Not Your Father’s Tune-In – Part 2

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Cover image for  article: Not Your Father’s Tune-In – Part 2

This continues our series probing into best practices in tune-in advertising, practices that have arisen rapidly since analysts began to study set-top box data to know what really works and what doesn’t.

TiVo Research (TRA) and Simulmedia are two of the companies that have been doing some of the groundbreaking work, although today almost everyone is doing it. TiVo Research, for example, has an easy dashboard where any network can slice and dice the conversion rates on their own tune-in any time they want, and using monitoring data can even do the same for competitive networks tune-in.

In the first part of this series we reported on a NBC Universal study done with TiVo Research that showed how extraordinarily powerful synergy among media can be, and how a single-medium strategy can bomb. In this post we report the results of our interview with Charlie Fiordalis, the Chief Digital Officer of Media Storm, a leading tune-in agency. While keeping stacks of secret sauce close to vest, Charlie was able to reveal to us basic rules of allocation for maximizing tune-in conversion, valuable to all tune-in practitioners.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Currently clients are “tiptoeing into digital” with an equilibrium point of around 15%-20% of the budget. Without a closed-loop across digital tactics it isn’t possible to definitively know how digital is driving tune-in and what the ideal mix and frequency are to maximize conversion. Charlie feels that digital is likely underinvested and anticipates a shift toward larger digital budgets as technology evolves to establish direct conversion.
  • Within digital, about half goes into digital video (despite its higher CPMs), 30% into search and social, and around 20% into efficient digital display, which is used largely to retarget and provide reminder frequency.
  • Search and social should generally start 1 to 2.5 months ahead of the premiere, targeting existing fans and/or building out a fan base. This could be 10%-15% of the budget in the long lead, building social buzz and an audience that can be efficiently reached through organic social posts.
  • Two weeks before the premiere, the focus can move to a broader audience seeking to raise awareness and excitement on a larger scale.
  • On the day of the premiere, remind/retarget everyone who has engaged with the campaign and heavy up to convert available audiences.
  • Utilize new technology to make it easier for viewers to find the show. For example, Charlie works with Eyeview to create thousands of versions of promos and trailers that contain customized channel position and tune-in information. He also works with Adtheorent to develop mobile ads that sniff out which MVPD app a viewer has on his/her phone and then deep link directly to the screen where he/she can change the channel or add-to-DVR with a single tap.
  • Investigate all new technologies and publishers. Things change quickly in digital and Charlie believes this requires a passionate commitment from the agency to find and test a wide array of new opportunities. Media Storm has a Bold Maneuvers program to constantly bring new opportunities and ideas to their clients. One recent example is an exclusive beta test in Programmatic TV, which they piloted with one of their top clients this summer.
  • Media Storm became frustrated using available programmatic systems that did not give enough information about where ads were running or how much they charged; they had no fraud protection and were generally non-transparent in every way. They built their own programmatic platform called 99X, with full transparency and protection, and are passing on the savings to their clients.

Charlie is not only a fount of knowledge but also generous in sharing some of it. In the next post in this series, an exclusive scoop compilation of actual tune-in advertising spending data for all but one of the agency holding companies, first half 2015 vs. first half 2014, courtesy of the new most accurate source of such data: SMI.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage/MyersBizNet management or associated bloggers.

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