Streaming will soon be bigger than TV…. more people will stream video online each day than will watch scheduled programs on traditional TV.
With the advancement of technology, the possibilities through which to consume content have become endless. For example, no more having to be home at a specific time to watch your favourite TV show. Now, you can watch it online (via Online Subscription TV) or stream it afterwards. Need more proof? Just take a look at how popular Netflix, an on-demand streaming service has become. In 2017, Netflix reported 93 million subscribers worldwide. At this point Netflix does not offer advertising, but other subscription TV channels like Plus7 & 9Now or even Youtube for that matter have been offering internet based advertising content for some time. But like all things exposing your brand to such platforms may have certain implications and it’s important to understand how it can effect your brand.
What are Online TV Services & why should I care?
In case you’re new to the internet game, I will quickly explain what online subscription TV is. Think of online subscription TV as the digital distribution of TV content. This includes TV shows and movies. However instead of it being a live telecast, you can choose what you want to watch and when to watch it.
Online subscription TV allows you to catch up on any show you want after it airs on TV. Missed the latest episode of The Block? Just head to 9Now and watch it when it is convenient for you. Or, choose to wait until the end of the season and binge watch all the episodes in a week.
Online subscription TV allows for more flexibility and choices, but above all: it’s mostly always free. No TV at home? No problem. Grab your laptop and tune in to your favourite channel. Got some time to kill on your way to work? Watch that documentary you haven’t had time to watch yet.
That’s great and all for the consumer, being able to start, stop, forward, or even skip parts of the content they are streaming, but what does that mean for advertisers and brands?
Online Subscription TV advertising
It didn’t take long for advertisers and marketers to realise that this new method of consuming content represented an amazing chance to promote brands. Imagine going from just promoting to your set broadcast TV sessions to a world that streams shows all the time. It already sounds like a golden opportunity, doesn’t it?
But what is more is that advertisers and marketers can now also use targeting advertising via digital platforms. Instead of showing the same ads to an entire demographic on TV, they could advertise smarter and show different content to different users based on what they liked to watch, where they were, and which device they were using.
There are countless of benefits of doing online advertising. From avoiding expensive long term contracts, to capturing more leads through targeting and remarketing. You can even lower marketing costs.
Are you thinking “it’s too good to be true, there must be a catch!”. Well yes.
New ways of advertising also create new risks for the associated brands. When talking specifically about online TV advertising, the main problems I have with it are:
– The repetition of the same ads time and again.
– Too many ads being shown at one time.
This approach has made customers feel like companies are brainwashing them into buying a specific product, ultimately leading them to the point where they can no longer tolerate the brand.
Let’s explain this further.
Let me tell you one more time why you should buy my product…
A new survey has found that viewers using an online subscription TV tend to see the same ads over and over. And it seems to have a pretty big impact on the viewers, who stated that seeing the same ads all the time was the feature they disliked the most about watching online TV.
And what are the effects of this? It causes ad nauseam. By seeing the same ad, viewers get literally sick of it, sick of the brand, and in many cases, vow to never buy a product from that brand ever again. So instead of building brand advocates you could be building haters.
And that doesn’t affect just advertisers but also online subscription TV, as more viewers are choosing to use unconventional methods to watch, stream, or download content rather than having to deal with ads.
What is this all about?
In theory, the Internet is a gigantic inventory, full of data that should help marketers and advertisers create targeted and personalised ads. Yet, online subscription TV keep showing the same ads. And even compared with traditional TV, it feels like ads are much more diverse than on their online TV service. So what is going on? And why hasn’t the problem been fixed?
For you to understand the reason behind the amount of repetitive ads on online subscription TV, let me first explain the difference in advertising between the two.
Scheduling ahead of time
TV networks work with a single linear feed, which makes it possible to schedule their programs (and therefore ads) ahead of time. They also heavily rely on human intelligence, such as their sales team and advertiser partners, to help them figure out where their ads will go.
This human touch has, in a way, prevented a single brand from taking over all the advertising space. Unfortunately, the online subscription TV world is a bit more complicated than the traditional TV ads process. Nothing is scheduled, but rather, works on a number of on-demand streams. So to show ads, they have to appear as commercial breaks become available. This is the reason why often, only a few amount of ads are available and you can see the same over and over.
