TV Ad Dollars Can Easily Shift Online in 2013

A snarky Ad Age columnist, Dave Morgan, has said that marketers will have a tough time shifting 10-20% of their TV ad dollars online as they’ve said they wanted to:

With the upfront looming, and increasing pressure to be innovative, many advertisers and agencies today are in a headlong race to shift and diversify their TV ad budgets, taking greater advantage of multiplatform-platform “video.” And why not? TV advertising is expensive and campaign reach is declining thanks to audience fragmentation.

However noble and well-intentioned, however, the expectations of many of these advertisers and agencies are unrealistic, particularly those calling for 10% to 20% budget shifts out of TV into digital video. That’s because, you see, 97% of all video viewing in the U.S. still occurs on TV. Yes. Whether the data is from Nielsen, Pew or eMarketer, all agree that only a small fraction of video viewing in the U.S. today occurs on devices other than the TV.

Yes. And no. Because this data is misleading.

First,  reach in the old sense of the word — mass markets — doesn’t even exist on TV these days. To reach the consumers major brands need to reach, they already need to diversify channels and platforms. When they say they are shifting TV ad dollars, they may mean they are going for integrated or converged campaigns across TV, print, and digital. That’s what they ought to be doing, because the new research says recall is much better in converged campaigns, as are conversions.

Second, the digital video audience skews younger and better educated than the TV audience, which means a more powerful consumer is watching video online. And that same consumer might be watching video on multiple screens simultaneously, which Nielsen has just begun to measure.

Third, Morgan may be thinking that creative dollars have to shift. But they don’t. We have high impact formats, especially InArticle Video, that allow advertisers to take standard IAB creative units and insert their already produced TV ads into those units. When a viewer mouses over the ad, the audio begins to play, and if she clicks on the ad, it expands to full screen. This format is the most engaging in the industry today; the statistics on completion and viewability are off the charts.

So a blanket assertion that there is nowhere to advertise with video dollars online, or that its reach is not comparable, is failing to see the forest for the trees. Digital is global, which is automatically greater reach, and it is on 24/7, rather than in a specific time slot. Digital video ads should be as good as TV, they will be as good as TV, and in terms of the old standards of reach and frequency for the dollars, they have TV beat by a mile.


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