Television is changing in fundamental ways, and reports of the death of TV advertising are greatly exaggerated. In fact, the new opportunities and expanded audiences you can reach by taking a converged TV approach to linear and OTT have brought what we used to call “brand marketing” much closer to digital performance channels.
You need to supercharge your down funnel performance. And converged TV is the solution you’ve been looking for.
As television has evolved, it’s become more portable and addressable, so marketers can target audiences more effectively, track impact better, and keep brand dollars attributable.
So what is converged (also known as convergent) TV and how can you leverage it to your advantage? It’s really all about capturing and keeping the audience’s attention as they move from one screen to another by providing a seamless customer journey. Because the silos between what is traditionally called “brand marketing” and the artist known as “performance marketing” are actually bad for your business (because all marketing should perform AND build your brand), we call the strategy you need to succeed performance branding.
Let’s break down what that looks like across the funnel, starting with creating demand, then capturing demand, and finally converting customers.
Create demand by leveraging audience data to broadly target key audiences
It’s not what audiences are watching that has changed, it’s how audiences are watching that’s changed. Because there are fewer fixed programming options, you can be much more strategic in the way you invest your media dollars to maximize the return.
To get started with converged TV, you’ll need:
- Audience insights to inform all of your decisions
- Attention-grabbing creative that emotionally engages prospective customers
- Access to inventory that your audience is watching
- Sufficient budget and time to test TV buys
- Integrated measurement across channels.
Marketers now have access to a lot more signals to understand TV audiences and where to put budget, and can also layer in first- and third-party data to unlock better targeting. That means you can deliver a more personalized experience and better track TV performance.
Of course, the more data points you can plot on the consumer journey, the better. More data points inform adjustments to creative, messaging, and landing pages so you can better align every interaction and make it all feel seamless, personalized, and organic for your prospective customers.
Taking an audience-first approach to TV also means integrating your digital media planning into the same strategy. After all, audiences don’t see channels, they just see your brand. They expect any engagement to feel cohesive, wherever it occurs.
Creative can be a major challenge for brands just getting started with TV, and starting from scratch when it comes to creative can be expensive (and daunting). But remember you have a short cut at hand: the creative you’re already deploying to your most important audiences in other channels. Start there and iterate on what’s already working for specific audiences to unlock new creative for TV. YouTube is a great place to test new ad creative for TV where you have more flexibility to make changes in real time.
Capture Demand By Deploying the Right Media Mix
One of the major flaws in a performance marketing-only strategy is a failure to create new demand while overindexing on demand capture and conversion. That leads to diminishing returns and performance plateaus. But the increased flow of qualified audiences into your mid- and lower-funnel campaigns from your upper funnel investment in converged TV is the rocket fuel you’ve been looking for in direct response.
To seamlessly transition from awareness to driving consideration of your product with your highest value audience segments, you need to deploy the right blend of messaging and media. Your audience has been primed to recognize and engage with your brand; now it’s time to introduce your actual product and align it with the more connection-focused upper funnel ads that are establishing alignment around lifestyle, aspiration, or emotion.
Now you can focus on the most valuable potential customers in that demand set and apply increasingly personalized targeting and messaging that will best resonate with those groups across search, social, display, and OTT.
You’ll see those mid-funnel campaigns performing better and more efficiently because the audience has already been primed in the upper funnel. You’re not introducing your brand and distilling key product features at the same time; these audiences already know who you are and understand the value your brand is bringing to the table. Now you can get more specific about the how and why.
Convert Primed Audiences Into Purchasing Customers
Remember: nobody ever googled your brand without hearing about it somewhere first. And TV is the biggest performance engine that has ever existed. And now that your most valuable customers have built a relationship with your brand and understand what you’re offering more specifically, they’re ready to convert.
That’s why you can’t really understand the full impact of your TV ads and spend without integrating your measurement. It’s not enough to know that your TV ads are reaching the right audiences and the optimal number of people. You need to know whether or not they’re driving those audiences down the funnel.
There are three main questions we need to be able to answer:
- Are we driving a lift in brand awareness?
- Is our media driving impact?
- Is our media translating to the bottom line?
We need to dig deeper into the top of the funnel and understand whether we are meaningfully seeding long-term brand awareness that will drive lower funnel impact, including brand lift studies and surveys that can help you form more meaningful audience segments when combined with your owned customer data. You also need to look at immediate directional signals like branded search; if a potential customer sees your ad on TV in any form, are they trying to learn more?
But it’s worth noting you need to be patient when it comes to understanding overall TV impact. Converged TV is a long-term plan — the minimum campaign flight time is typically a quarter. If you don’t allow for enough time, you’ll assume your TV test failed. At the very least, you won’t be able to fully grasp the return you’re getting on your investment.
To get started, you need to allocate enough time and enough budget, and that’s another place performance marketers tend to get a little nervous or uncomfortable. So set the expectation in advance that, although you can look at directional signals in real time, you need to let converged TV have enough budget and let performance accrue for at least a quarter to make it count.
In the long run, customers who fully convert then generate additional first-party data we can use to improve and iterate on in the future and make your downstream campaigns more efficient and effective. The long-term brand value and business impact is enormous.
Keep these steps in mind as you get started with converged TV:
- Use your brand’s existing audiences as the starting point for converged TV.
- Start with creative that works on other channels to iterate and repurpose.
- Plan to play with multiple partners relevant to your audience.
- Set expectations around budget and timing for minimum spend and longer flighting.
- Integrate converged TV measurement into your holistic reporting.