The other problem is the way advertisers work with online subscription TV. Let me dive into this in more detail.
Doing business with online subscription TV
In the normal TV world, advertisers buy a certain number of scheduled ad spots. In the case of online subscription TV, often, advertisers buy a number of impressions. This means that they agree for their ads to be shown X amount of times. And depending on the number of viewers, this can become a problem.
Let me take an example. Imagine you agree to buy 10 million impressions for the month. Now, what would happen if there were only 500 000 users? Because of its commitment, the online subscription TV will have to show your ads regardless. But that means it shows it over and over again to the same people. And that’s not good.
You’re probably asking “can’t an advertiser choose how often an ad is shown?” Yes, but then that will probably cost you more.
So, now that I have touched on online TV ads, you’re probably wondering how it compares with YouTube ads? Is the case similar?
Advertising on YouTube
YouTube is the most used video service across the world. With 4,950,000,000 videos viewed every day and 900,000,000 unique visits every month. You can call it the golden egg of online advertising.
You can imagine that with such a big audience, fulfilling the demand to advertisers isn’t much of a problem. Even if you decide to buy 10 million impressions, YouTube and its massive audience allows for better distribution. But is YouTube risk-free?
Some of the complaints from advertisers are that:
– YouTube has no guarantee.
– Its cheap inventory is risky.
Let me define those a bit better.
Advertiser argument against YouTube ads
YouTube has no guarantee regarding the exact content around which your ad will be placed, as the content is certainly not as regulated as it is with subscription TV channels. Surprise! Your ad for safety equipment appears next to a red bull video which shows people doing crazy things! But is it the risk you should take to reach out to a massive audience?
The only element advertisers control when it comes to YouTube, is the kind of audience they want to target. So, if you choose a target market of females 20-35 years old, then YouTube will show your ad to this demographic but you might see your ad on a wide range of different videos with completely different topics.
You can therefore then refine your targeting to specific topics, and even specific youtube channels that you want your ads to appear on. i.e Male 18-44, No Kids, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Snowbound Traveller for your targeted travel video.
The next risk associated with YouTube advertisement is the risk of cheap inventory.
A lot of advertisers and marketers ultimately decide to go with YouTube because of its cost-effective solutions. However, with so many videos put on YouTube everyday, there is a chance that your ad ends up next to a video that was not made by a professional. The video may not be as high quality as on TV for example.
But what does Google have to say about the risks of advertising through YouTube?
Google’s point of view on YouTube advertising
Google strives to make it as safe as possible for brands to advertise on YouTube. And, coming back to the previous problems raised by advertisers against YouTube advertising, here is Google’s point of view on the issue.
Google assures the safety of your brand thanks to its zero tolerance policy. Brands are fearful that their advertisement appears on low quality content or ones that break the content rules. Google explains that as soon as a video is flagged, it will remove it if it is deemed to break its content rules. This minimises the chances of your ad being shown next to say racist content for example.
A Google spokesperson has stated that “We work to prevent ads appearing against content that is not appropriate for our advertising partners through a combination of technical algorithms and human review. Users can also provide feedback on specific ads or our policies through our online form”.
YouTube uses a system that automatically checks for many different things such as text feature, title, visual imagery and more. And if it finds one that does not meet the policy guidelines, it will remove or disable it from advertising.
What do you think?
The world of online videos and streaming has opened many doors for advertisers and marketers. The opportunities are limitless. You can reach out to countless demographics and interest categories across the world.
But with this comes new risks and problems that advertisers have to face and ultimately work through. The world is moving exponentially towards consuming online video content. By 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content (Cisco).
No matter where your preferences lie, the advancement of technology and the new digital age is rapidly changing the game for advertisers. Ideally I believe in going where the attention is. Whether its Subscription TV advertising, Youtube, Snapchat or whatever else that comes along, advertisers need to adopt a mantra of continuously testing and trailing new strategies and online ad platforms to measure reach and effectiveness. Simply not being in the game leaves a lot of opportunity on the table for many brands who are afraid to take the leap. Participation is the key to staying relevant, ongoing optimisation is the strategy that will lead you to success.
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