Americans Spending Even More Time with TV

December 16, 2009

TV Remains “Most Influential Ad Medium for 2009”

A year dramatically impacted by the economic recession has influenced consumers to return to watching television over other types of entertainment. Deloitte’s 2009 “State of the Media Democracy” survey reveals a 26% increase in the number of Americans choosing the TV as their favorite type of media as compared to the previous year.

More than 70% of survey respondents rank TV their top three favorite media activities. Additionally, when ranked alongside other activities like surfing the Web, listening to music or reading, 34% of consumers still place TV at the top. This is a substantial increase from last year and more than double the percent of the number two choice, which is the Internet that came in at 14%.

When watching their favorite TV programming, 86% of survey respondents prefer watching on their television set, enjoying the programming either live, via a DVR/TiVo or using an “On Demand” feature. While less than 10% of Americans say they prefer watching the same content online, it is a growing trend.

Hours Spent with TV:

  • Nearly 18 hours of television programming is spent on TV in a typical seven day week – up notably from less than 16 hours last year.
  • Millennials (ages 14-26) had the largest increase, to almost 15 hours from 10.5 hours.
  • 72% of Americans say they have been forced to reduce their purchases of other entertainment products including movies, concerts, sporting events, DVDs, CDs and videogames.

Besides TV viewing, the survey supports the culmination of the game console as a stand-alone media platform and the mobile phone’s rapid decoupling of the Internet from the desktop and the rise of tribal marketing.

But, nevertheless, television continues to reign as the most influential advertising medium, with 83% of consumers identifying TV advertising as one of the top three media with the most impact on their buying decisions. Online advertising ranks much lower in impact than television.

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TV Media Buying 101

November 24, 2009

With increasing fragmentation, buying television advertising is becoming more and more challenging.   

Here are a few things you should know before getting started:

1) Focus on Gross Rating Points, not number of spots
Experienced buyers don’t focus on how many spots they can buy. Instead, they concentrate on market exposure – measured by the number of gross rating points (GRPs) a media schedule delivers to the target demographic. What use is a boatload of commercials, if nobody’s watching?

2) Don’t Pay too Much
Most professional buyers consider cost efficiency their highest goal. Their focus is simple: reach the most people in their target with the greatest frequency possible at the lowest cost – all while staying on budget. In order to do this, they must master cost per point negotiations, which varies by market. If you’re new to cost per point buying, the SQAD Media Market Guide is a good place to start.  This quarterly publication provides media buyers with average cost per point estimates for all 210 DMAs (designated market areas) in the U.S. 

3) Understand Reach and Frequency
It’s important to get a handle on acceptable reach and frequency numbers for your industry. In other words, how many people in your target audience will see your commercial (reach), and how many times will they see it (frequency). If your weekly reach and frequency numbers are inadequate then results will suffer.  Generally speaking, retailers should aim for a minimum 60% reach and 2.0X frequency.

4) Think Demographics and Psychographics
Few products appeal to everyone. Smart media buyers zero in on target audiences who are most likely to buy their product. They consider age, sex and lifestyle habits and then carefully select programs that attract the right consumer. In the age of 400+ television stations, knowing what your customer is watching is vital to your success. Both Scarborough and Media Audit are good resources that will help you zero in on your customers’ media consumption habits.

One final note: think twice before handing over your media buying to an administrative assistant. Either hire an in-house professional media buyer or an ad agency.  Media buying requires a skill set that requires years of experience to do right. And a very short time to do wrong.

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How to make Your Television Commercials Memorable

November 20, 2009

What makes a memorable TV commercial? It’s all about messaging. When a piece of communication is to the point, relevant, worthwhile and compelling – it will move the viewer to action.

Moving people is not magic – it’s all about effective communication. It’s called the 4Cs model, which stands for Comprehension, Connection, Credibility and Contagiousness.

Brands like Dunkin’ Donuts, Suave Shampoo and Breyers Ice Cream use the 4Cs model to develop advertising campaigns that create an emotional connection with their customers.

Use the 4Cs to objectively evaluate your television commercials: what’s working, what isn’t and why.

The First C:  Comprehension

Does the audience get the message or main idea of the commercial? What does the commercial instantly communicate? Can the audience play the message back? This confirms that they “get it” and the first C is working.  Here are three tips for better comprehension:

1) Make the message sharp and clear

2) Repetition helps

3) Keep it simple – don’t go too deep

The Second C:  Connection

Making a connection with your TV commercial means not only that the audience “gets it,” but that it resonates with them, has meaning and significance for them and usually triggers an emotional response.

The Third C:  Credibility

The audience needs to believe who is saying it (the brand voice), what is being said, and how it is being said. Otherwise, any connection begins to break down – immediately.  Credibilty is the critical C, because the audience may completely understand an advertiser’s message, and even connect with it on an emotional level – but may not buy into it.  An example is Buick’s recent failure to attract younger buyers to the brand despite a more youthful image being put forth in its products and advertising.  It’s going to take a lot more than some well-produced TV ads to convince people that Buick is more than their grandfather’s car.

