Effectv Report: Best Recipe for Video Advertising Blends Linear TV With Streaming

By Comcast Advertising InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Effectv Report: Best Recipe for Video Advertising Blends Linear TV With Streaming

As streaming services grow their audiences and burnish their creative bona fides with Emmy awards, some advertisers are rethinking their TV advertising investments. Maybe it's time to ditch linear TV and go all-in on streaming? Not at all, says Comcast's Effectv advertising unit.

Yes, a growing number of consumers are flocking to streaming. But a recently released report from Effectv shows that brands deliver far better results by mixing streaming with linear.

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The TV Viewership Report published by Effectv encourages brands to take a two-step approach to video campaigns. First, marketers should define the target audience. Then, they should activate data to find the best content to reach those viewers. That could include linear TV, streaming, or both -- and the formula will be different for every brand.

According to Travis Flood, Effectv's Director of Customer Insights, it's important to remember that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. "You have to be willing to follow the audiences where they view content," he said. "Our data gives us an understanding of viewing patterns holistically. That allows us to determine the right mix of platforms, networks and dayparts for a media plan."

The report is based on an analysis of more than 35,000 ad campaigns and aggregated viewership data collected from more than 29 million households. The results revealed that the most successful ad campaigns allocated about 70% of their video ad spend to traditional linear TV and as much as 30% to streaming.

Effectv encourages clients to use linear TV as a foundation and then layer on streaming buys. With this formula, linear TV provides the backbone for the ad campaign, delivering broad reach to connect with large numbers of viewers as well as frequency to reinforce the message. Streaming is additive, extending the campaign to new or hard-to-reach users who don't watch traditional TV, or don't watch very much.

Here's the kicker: when brands spend more than 20% to 30% of their video ad spend on streaming, they start to see diminishing returns, according to the report.

"When you start adding more dollars into streaming, you're basically sacrificing the reach you would have gotten with your linear TV buys," Flood explained. "The power of these platforms comes from investing in both for one campaign."

Despite headlines that may say otherwise, linear TV is still a very relevant viewer choice. Yes, some Americans are "cutting the cord" and canceling their cable TV subscriptions. But U.S. consumers watch an average of six hours and 17 minutes of traditional TV per day, according to Comcast-aggregated viewing data. Of that amount, five hours and 38 minutes went to live (linear) TV, while 39 minutes were spent watching DVR and other on-demand content.

Within that total viewing time, 72% was content viewed outside of prime time, and the average household consumed 27 different linear TV networks. Flood noted that there are opportunities for brands throughout the day and across content categories.

If linear TV is a habitual, lean-back experience, then Flood said streaming requires consumers to take action and make choices. They have to seek out their desired content or explore apps to discover something new, and that creates engagement and excitement. "When you go to streaming, it's an experience, and it's an event," he said.

Flood pointed out another interesting finding: in Comcast's campaign analysis, 53% of households reached by streaming were incremental to linear TV households. When a campaign reached a household that consumed both linear TV and streaming, it achieved 19% higher frequency.

Additionally, streaming connects with hard-to-reach audiences, including light TV viewers and those that don't watch traditional TV. Streaming impressions were 2.6 times more likely to be seen by these groups.

While streaming allows for mobile-device viewing from a variety of locations, it mostly occurs on TV screens in homes. According to Effectv research, 78% of its audience streams on "big screens" in living rooms. And because many consumers watch with friends and family, advertisers have the opportunity to reach multiple viewers with each ad and extend reach.

Political advertisers are among those benefiting from the one-two punch of linear TV and streaming buys, Flood said. "Traditionally, the category was very focused on linear, but they are very data-driven, and they see the opportunities," he noted.

Election-focused advertisers and those in other ad categories are learning that they can pick up light TV viewers or streaming-only consumers by layering in streaming buys. By combining it with linear media, they formulate a cohesive media plan.

"You want to make sure you're not just reaching a lot of people, but the right people -- and that you're adding something to your campaign," Flood concluded.

Get the latest TV viewership insights by downloading The TV Viewership Report.

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