How TV Networks Are Working to Improve Your Online Campaigns

Trying to locate one’s target audience isn’t unlike playing a game of hide and seek with a crafty opponent; just as soon as you think you’ve tracked her down, she’s slipped off somewhere else. Consumers like to keep media buyers guessing. It used to be that we were fairly certain to reach them through TV spots, but the expansion of television content to the web in the form of online video has obfuscated our view, leaving us to wonder how we can be sure potential customers are being exposed to our campaigns.

A new study from comScore offers some interesting insight into the relationship between consumers and their increased options for viewing television content. “How Multi-Screen Consumers Are Changing Media Dynamics” explores the shift among major broadcast and cable networks from traditional TV to the web. One of the white paper’s most interesting findings is that these media brands are now harboring three distinct consumer groups: TV Only, Digital Only, and Multi-Screen.

As expected, the degree to which consumers partake of multiple screens very much depends on their demographic profile, both in terms of age and gender. Sports, news, and young adult television networks, for example, see about 30 percent of their audience utilizing multiple screens to view their content. Those who engage with multiple screens, particularly online video, are also likely to spend 25 percent more time with the television brand overall.

Regardless of the makeup of your target audience this data bodes well for advertising brands running cross-media campaigns – particularly because of what media companies are doing to leverage it. Apart from putting their content online where marketers can benefit from added exposure, they’re working hard to strengthen their audience loyalty with added features that bridge the TV-web gap. And they’re creating new advertising opportunities in the process.

Driving traffic. Once all TV ads were designed to drive consumers to brick-and-mortar stores. Now they drive consumers to the web – including to TV network sites. Ads that promote online content and features related to a network’s programming are an effective way to infuse network sites with visits. They also help networks overcome TV’s inherent flaw of passivity by encouraging interactivity online. Networks take many different approaches to luring consumers to the web; media brands like ABC invite them to watch exclusive footage of new and current shows, while Lifetime highlights its reality show cast blogs and asks users to complete quizzes about what they’ve seen on TV.

What do these efforts mean for you? More unique and repeat visits, first and foremost, but also a more engaged online audience of users to work with. When consumers make their way online to interact with a network or series on a deeper level, they are predisposed to interact with the brands they see advertised in conjunction with the content they love. Media companies set the stage for our success, while advertising opportunities like series sponsorships and home page skins (Panera Bread recently placed one with help us connect with their active and alert site users.


Building chatter. Social media has become the lynchpin of cable and network television promotion online, in large part due to the efforts of the media companies themselves. Networks are going beyond simply having a social media presence to truly engage consumers with their brands – and the brands of their advertising clients – on the social web. Bravo encourages viewers to tweet their impressions of shows in real time for a chance to win major prizes, while Food Network cross-promotes its online content on its Facebook page.


What do you stand to gain from this approach? As always media buyers will appreciate the added traffic, but a strong TV network social campaign also begets strong ad placements. Food Network’s current seasonal content, Grilling Central, has its own hashtag (#fngrilling) promoted on the network’s existing Twitter page, which advertising sponsor Toyota is sure to appreciate.


Moving users to mobile. Media companies have found savvy ways not just to generate interest in their online TV show content, but in their mobile content as well. Take for example TNT, which has begun an email campaign with publishers like DailyCandy to promote the third season of its drama series, “Rizzoli & Isles.”

What’s in it for advertising brands? For Lowe’s, which sponsors TNT’s mobile apps in a campaign that includes plenty of display ads on TNT drama site pages, it means more eyeballs, more potential downloads, and a generally more appealing media buy.

Whether your marketing campaign includes traditional TV spots or not, cable and network television sites have a lot to offer your brand. Supporting your successful ad campaign is simply a matter of creating a successful ad campaign of your own.

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