As more ad supported video opportunities grow, marketers are challenged with developing the most optimum media schedule to increase their market share. The television industry has been developing studies to point out the efficacy of the medium in growing sales and more importantly, market share.
Fox Broadcasting has been providing the funds for an ROAS (return on advertising spend) study in collaboration with Bill Harvey Consulting which provided the analysis and Standard Media Index offered ad spend data. The results were recently presented as a research paper with findings on the best video strategy to grow a brands market share.
The ROAS study had several goals: The first was to be transparent. Another was to provide advertisers and agencies with insights on how to maximize the impact on their ad spend not just from their own studies but also from other advertisers, providing a macro view of the video landscape. Lastly, was to identify the effect of any reallocation of ad spend on different video platforms has on short-term sales and other outcomes. The study included all aspects of video content and was not just limited to Fox inventory. The study included three prominent advertising categories; automotive, consumer packaged goods and quick service restaurants.
SMI provided the actual ad spend by national video segment, television, premium video and non-premium digital video (e.g., Facebook, YouTube). The study was conducted from January 2014 through June 2019. Over the 5 1/2 year span the three product categories reported $48 billion in national ad spend and $2.2 trillion in sales. The study included 22 national advertisers that had met the ad spend threshold. Sales data by individual brands were provided by Polk, IRI and NPD Crest but were reported anonymously.
The study was conducted under a great deal of disruption across the media landscape. Consumers have been canceling their pay-TV subscription; a number of streaming video providers were launched; and despite concerns of privacy, fraud and brand safety, marketers were continuing to allocate more of their ad spend to digital media, most notably Google and Facebook. In addition, overall TV ad budgets remained flat.
Although many advertisers reported sales growth, only four were able to grow market share. There were several other key findings from the study:
· TV was the prominent contributor to sales across all three categories. In most instances, an increase in TV ad spend resulted in an increase in sales and market share.
· Any digital media becomes more effective with ROAS when it is combined with television.
· Television combined with professionally produced long-form digital entertainment content provided better ROAS than other combinations of traditional and new media types. On demand long-form digital entertainment content, typically viewed on large screens has proven to be a reach extension for linear TV especially with young viewers as well as building ROAS. The report also found that long-form digital entertainment vehicles have been underutilized by advertisers, especially compared to ongoing ad spend increases in YouTube and Facebook non-premium digital video, with far lower ROAS due to commercial in-attentiveness.
· Television types that exhibited the highest ROAS were branded entertainment and live television events such as sports and news. Both sports and news offered audiences real-time engagement. Sports viewers exhibited greater emotion and had a more communal experience. News audiences had greater cognition which was beneficial for ad attention. The NFL, the highest rated “TV program”, was especially effective along with branded entertainment.
One takeaway from the study is that technology (in this case premium video content) once feared to lead to the demise of television, is making TV content more accessible than ever before. That accessibility is now a key factor in driving ROAS.
With more competition for eyeballs and advertisers seeking evidence that their marketing strategy and ad messaging can translate into improving their market share, expect similar studies as television seeks to maintain revenue.
“The ARF in conjunction with 605, Central Control, and Bill Harvey Consulting are now offering the most bulletproof form of ROAS measurement – random control trials – across platforms,” said media consultant Bill Harvey, “and interest from top agencies and advertisers is largely focused on verifying the results of the FOX, BHC, SMI 2020 study, by testing heavy-ups in premium digital video.”