Video Essentials

In the World of TV Advertising, Viewability Is About Getting Seen


For online video marketers, “viewability” is simply an indication of whether or not a video ad has a chance to be viewed by a human. For TV advertisers, it has a whole different meaning.

“‘Viewability’ is not even a word,” said John Derham, co-founder and head of innovation for TV data company iQ Media, speaking the Advertising Research Foundation 2017 Audience Measurement Conference today in Jersey City, New Jersey. As anyone writing about the topic knows, Microsoft Word creates a red squiggly line under “viewability” because it isn’t in the dictionary.

For TV marketing, Derham sees the term taking on a different meaning: “Is what we’re paying for seen and is it understood?” he asked. Is the brand message communicated? He believes marketers should examine viewability in both their paid and earned media metrics. There’s a convergence between the two, and paid messages need to be amplified on the earned side.

Preparing for earned views, marketers should consider things like whether or not logos in paid spots are big enough to be seen on camera, and are they in an easily viewed contrasting color? Marketers will also want to prepare a strategy for getting earned media to pay attention to paid spots so promotions are seen multiple times by viewers.

During the last election, iQ Media worked for both presidential campaigns, providing Derham with a front-row seat on how each used paid and earned media. Citing Time Magazine data, he said the Trump campaign got $4.6 billion in free media, while the Clinton campaign got $2.5 billion free. Over the last four months, Trump’s strategy was to focus on local appearances and dominate media coverage wherever he appeared, while Clinton’s spent much more heavily on national ads. Trump’s ads stuck to a few key messages, while Clinton offered a more varied group of messages.

“There’s a really tight relationship between messaging and brand,” Derham said. In a presidential race, the candidates are the brands. Timing and visibility help turn paid impressions into earned impressions, and there are a lot more earned that paid impressions at this level. Those impressions need to be reinforced with brand messaging. In the end, one candidate learned a hard lesson that, as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.”




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