Stop paying for ineffective reach – not all connection is created equal

What’s the point of reaching millions if your message remains unseen, unremembered and the audience is left feeling less than compelled? ThinkTV’s Rowena Newman explains how to ensure that your campaign reach is truly effective.

This article was sponsored by ThinkTV to let readers know about The Benchmark Series »

Rowena Newman 150 BWBeing a marketer over the past 20 years working on some of the biggest grocery and pharmacy brands in Australia and overseas, I know first-hand that audience fragmentation has been one of the hallmarks – and headaches – of brand planning across the last decade. Building ‘reach’ for your campaign is just as critical as ever it was, but the breadth of media channels now available means that marketers need to be thinking about effective reach.

The concept of reach is simple enough. It relates to choosing media platforms to ‘reach’ our target audience, to get the message in front of them and give them an opportunity to see our ads. Campaigns tend to start with reach because we’ve got to get our message in front of people if we want to influence them. Simple, right?

Well, no. In the last decade, the number of media channels has increased dramatically, and audiences have fragmented. Constructing a media plan that successively adds the deduplicated reach from multiple media channels to maximise what we know as ‘cumulative reach’ is a complex strategic issue that today’s marketers and their media agencies must grapple with. 

This process is often portrayed as being scientific or mathematical, or both. But actually, it’s neither. More often than not, it’s good old-fashioned guess work combined with a healthy sprinkle of CPM mitigation – and frankly, that’s a different strategy entirely. 

While the reach of TV is measurable, the incremental reach gained by adding social video on top of TV is, frankly, anyone’s guess. Layering channel upon channel in the quest for ever diminishing slivers of incremental reach can be a rabbit hole to ruin, especially if you start with the assumption that all reach is equal. Marketers that want to drive business growth should worry less about slivers of incremental audience and focus on building a media plan that combines the most effective channels; or in short, building effective reach.

A strategy based on effective reach considers the reach of a platform weighted by its ability to persuade consumers to do what you want them to do. Some platforms will have reach that gives people an opportunity to see your brand, but with the sound off. Or perhaps your ad only fills 10% of the screen and can be quickly scrolled past. Alternatively, your brand could be in an environment where it’s highly cluttered. All of these factors need to be considered when determining the effectiveness of the reach one platform provides.

When allocating your media spend, the key driver needs to be effectiveness. As part of The Benchmark Series, professor Karen Nelson-Field set out to establish what it is that makes video ads on various platforms effective. Nelson-Field and her team took a single piece of creative and put it in front of audiences on a range of platforms including TV, broadcast video on demand (BVOD), Facebook and YouTube. 

The research found that the more screen real estate the ad covered, the greater its impact. It makes perfect sense that ads need to be seen to be effective at persuading consumers to change their behaviour or make a purchase. The research also found that ads with greater screen coverage and the sound on have the power to stay in people’s memories for longer. And the longer an ad stays in memory, the higher chance it has of continuing to be effective right at the point of purchase.

Whether we’re talking TV ads on the ‘big screen’ in your living room or TV ads on the phone in your hand, The Benchmark Series found TV advertising has the greatest sales impact; and further, proved that the combination of TV and BVOD drives twice the sales impact of TV combined with social video.

As a marketer, I know the challenge of choosing the right mix of channels for a campaign. It’s tempting to have a finger in every pie, but be aware that investing in channels with ineffective reach will actually dilute the effectiveness of high-performing channels. The Benchmark research found that combining a high-performance platform such as TV with a lower performing platform can drag down the short-term advertising strength (STAS) that could have been achieved with a single exposure on the better performing option. 

The upcoming launch of VOZ will be a game changer for brands looking to optimise campaigns across platforms, with the technology providing the first cumulative, deduplicated reach for campaigns that span TV and BVOD. 

In the meantime, remember this: reach is still just as important as ever it was, but not all reach is created equal. You need to dig a little deeper and look at how the advertising is viewed and remembered if you want to deliver effective reach for your campaign. And if you do, you’ll be best placed to see those post-campaign sales spikes we all dream about.

Rowena Newman is the head of marketing at ThinkTV

Marketing budgets are tight and there has never been a more important time to ensure every dollar is working towards achieving your objectives. Cut through the clutter with the help of ThinkTV’s Benchmark Series research »

 

Image credit:Sam Balye