Super size ad budgets – Are they really a game changer?

NBC averaged $5m (£3.9m)  for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LII this year. The 2018 Winter Olympics attracted $129m (£101m) from major brands, including Toyota, who launched its first-ever global marketing campaign. And Amazon recently signed a £5m (£3.9m) sponsorship deal with Channel 4, making “The Great British Bake Off” one of the most valuable entertainment sponsorships in the UK.

The Super Bowl and other live events and reality competitions attract megabucks from some of the world's largest brands. In fact, advertisers spent a total of $5.4bn (£4.2bn) on TV spots in the past 52 years of televised Super Bowls.

With high ad-spend figures for key programmes hitting the media headlines, brands could be forgiven for thinking they need mega advertising budgets to run effective TV campaigns. But this is far from the truth. It’s about quality, not quantity. As a dynamic evolving marketing channel, TV can help brands achieve their business objectives regardless of budget size.

Effectiveness overreach

TV has been traditionally used for reach, and many advertisers that invest millions on prime-time spots are still looking for that level of brand awareness. But TV has caught up to its digital counterparts in that it’s now quickly and easily measured and optimised. This, in turn, has made TV a hybrid performance-marketing channel – one that can be used for branding, but also as a primary driver for immediate digital response among the majority of viewers watching with second-screen devices close by.

If promoting awareness and recall-ability are your main objectives for TV advertising, there’s nothing better than high-profile events to make that happen. But if your goal is to drive response, and you don’t have millions to spend on premium inventory, TV can be just as effective for you.

Gone are the days of waiting weeks for audience data to get a view (an often inaccurate view) into TV performance. We live in the age of big data, and advertisers can leverage that wealth of real-time information to see how their TV spots are performing, and then take steps to optimise campaigns in-flight. A brand can know what days, times, networks, programmes, genres, creatives, even audience segments, are driving the strongest real-world response, and then optimise campaigns accordingly.

Unbeatable ROI

TV doesn’t just provide modern metrics to rival digital’s, it’s also evolved to offer marketers unbeatable ROI. A recent Thinkbox study revealed TV is responsible for 62% of all advertising-generated profit, with an ROI of £1.73 for every pound spent. This is the highest of any media. The medium is even more profitable in the long-term, providing an ROI of £4.20 for every pound spent over three years. No matter what the initial budget – or the end goals – a well-managed and continuously optimised TV campaign will always deliver the best bang for your buck.

Evolving ad formats

New ad formats that provide more opportunities for a variety of marketing budgets are attracting brands of all shapes and sizes. The 30-second spot is now even more effective than ever thanks to real-time performance analysis. Shorter spots are also emerging, which can provide more affordable options for advertisers. Fox debuted the six-second ad in 2017, with the shorter length providing a more engaging in-content option.  

TV sponsorships are being reworked – vastly increasing long-term brand awareness thanks to regular exposure. Live TV ads are also rising in popularity as brands look for new ways to stand out and capture the attention of an always-connected audience.

As you can see, advertisers have the technology, proof of performance, and ad format options to make TV work for them. Let me be frank, if someone tells you that your brand needs to spend a lot of money and run a lot of ads to make TV effective, they’re either lying to you or woefully misinformed. Brands have the insights and options needed to maximise TV performance – no matter how often they advertise or what their end goals are.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about the Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) international event series, arriving in Amsterdam from September 19-20 and New York from November 7-8.

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