Well-targeted and well-timed advertisements can still be a complete waste of money if marketers fail to consider the availability of their audience. A hungry hamburger-lover in San Francisco, for example, who sees a commercial for SONIC Drive-In will probably not respond by purchasing a SONIC meal, since the nearest location is 34 miles away. The potential customer was a good target (he likes hamburgers), and the commercial was well-timed (he was hungry). SONIC has almost no chance, however, of reaping a benefit from this commercial, since the customer's location prevents him from considering SONIC among his food options.
This idea of availability plays a key role in promotional campaigns for TV shows. If a marketer's message reaches people who don't watch TV when the program is scheduled to air, there is the potential for wasted impressions and low response rates. By focusing messaging on people who are available, marketers can improve the performance of their marketing campaigns and increase viewership for their programs. We find that casual viewers of a program tend to be available when the program airs, and could be driven to watch additional episodes via well-placed promotions.
A previous blog post looked at program loyalty and concluded that "low loyalty" viewers (people who watch only one episode during the season) would be ideal targets of promotion. Most shows have large numbers of low loyalty viewers, as shown in the table below. The implication was that these one-time watchers had attention that was "for sale," and that effective promotions could increase the number of episodes that they watch.
The analysis did not consider, however, whether these viewers were actually available for additional episodes. It is hard enough to compete with the huge variety of programming available on TV. If the low loyalty viewers tend to not even be loyal to the daypart, and tend to be doing something besides watching TV when the relevant programs air, it is likely that their response rates to promotions will be low. In other words, it's much easier to drag a channel surfer over to Rescue Me than to convert someone who tends to be away from the television during that time.
We looked at the availability of the low loyalty audiences of three specific programs, and in all three cases, over two-thirds of the audience was in front of the television for at least three additional episodes of the relevant program. These low loyalty viewers have high daypart loyalty, even if their program loyalty is low. This combination of "attention for sale" and availability means that these viewers are indeed ideal targets of promotion.
Additional analysis could focus on the optimal way to reach these viewers.
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