The ‘Battle for the Living Room’ doesn’t exist

Theo Theodorou, Senior VP EMEA Videology

Theo Theodorou,
Senior VP

One of the most exhausted phrases in our industry is the so-called ‘battle for the living room’. We’re still talking about this supposed need for advertisers to control a room in the house where people interact with videos.

Advertising on TV used to be a straight-forward concept when the trusty box-in-the-corner was the one screen in the home. Thanks to the meteoric rise in connected devices – from smartphones and tablets, to next-generation game consoles – we now live in a world where there is no ‘main’ screen. A huge 69 percent of British mobile users owned smartphones in 2012 – a figure set to rise further still – and we’re using this newfound connectivity to complement and augment viewing experiences across multiple devices.

Speaking at the ‘IAB Devices Forum’ this November, Tom Elkington, research and strategy director at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), highlighted the ways people are doing this, with smartphone-and-laptop the most popular combination of screens (51 percent), and 98 percent of viewers frequently interacting with two or more screens at the same time.

By evolving from an environment of one screen viewed by many, to many screens accessible to any one individual, we’re experiencing the birth of a new TV phenomenon—that of ‘omni-screening’—a reality in which the type of device viewers are looking at becomes irrelevant. Why? Because they’re accessing the same content on- and offline, whatever the screen, and the time has come for advertisers to take note of this behavioural shift.

Campaigns can’t be run based on ‘TV’ or ‘online’ anymore – they can’t even be run as TV and online. Instead, campaigns need to be about delivery across multiple screens, regardless of device-type, because users don’t necessarily sit in front of one screen all the time. The key to successful campaigns now lies in a holistic approach with integrated planning across all devices.

Having an advertising strategy for online video raises brand awareness by 33 percent. Having a strategy that reaches across three screens raises that figure to 90 percent – a figure brands cannot ignore. This truth means that advertisers need to view the different screens as a single, omni-screening experience, in which viewers can seamlessly switch from one to the other without interference.

Take PC video on demand (VOD)—it’s growing year-on-year as brands embrace the precise audience targeting this channel can provide. As a result, understanding how each screen performs to objectives is vitally important. For example, view-through-rates (VTR) – which measure a video’s number of completed views – are 17 percent higher for online vs. smart TV, but just two percent higher for mobile vs. online.

The vast majority of today’s TV advertising content is non-clickable, even for smart TVs, (although dynamic ad selection will soon make this a reality) with consumers currently having to make the effort to seek out more information on the brand or product. Conversely, click-through-rate (CTR) – which measures how many times an advert is clicked on – is 140 percent higher vs. online for mobiles, and non-existent on linear TV for obvious reasons.

What does this show? That omni-screen video advertising is the obvious campaign strategy to follow. If advertisers can run an advert on a TV, and simultaneously on a mobile device, viewers can see it on the TV, in full size and resolution, and can use their handheld device to click-through with ease.

But don’t panic TV lovers! This doesn’t mean TV is dead—far from it. Accenture predicts that ten years from now, TV will still be one of the largest pieces of furniture in the living room, and it will still have a central place in family life. But the TV business overall may be unrecognisable—certainly when compared to the operating models and industry makeup that prevails today. Advertisers that recognise this, and use platform- and screen-agnostic methodology, will be primed for winning campaigns, with maximum effectiveness.

Written by 

Theo Theodorou,

Senior Vice President, EMEA, Videology

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