The Fourth C:  Contagiousness

You want your audience to “catch the message,” run with it, and spread it around. Think of the last time you saw a TV commercial that was so funny or clever that you discussed it with your friends, found yourself reenacting it or repeated the slogan in conversations.  That’s contagiousness.  To be contagious, your commercial needs to be energetic, new, different and memorable. And most of all, it should motivate the target to do something. 

Applying the 4Cs

So now play one of your TV commercials for a few people in your target audience and ask them the following questions:

1) What is the main message?

2) Does it evoke an emotional response?

3) Is the message believable?

4) Do you feel the message will “stick with you” and make you want to react in some way?

I assure you, the answers will be revealing – one way or another.

 

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How Media Works: Advertising & the Purchase Funnel

November 16, 2009

The impact of different media choices on auto advertising shows Television’s strength across all stages of the funnel.

The Yankelovich study also sheds light on how media interact to drive consumer actions.

Yankelovich 2009 — Automotive Category

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Question: “Which advertising media experience … most increased your awareness; most increased your level of interest; made you consider purchasing; encouraged you to actually purchase?”

Picture for Post #40

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TV Advertising Helps 3 Auto Brands Stand Out!

November 11, 2009

Picture for Post #39

 

What do Hyundai/Kia, Subaru and Volkswagen all have in common?

1) They spent considerably more on television advertising for the first 6 months of 2009, as a percentage of their ad budgets, than the auto industry average.  

Brand

% of ad budget spent on TV Advertising

Hyundai/Kia 

78.4%

Subaru 

90.0% 

Volkswagen 

80.7%

Industry Avg. 

62.5%

2) All three auto makers saw their market share increase substantially over the same period a year ago.

Brand  Market Share Increase 
Hyundai/Kia  39.7%
Subaru  52.9%
Volkswagen 28.8%

3) All three posted year-over-year unit sales decreases (every single manufacturer suffered decreases in sales during this period) that were considerably less than the industry average.

Brand  Unit Sales Decreases 
Hyundai/Kia  -9.4% 
Subaru -0.8%
Volkswagen -16.4%
Industry Avg. – 35.1%

4) All three brands allocated a smaller percentage of their ad budgets to Internet advertising than the industry average:

Brand  % of ad budget spent on U.S. Internet Advertising
Hyundai/Kia 3.7%
Subaru 5.4%
Volkswagen 4.0% 
Industry Avg. 7.5%

What do I think?

First of all, I think all three auto makers have done a great job bringing products to market that people actually want to buy. That’s most important to remember.

I also think it’s hard to refute what the data above says about their advertising decisions. There’s no denying, I’ve seen a ton of compelling television commercials for Hyundai, Subaru and Volkswagen this past year … and it would appear I was not the only one. 

I don’t care how the new media crowd spins it, when a brand like Subaru spends 90% of their total ad budget on television and is able to increase market share by 53% — it makes a compelling case for the power of television advertising. Short and simple.

And when you add in the impressive sales performances by Hyundai and Volkswagen, it’s even harder to ignore that television played more than just a casual role in success of all three auto makers.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Source:  TNS Media Intelligence/Automotive News

 

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Do “Attack Ads” Work in Retail TV Advertising?

November 5, 2009

Compared to political campaign ads, retailers have been cautious about using negative TV ads to badmouth their competitors.  A recent Adweek/Harris Poll indicates such caution is well founded.

As the chart shows, people have a predisposition to think worse of the brand making the attack than the brand that is the target.  

Graph for Post #38One caveat:  Though people routinely claim to dislike attack ads in politics, the results on Election Day often suggest those ads have worked.  So, consumers may be less averse than they say to TV advertising that goes negative on the competition.

 

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Out of Home TV Viewing Has Big Impact on Audience Size

November 3, 2009

Picture for Post #37Arbitron continues to make progress in their effort to measure out-of-home television viewing.  Pierre Bouvard, Arbitron’s Executive Vice President, says up to 35% of Americans are watching TV out-of-home, and stations aren’t getting credit for out-of-home viewing using the existing ratings system.

But, thanks to Portable People Meter (PPM) technology, TV networks and stations will soon be getting credit for total viewing, not just at-home viewing.

The PPM was developed by Arbitron to more accurately measure the number of people watching TV. The device is carried like a pager and picks up audio codes hidden within a station’s broadcast.  So, it doesn’t rely on viewers to punch a button or write in a diary to record their viewing habits.  The meter does all the work.

TBS (Turner Broadcasting) was the first client to sign with ARB-TV, and during the MLB Playoffs discovered the value of out-of-home audience measurement. 

According to Arbitron, the out-of-home viewership of the baseball playoffs increased the total audience size by 27% for adults 25-54.

Sports fans in bars are just part of the story.  When the PPM was tested in Houston, Arbitron noted significant out-of-home audiences in every demo daypart, including women 18-49 during daytime hours.  During the test period, a 17% audience increase was reported for W18-49.

ARB-TV reveals the top places for out-of-home viewing are:

1)      Friend’s House

2)      Bars & Restaurants

3)      At Work

The important thing to remember is that out-of-home TV viewership is not currently measured and not reflected in the ratings that stations provide their clients.  From a media planning standpoint, that’s not good.

However, until there’s a new ratings system firmly in place to measure out-of-home viewership, retail advertisers will continue to reach viewers they’re not paying for … and in this economy, that’s not bad.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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