What if marketers found out that their agencies won’t even consider it for campaigns because they can’t buy it at their preferred profit margin?
Sadly, this is a real situation for the medium of local broadcast television. Media buyers’ interest in local TV has declined over the past decade because they believe it requires too much effort to plan and buy.
This is a shame for brands seeking to engage consumers with video in a premium environment. “Local TV gives brands an opportunity to reach consumers across multiple platforms,” explains Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer and president of commercial operations at NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “As our media industry continues to change, you can always count on local TV attracting audiences. Our stations are trusted sources for news and information, and the perfect venue for brands to connect with influential consumers.”
But there is good news for brands and their media buying partners that would love to take advantage of local TV’s strengths. New programmatic platforms enable anyone to easily place targeted ads on any combination of TV stations across the nation’s 210 media markets — all while avoiding epic negotiations and complex paperwork.
Here are six more reasons local TV is a great choice for running a brand’s next video campaign.
1. Local TV Offers Broadcasting’s Superior Reach Without Having to Buy the Whole Country
There’s only one way to reach the entire nation or target an entire potential user universe with TV: run an ad on one of the big four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX). Even cable networks have limits on their universe because their reach is limited by the number of pay TV subscribers, currently just 79 percent of U.S. households, according to a 2017 report by Leichtman Research Group.
The next best option? Local broadcast television. A campaign that combines ad spots from the nation’s local TV broadcasters is the only way to ensure a video ad has the opportunity to be seen in every television home.
2. Local TV Has Huge, Passionate, and Trusting Audiences
Judge Judy is the nation’s most-watched syndicated daytime show with audiences averaging over 10 million viewers each day. Other perennial hits such as Wheel of Fortune and The Big Bang Theory also have comparable audience sizes, MediaPost reports.
The sheer size of these audiences creates ad engagement opportunities that dwarf those offered by digital video. According to a 2014 RBC Capital Markets analysis, a single episode of Judge Judy delivers more ad minutes than an entire month of all of YouTube.
That’s just one show.
Local TV news — broadcasting’s most watched programming — represents a great opportunity to place a brand message in a highly trusted environment. In fact, as the TVB reports, studies by GfK and Voter Funnel find that, year in and year out, local broadcast television news is the most trusted news source.
3. Local TV Stations Can Run Ads on National Programming
Unlike the big four networks, local TV stations have ad slots available around the clock. In addition to the programming they produce and syndicate, local stations can sell spots in major network programming like live sports, prestigious prime time programs, and national news shows.
This makes local TV an efficient way to associate a brand with national programming without having to make a full national buy. It’s especially appropriate for ads that only need to run in a few regions or for brands that want to take advantage of seasonality or weather events.
4. Local TV Has Easily Understood Pricing — If Marketers Have the Right Technology Partner
To get the best possible return on TV advertising spend, marketers have to know whether they’re getting the best possible price. Transparency is a hot issue in digital media, and the ANA has taken media buying agencies to task for allegedly failing to pass on rebates and other discounts on media costs to their clients.
There’s also good reason to ask software companies about how they calculate prices for their users. Advanced TV providers have a variety of ways of disclosing ad pricing and markups. Some simply add a small set percentage to the original media cost. Others are more opaque and will not share a full accounting of the various markups that have been added along the way. Rather than facilitating a direct connection with TV stations, these companies often have business models where they have purchased ad inventory at a reduced rate to resell at an undisclosed arbitrage markup.
5. Marketers Can Make Sure a Local TV Ad Runs Where and When They Want
It’s a weird fact of TV advertising that the most popular ad spots might be sold multiple times. Since a station ultimately can only run one ad at a certain time, media companies frequently have to offer “make-goods” on their promises.
One way to guarantee that a brand’s ads actually run at the preferred time and program is to work with a platform to make a programmatic direct connection with TV station partners. Some vendors and agencies offer programmatic direct as a method for adding the benefits of programmatic advertising to customers that have previously negotiated their business terms on pricing, placements, or pretty much anything.
Moving the paperwork, phone calls, emails, and other ephemera of a frequent trading relationship to a programmatic platform is a great way to save time and get out of repetitive manual tasks.
6. Marketers Can Use More than Age and Gender to Target Audiences
Age and gender are still the dominant and traditional metrics for measuring the composition of TV audiences. That is starting to change as programmatic platforms introduce the ability to import data sets for targeting.
Like digital DSPs, every advanced TV solution has different capabilities for infusing data. Some can enable importing of any data set, including a company’s proprietary data set, while others have certain data sets already on board for either complimentary or paid use.
If a brand plans to bring its own data, it may want to check on what the solution provider will do to protect that data and assure that its other customers can’t access it.
These strong, positive reasons for buying local TV, combined with the potential for buying ads on short notice to take advantage of events or ratings spikes, adds up to a great opportunity to enhance a brand’s video strategy. And when one considers that local TV has none of digital media’s sticky problems, like brand safety or bot fraud, it’s clear to see that local TV stations offer one of the strongest, safest, and most impactful propositions for a brand’s next media buy.
Mickey Wilson is the chief marketing officer at WideOrbit.