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Data Drivers: TV, Second Screens, and the Art of the Feedback Loop

1 Jul, 2017 By: Kevin O’Reilly, TVSquared Response

What’s working, what isn’t, and how can we do better? These are questions every marketer asks about their campaigns. And, thanks to media feedback loops created from readily available and timely data, they can confidently answer them.

A feedback loop is the process of action-information-reaction: how an advertiser reaches consumers, how consumers learn about the brand, and how they engage with it (whether a sale, app download, site traffic, etc.).

Traditionally, data access has been abundant in the digital realm, making for easy measurement and optimization. With offline channels — most notably TV — marketers have had to rely on retrospective data, and feedback loops are only as accurate and timely as the data involved. But recent analytical technologies have changed, making TV just as measureable and optimizable as digital.

Close to 90 percent of TV viewers have second screens in hand or nearby, which helps to produce real-time data trails that marketers can learn from. Brands can now measure how online and offline channels impact and influence each other along the customer journey.

TV’s Kicker Effect

As second-screening grows — last year, 146.9 million Americans browsed via mobile while watching TV — so does active-participation TV viewing. This is when people see TV ads that interest them and immediately engage with the brand via digital.

Additionally, with TV content increasingly available through video-on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) services, the division between online and offline is disappearing. TV is now simply a part (albeit a big part) of a multichannel media mix. Advertisers can’t afford to think in online and offline silos anymore.

Building an Effective Feedback Loop

The rise of second screens and the real-time measurability of TV shorten the distance between information and reaction. Advertisers can measure feedback loops that inform future marketing efforts. But before they can realize these benefits, marketers need to keep some things in mind:

  • Think holistically about media strategies. As humans, it’s in our nature to compartmentalize — segment things into different categories to make sense of and bring order to our world.

    In recent years, advertisers have started to smash the false dichotomy of TV vs. digital, thinking about how channels work together and influence each other. For brands to take advantage of — and optimize — feedback loops they have to take holistic, complementary, cross-channel approaches to their media strategies.

  • Think strategically about calls-to-action. Studies show that TV ads drive both online and offline response. Some ads are particularly effective at driving branded search or site visits, while others may promote social engagement or telephone calls.

    More brands are designing their TV campaigns around the second-screening viewer, meaning they use clear, strong, mobile calls-to-action within their TV creatives. Adore Me was one of the first advertisers to do this, with a spot featuring an actress saying, “I know your phone’s out, so look them up.”

  • Think about unified campaign insight. In reality, one media channel is rarely the sole reason for closing a sale. A TV spot might initially drive viewers to visit a site, but they may then be exposed to sponsored search listings and/or Facebook ads before the deal is finally sealed. The whole process could take days, weeks, or months. Technologies like marketing mix models (MMMs) and multi-touch attribution (MTA) — or a combination of both — help advertisers understand how online and offline channels interact with each other and impact business outcomes.
  • Measure, Optimize, Repeat. To take advantage of the knowledge gained from feedback loops, speed is of the essence. Marketers must have real-time views into response and channel performance — what’s working and what’s not. Measurement and optimization is an ongoing cycle: we can always get smarter, act faster, and have more successful campaigns.

The opportunity to create and learn from feedback loops is huge. TV is unrivaled for driving awareness, but it’s now even more powerful by kick-starting an array of digital responses too. For advertisers, the chance to create, measure, and improve media feedback loops has never been greater. It’s time: act, inform, react. ■



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