SYNC OS is India’s leading TV Audience Management Platform, measuring & attributing brand impact on business KPIs across linear and digital video-scape for 1000s of campaigns we monitor at any given point of time. This gives us a unique view on how this pandemic is impacting TV Viewership and advertising on TV across India. We’re in touch with several brands, agencies, media owners and publishers to understand the impact of COVID-19 – and we earlier shared the latest TV viewership insights and trends arising from this new normal, dominated by need for NEWS & entertainment while almost everyone is home-bound. In case you missed it: Watch it here.
Brands should not go dark
It’s a bit quandary that the TV viewership is all time high and yet most advertisers have considered to go off the television. This may be the result of disrupted supply chain, production, or product market fitment in times like this but they must consider the potential pitfall by stoping the communication altogether. Pausing a campaign would mean losing the brand effect you’ve been building upon – it may sound harsh, but consumers tend to forget you. You may have used advertising on television, primarily, for immediate uplift on performance, but this is not the time to disregard the longer-term impact it brings too.
Time to attribute, optimise and repeat
For advertisers, at the moment goal should be to measure and attribute to reveal media efficiencies based on data they never had access too. Attribution clearly is now more important than ever. Cost optimisation with respect to impact on core business KPIs must be put at the centre of all outreach programs, that will make it critical to use real-time, accurate proof of performance to measure and optimize ad spend. Every ad dollar spent should be made to deliver on business KPIs to reveal the changing response patterns to be capitalized upon them.
Especially now, when viewership trends are in flux
Of course if you home-bound millions of people at once, it is going to impact everything – driving new behaviors. This is true for media consumption as well, as we are noticing – from linear to OTT. Our homes are the all-encompassing entertainment/work zones … even movie theatres! We’re seeing TV viewing rise significantly across platforms leading to possibility that consumers might eventually accelerate cord-cutting or drop streaming services to save costs in a downturn economy. How long this trend will last, we don’t know but these change under given circumstances may carry forward for few exposed to newer programming genres and formats. These emerging trends not fitting with your existing media planning tools and data sets should not be the reason for you to sit back and watch the entire optimisation and experimental phase go by?
This is the time to test, learn and repeat
Looking at data and how media consumption is all time high, SYNC recommends this as a good time to test different types of content and distribution – including new genres, programs, day-parts, networks and publishers – to see how they work in this new normal. This is especially the case with GEC programming, as production for most shows has stopped due to the #coronavirus. It may be best time to test out news, movies, kid’s programming or tried-and-tested sports reruns, which many viewers look to for information/reliability/comfort in such times of uncertainty.
Remember OTT is the new TV
Irrespective of the screen size, focusing on the audience is the smart way forward. This is the time to step out of the walled-gardens to measure and optimize TV across platforms like linear and OTT. Make sure you know exactly how they are working individually and together. There is enough data with us to almost recommend you to run campaign only on OTT platforms and measure the brand impact on business KPIs to see what works best and in turn reveal the true audience affinities with content genres and programming. Later replicate the model on mainstream TV campaign to build efficiencies based on efficient audience affinities. More consumers are watching streaming services than ever before, so this will certainly be an interesting time for brands to lean into streaming with proper measurement in place.
While the TV ad industry was already in the midst of change – moving toward performance, outcomes, transparency and accountability – this global crisis will accelerate that change. The TV industry as we knew it will be changed forever, for the greater good of the advertiser.
There is still a lot we need to understand about COVID-19’s impact on our industry, but if I (Uday Thareja) can leave you with one piece of advice, it’s this: ‘watch performance closely’.