Now’s not the time to dismiss broadcast advertising

Why leveraging broadcasters’ expertise can make 2021 a lucrative year for advertisers.

By Henry Windridge, senior director: marketing, digital & creative, EMEA Pay TV & Global Brands, Discovery

2020 will go down as the year of many things; budget-slashing every which way being one of them.

It’s almost impossible to hear the word ‘Covid’ and not get a chill down your spine, not least caused by painful memories of countless conversations with a stressed financial controller. I’d be even more confident in assuming that media planners and those responsible for adspend had more of these conversations than they’d ever had in previous years, and probably still are — especially those looking after broadcast and TV budgets. TV advertising, in particular, has a reputation for being inexplicably expensive although I’d argue there is something to be said for “getting what you pay for” – if you know exactly who you’re targeting. Let me explain.

The secret lies in having a clearly defined target audience, which can be easier said than done. It’s always worth digging deep with your clients to be totally aligned as to whom you want to be reaching. That focus will allow your TV  spend, be it on linear, AVOD or OTT, to get you directly into homes of those people. In short, TV must not be overlooked, particularly during “these times”.

Let the TV network do the legwork for you. Or, at least, work with them collaboratively. Broadcasters should have teams of specialist consultants, as we do at Discovery, that can help advertisers directly pinpoint their audiences via demographic targeting. This level of targeting involves audience profiling, plus the utilisation of audience insight and historic data, to deliver maximum cost efficiency and ROI. To put this into perspective, Discovery can offer advertisers reach at an average cost per view of less than 1 cent on some television campaigns, due to a combination of strategic audience profiling and geotargeting.

Take a prime example from within the Discovery portfolio: Discovery Channel, which is watched by more upscale businessmen than any other channel in the world. Advertisers looking to reach this audience can expect a real return on their investment, if only they leverage the tools at their disposal.

As well as demographic targeting, advertisers should think about how they can make the best use of TV’s inherent engagement with viewers. Short-form commercial content can help brands get the most from their spend. As a business which specialises in creating captivating, real-life entertainment that powers people’s passions, Discovery works alongside advertisers to develop non-traditional content that fits seamlessly into the high-demand programming and successfully penetrates a specific target audience and maintain their engagement.

A great example is a work we’ve done over the years with the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board (ETPB) who look to attract both business and leisure tourists from around the world. Our teams work with the board to create bespoke content, ensuring alignment with Discovery’s content, resulting in immersive, highly engaging outputs which become more than ‘just an ad’.

The content is then adapted and broadcast to key audiences around the world using Discovery’s multiple channels and platforms, allowing for truly global geo-targeting. The relationship with the ETPB goes back to 2005 and the success of the bespoke content has ensured that the relationship has continued and expanded in the years since.

For any advertiser, the winning combination relies on resolutely knowing three things:

  • Who your audience is and leveraging the intel available
  • How to create content that resonates with them and that they will feel truly passionate about
  • Where to put your perfectly targeted and geographically-bespoke content

Combine these with working alongside the broadcaster’s expert team – who should be willing to go the extra mile – and you’ve got a winning combination. The team should have the expertise to be able to provide seamless content that resonates with viewers (the viewers you really want to reach), and can also be used, in turn, by brands across their own platforms to further amplify ROI.

So, rather than near-jerkingly deleting the row on that finance excel marked ‘TV’, during frantic budget slashing, I’d urge you to reconsider where your adspend is going in 2021. But only if you really, really understand who you’re trying to reach.