Scale and reach, by Choueiri Group’s Walid Yared

Choueiri Group’s chief marketing officer, Walid Yared, looks at how television fits into a post-pandemic marketing mix.

How have advertisers’ requirements changed since last year?

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to persist on a worldwide level, its adverse impact on the global economy has been widely felt. In light of the recessionary environment ever since last year, we have witnessed a steady shift towards performance marketing, as businesses have had to focus heavily on their bottom line. At the same time, brands are also being compelled to re-look at their efforts on the brand front as well.

What advertisers are realising this year is that focusing on performance without the requisite brand equity and awareness in place does not necessarily translate well. Today, with proven data supporting their decisions, they have reached a stage where they must try to optimise both.

What was the impact of Covid-19 on TV advertising?

As far as TV advertising is concerned, the pandemic has resulted in a paradoxical situation, where despite TV viewership witnessing a significant boost, we were unable to see a corresponding rise in TV advertising figures. This was primarily due to brands placing budgets and campaigns on hold in the face of lengthy lockdowns and the overall uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

What will be the long-term effects of Covid-19?

Although Covid-19 has played an important role over the course of last year and continues to factor into 2021 as well, it is still a transient occurrence. In terms of the lifecycle of things, we believe that the pandemic will eventually serve as a temporary event and not become a long-term focus or deterrent for TV advertisers. The impact and pressure on television advertising will however continue to stem from other more tangible and sustained sources, such as the ongoing digital transformation.

How have viewer habits changed in the last year?

People are spending more time at home and seeking different ways to entertain themselves. This phenomenon has affected TV consumption, with the time spent watching TV (inclusive of video-on-demand platforms) significantly increasing, as compared with the pre-pandemic period.

How are advertisers integrating TV with other media channels?

Realising the long-lasting effectiveness of television branding, brands are certainly exploring other avenues where TV can affect and improve the scale and reach of their campaigns. An example of this would be how brands are now integrating TV with their digital strategies and using TV content across their social media platforms. 

Aligned with the cutting-edge practices of advanced global advertising markets, advertisers are now also leveraging TV to fit into their performance plays. Tools such as Brand4mance reiterate TV’s prowess as a potent medium that can effectively deliver on the traditional brand front, as well as the newly valued performance front.

What new services are TV broadcasters offering advertisers, beyond the traditional 30-second spot?

I would not necessarily term anything as ‘new’, but TV advertising has continuously been evolving, growing and thriving, to empower brands with greater effectiveness through a varied range of services and executions. These include items that guarantee viewability such as branded content, product placements, etc.

In addition, TV’s extension to ad-funded video on demand (AVOD), subscription-funded video on demand (SVOD) and social media platforms that have higher reach and impact with younger viewers such as Gen Z, has also been very noticeable. This has added to its appeal as a far-reaching advertising medium, which is giving brands newer ways to target audiences.

TV today is also placing more tools than ever before at the disposal of clients. These include innovative solutions such as marketing mix modelling, cross-media studies and brand lift studies, which are all paving the way forward for a better return on investment.

What advice would you give to brands with limited budgets to make the most of their TV spend?

To make the most of their TV advertising budgets, brands should be focused on developing partnerships with publishers and media agencies who can help them define and identify where their audiences are, and what impact TV has on their brands, as well as their performance concerns, offline and online, as part of a holistic approach. One great example is when brands uncover a ‘medium-performance’ channel that has a high affinity with their target audience and consequently generates much higher performance than other channels deemed to be ‘high-performance’ and consequently a lower cost of acquisition. Affinity, therefore, is a crucial question, which must be answered.