Why We Still Buy TV
The fall TV season has come and gone. And once again the advertising and business press are all talking about further ratings declines and shows that did not make it. I know these conversations are not lost on the companies participating in the paper checkoff. I am routinely asked why the Paper & Packaging Board – How Life Unfolds® campaign continues to run traditional TV ads as part of our campaign.
The fact is we are buying less TV – both in dollars and impressions – than we did at the start of the campaign in July 2015. TV is a great medium to introduce a new campaign and reach a national audience cost effectively. It also conveys incredible emotion through the power of sight and sound. So it made a lot of sense to use TV to establish our message (and brand) on a national basis.
As technology has continued to evolve, so have the number of options available for viewing programming and video content driving audience fragmentation. Our challenge is to reach and engage with our target consumer wherever they are viewing media. Today, TV is defined not by just the big screen in your home where people are watching all forms of video content – but now wherever you are if you are digitally connected. So contrary to the current notion and ratings reports, TV is not dead. Just the opposite in fact. More people than ever are viewing TV. Connected TV and Mobile TV were up 26% in 2018. Our media buys include TV across devices and our investment in TV is about the same as it is on digital. And while some might say people aren’t watching TV on the big screen anymore, 82% of adults 18 and older are. In fact, adults 18 and older spend 3 hours watching live TV.
The best way to think about TV advertising today is that TV is really part of a bigger genre of advertising we now call video. Video represents all the ways we watch commercials – on the big screen, on our laptops and tablets and on our phones. So what falling TV ratings mean is that the number of consumers who see our video ads on a traditional TV screen declined. But increasingly our video ads (aka TV) are now seen across an entire spectrum of digital content from news websites to travel apps to online video sites like Hulu.
You also hear a lot of talk these days about ad blocking technology consumers use to avoid ads. The good news is we don’t pay for ads that never reach the intended consumer. In some cases, we have gone even further with media partners and are only paying on a per click basis – meaning we do not pay unless the target has clicked through to our website.
Today, our traditional TV budget, largely cable TV, is less than half of our media budget. Another 45% of our media budget is digital – search, social, online and mobile. The remaining 5% is print. Traditional TV is still a good bet to build image, awareness and reach more eyeballs consistently than most digital venues. But our “TV” and all the other forms of video we put out are running in digital venues where consumers are consuming increasingly more news, entertainment and content than ever before. We are taking advantage of the best of both worlds for the time being.