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TV ads aren’t dying – they’re just evolving

Published: 17/09/2015 | AUTHOR: Michael Cavanagh

Twitter and TV

It’s 60 years since the first TV ads appeared on our screens. From jumpy, black and white beginnings, they’ve become familiar to everyone – robots advertising instant mashed potato, drumming gorillas selling chocolate and the obligatory car ad with someone driving around winding Alpine roads with a smile on their face.

But as we mark six decades of the TV ad, are they in danger of being pensioned off? And is anyone actually watching them anymore?

Ask yourself where you’re most used to seeing ads. Twenty years ago, the answers would probably include newspapers, magazines and, of course, television.

Now however, it’s all about online. The decline of print advertising has been well documented as outlets have gradually switched to digital. And TV viewing habits have altered significantly. We can pause live TV and skip any ad breaks, we’re often viewing recorded or catch-up services and TV in general is competing for the time that we might otherwise spend looking at smartphones and tablets.

On top of all of this, developments in online advertising are allowing advertisers to be highly targeted with where their adverts will show and who will see them. All in all, TV is being forced to make changes to avoid the risk of being completely left behind.

Sure enough, those changes are putting TV advertising back towards the top of the media hierarchy. One of the key contributors has been Sky, who realised that the gravitas that TV advertising used to hold was vanishing and a hugely expensive shotgun approach through TV ads had a limited life span in a world where brands are looking to cut wastage from every angle.

This brought about the launch of Sky AdSmart. AdSmart allows advertisers to use the data that Sky holds on its customers to target specific audiences by location, age, income and a number of other factors, eradicating any need to target certain placements based on assumptions that your audience will be watching.

Not only is AdSmart able to locate your audience but it will also only charge the advertiser for a full viewing of the advert (over 75% duration at normal speed). This means that Sky’s customers are seeing adverts that a more relevant while brands are minimising wastage.

In addition, the targeting options that AdSmart offers means that the potential reach of the advert can be reduced, meaning a much more affordable entry level.

With two (or more) screens vying for a consumer’s attention in the form of TVs, tablets and phone, especially during ad breaks, advertisers have also had to look at how they can use the positives and take advantage of the different ways in which people can now access ads.

Continuing the story of an advertisement is proving very effective and a great way to get more out of TV advertising. Brands are finding ways to engage their audience beyond the TV advert and generate more value.

Social media is an extremely useful place to continue a story from a TV ad and immerse the customer in the experience. As well as the use of hashtags, adverts can be targeted at users who are watching (and discussing) the show that’s on when your advert is shown. Listening and monitoring conversations on social is also a great way to engage with this audience.

The use of the app Shazam is increasing in popularity among advertisers to ease the journey for users to find out more information following the 30 seconds of advert.

Jaguar use the audio recognition app Shazam to enable TV viewers of their advert to get additional information on the F-Type by ‘Shazaming’ it. And with Shazam’s introduction of visual recognition it will soon be easier than ever to buy directly from a TV advert.

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