These are strange times for national TV advertisers. Huge operational challenges are presenting themselves just as business as usual is impossible, and as parts of the U.S. begin to reopen, national advertisers may feel stuck, locked into creative that may or may not resonate with every market that sees it. Or worse yet, they may feel that the only option for them is to go dark and not advertise at all.
Viewers under a stay-at-home order, for example, may deeply resent seeing an ad for a restaurant chain they know is closed. That's bad for the viewer, bad for the brand, and not great for the channel, either.
Times like these call for partners that can help navigate this changing landscape, says Melissa Moschetti, senior vice president and managing director at XACTV. These partners should be looking to provide value, creative offerings, and flexibility. Moschetti (pictured at top) believes these are the core strengths of an unwired ad solution.
When we talk about "unwired broadcast," there is a difference between just buying some local affiliate spots and a cohesive unwired strategy. XACTV's unwired solution, Moschetti points out, offers a wide variety of programming across 210 markets (offering an 80-plus percent national footprint). Customized plans include local and national morning news, daytime network, evening news, late news, and late night, and both first-run syndicated shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jeopardy! and off-network hits like The Big Bang Theory.
Local TV was an attractive buy even before the pandemic, but it's crucial now. Viewing in the "early fringe" daypart, which includes local and network evening news, is up, per Nielsen. Daytime viewing in the week of March 23-27 was up 121 percent from the same week last year, according to Samba TV. The absence of live sports combined with stay-at-home orders has led to a large audience hungry for engaging content.
Some of these viewers, Moschetti says, may not have been reached by a traditional national TV ad campaign. "This would be new inventory for national advertisers," she adds. Local options empower national advertisers to innovate. For example, a national restaurant chain can give the details of safe curbside pickup at its locations in a particular region while also educating viewers on new dine-in regulations for a different area that's opening back up, an approach that a traditional national campaign doesn't take.
During a time when trust in media is especially important, the trust that viewers have in their local TV stations is clear—83 percent of respondents to a TVB survey said they trust their local news, the highest of any category, including national broadcast news.
The advantages of an unwired solution are similarly clear: The efficiency of a large footprint combined with the ability to run different creative in different markets and/or dayparts, all in a trusted, extremely brand-safe environment.
But because there are still so many options when it comes to unwired, finding the right inventory mix to reach these audiences can seem like an overwhelming task.
Moschetti knows this pain point well. This is where tech can help, she says—specifically, an ad platform that uses proven machine learning technology to find the right mix for clients. The clients feed in their desired audience, markets they consider off-limits or strongly desirable, and let the platform construct an initial media plan on its own. Using this tech can accelerate decision-making and precision at the same time.
Once these buys have been executed, Moschetti explains, in-flight Nielsen ratings are guaranteed, and performance is verified by other third parties. And the results are fed right back into the platform, helping it learn and refine its decision-making capabilities for future buys.
By allowing AI to do the work of sifting through inventory, Moschetti says, clients are able to find pockets of value they may have otherwise missed: "We can tell a pharma client we're giving them new viewers, because they weren't looking at local morning shows."
Again, these new audiences are hungry for new content—and that includes ad breaks. Having to see the same set of ads over and over again, particularly when many viewers feel as though they're stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, can be maddening. Giving them fresh creative is a win for everyone, Moschetti says, and that's even more significant if it's creative that's relevant for the region.
Marketers and consumers are having to adjust to a new normal. And Moschetti wants to be right alongside them with an unwired solution that can deliver real value they can trust.
First appeared in Media Village