choose: We all know that creative needs to be designed for the platform, but it’s equally important to align the right assets to the right objectives. If you’re trying to make your brand known, and the most cost-effective way to reach a key audience is via channels like social video, consider whether the placement is likely to deliver an emotional response – something that almost always requires the combination of video and audio. If the likelihood is low, don’t use that format.

2. Maximise the multipliers

Advertisers and agencies have become proficient at thinking beyond media silos. We don’t think about TV and VOD anymore – we see AV. This is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough. When planning media channels, we need to understand how to achieve the maximum return for our clients’ budgets across the entire communications ecosystem. Adding more channels to a campaign increases its effectiveness, but when budgets are tight, which channels should you prioritise? The solution is to identify the biggest multiplier channels and use them strategically. Running TV alongside paid social or digital display activity, for example, can boost these channels’ performance by over 30 percent.

3. Make the most of linear TV

TV viewing continues to fragment, with ultra-light viewers (those watching 15 minutes or less per day) set to make up a third of viewers by 2025. At the same time, TV remains the single biggest driver of ROI for most advertisers. So how do we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory phenomena? While some advertisers consider linear TV too challenging, it leaves the door open for the forward-thinking ones to capitalise on the platform. Today, mastering TV fragmentation to deliver cost-effective reach in this more traditional channel requires sophisticated technology and advertisers who can leverage that have a significant opportunity to surpass their competitors.

4. Understand and exploit valuable wastage

One of the key tenets of reach-based planning is for advertisers to communicate with everyone who might shop within their category. Too often, though, we become blinkered when it comes to audiences. We focus on what we see as the bulls-eye or source-of-growth audiences to the detriment of a wider view of the way media is consumed and traded. That’s why a multi-audience approach is vital. Make sure your media practitioners have the mindset, skillset and toolset to understand how viewing behaviours cross over between platforms, so they can craft balanced plans that don’t just maximise reach but also address the gaps in it at the broadest level. This is crucial with digital channels where targeting can be tight, but over-spill is low. For example, if you target 16-24-year-olds on YouTube, can you be sure that a big part of your potential customer-base doesn’t fall outside that group? To mitigate the risk, you may need to rethink your targeting strategy, trading approach or channel selection – or all three.

These rules can serve as a starting point for marketers rethinking their approach to AV. By taking a connected approach to AV planning and buying, agencies can reach a wider audience, and create more engaging and effective campaigns. These are all essential steps for maintaining a competitive edge and creating breakthroughs for clients across all platforms. 

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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