Why TV’s Reach and Targetability are Keys to a Multiscreen Advertising Strategy

Today’s marketers are evolving their media plans to keep pace with major changes in consumer video viewing habits. But planning their video investments can be especially confusing, with negative and misleading newsfeed headlines of dwindling TV audiences and the sentiment that streaming is the only way to reach young audience segments.

Unfortunately, this narrative skates past the new targeting opportunities afforded by addressable advertising, or the advantages of multiscreen campaigns that include streaming. As a result, many brands and agencies are left with the impression of having to make a this-or-that choice between traditional versus streaming and advanced TV tactics. But this is not an either-or proposition; multiple platforms and distribution channels can work together to achieve an advertiser’s objectives.

Even as media strategies necessarily become more layered and complex, it is essential for brands not to lose sight of the core components that work.

Linear Leads with Staying Power

Despite cord-cutting trends and steps taken by streaming services to diversify their programming, Pooja Midha, general manager of Comcast’s advertising sales division, noted that, “Households still spend nearly six hours per day with traditional TV.”¹ The big screen has staying power, especially considering recent must-see TV moments, she said.

“Paramount Network’s hit drama ‘Yellowstone’ averaged 8.35 million same-day viewers, and live events were on full display as NFL games, the World Cup and more produced a string of intriguing storylines and matchups delivering record ratings to cable TV networks,” Midha said. “The March Madness college basketball tournament serves as a reminder that there are big-reach linear moments happening on TV where advertisers can score big with audiences.”

With its unmatched reach, linear TV specifically is the centerpiece of a diversified multiscreen TV advertising strategy. It is still the most scaled way to reach consumers, including an estimated 96 million U.S. adults reachable through cable and broadband platforms across Comcast’s 60-plus markets.²

Buy-side leaders like Melissa Grady Dias, chief marketing officer at General Motors’ Cadillac division, have reaffirmed their support of linear TV, too, as part of a balanced portfolio that includes cable and ad-supported streaming.

Linear consistently performs well when the main goal is awareness and familiarity. This top-of-the-funnel tactic still consistently empowers us to reach large audiences efficiently.

Melissa Grady Dias, CMO, Cadillac

Stronger Together: Finding the Right Mix

Those marketers seeking to combine traditional TV with streaming and more advanced tactics are often challenged to determine the right combination, both from an overall investment standpoint and at the individual campaign level.

However, with insights derived from an analysis of over 75,000 multiscreen campaigns conducted by Effectv, advertisers would ideally allocate 20% to 30% of their ad budgets to streaming in order to maximize their reach. Beyond that figure, the advertiser would see diminishing returns, because the amount of available reach is constrained on streaming, and more investment beyond 30% will only deliver frequency, not additional reach.

For innovative marketers who aim to incorporate addressable tactics, it’s also important to consider business KPIs and how they relate to reach and frequency. Effectv, along with General Motors and its agency partner Dentsu, used this approach to compare conversion rates of various tactics, including addressable TV in a multiscreen campaign for Cadillac. Effectv’s analysis revealed how each portion of the campaign performed among actual vehicle buyers.

The findings revealed that 92% of the households reached by Cadillac’s messaging were exposed to the linear-only portion of the campaign, while almost 8% of households were reached through a mix of linear and addressable messaging. Less than 1% were reached through an addressable-only extension, proving the need for a linear-addressable combo.

“While linear drives scale, addressable allows us to fortify frequency against our highest value prospects,” Grady Dias explained. “Furthermore, we have been able to accurately measure closed-looped sales lift and positive change in our mixed-media modeling results.”

The Importance of Multiscreen, Full-Funnel Measurement

The work done by General Motors and Effectv highlights several important points for marketers. Most important was tying exposure to conversion to demonstrate the impact of the addressable portion of the campaign throughout the buyer journey. The ability to enable partners to unify measurement across all tactics was critical, providing a holistic view of the campaign.

Full-funnel measurement also is critical to understanding a campaign’s impact. According to a Comcast Advertising report, TV has the unique ability to make memories and create impact for brands. But TV ads are not always credited with the real-world activity they drive because those outcomes can be hard to connect to TV advertising exposure.

That is slowly changing, with companies like TV ad measurement platform EDO introducing = models built on branded search metrics to predict how TV ads will directly impact purchase behavior. Comcast Advertising is also working with industry partners to enable intelligent targeting and analytics solutions that connect exposure to purchase behavior. These include partnerships with companies like Blockgraph and others to follow television’s impact throughout the entire consumer journey.

These capabilities “allow [Comcast Advertising] to serve to in-market consumers relevant high-quality ads from validated partners,” said James Rooke, president of Comcast Advertising. And modeling from purchase data paired with high match rates of Comcast households help create lookalike audiences based upon hundreds of audience segments—direct, prequalified and, yes, addressable advertising, he said.

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1. The TV Viewership Report 2H 2022, Effectv, 2023.
2. Estimate based on U.S. census of broadband subscriber households in Comcast-represented U.S. counties.