Scottsdale, Arizona - part of the traditional American frontier. The organizers of MediaPost’s TV and Video Insider Summit corralled an eclectic posse of video ad-slinging mavericks and I was glad to be among them to talk about how pharma marketing and addressable TV can make great partners.
Forgoing the traditional covered wagon, I journeyed south to share the insights we gained after running an addressable television test for a healthcare company that achieved considerable success.
We had approached the test by overlaying likelihood to convert to the brand-consumer data on top of sales data by DMA. The test was successful and will provide benchmarks and learning for how we can approach addressable in the future: both for large national brands that could benefit from pockets of heavy-up messaging and brands that need to focus on a smaller geographic footprint to reduce out of pocket spending. We also garnered great additional insights about how television works to deliver different audience segments, and how we need to continue to diversify the portfolio to reach all of our audiences.
There are a lot of new opportunities available for pharma marketers in the video space to reach these audiences and it was exciting to be able to join the conversation in Scottsdale. Here is an overview of the opportunities discussed:
Linear TV usually references traditional broadcast or cable network programming. A supply-and-demand-driven marketplace, it continues to mostly be bought and sold manually with several rounds of negotiations. While linear continues to decline in viewership, it remains a significant percentage of overall video consumption by adults. According to the Nielsen 1Q Total Audience Report, adults spent four hours and 46 minutes watching live and time-shifted TV per day, compared to 46 minutes watching on TV-connected devices, and 10 minutes watching video on a computer. It should be noted that pharma is one of the biggest industries spending on linear TV, increasing spending in 2018 to $3.73 billion, according to real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.
Over-The-Top Television (OTT)
OTT references content that is delivered outside of any pay television cable provider, and can be viewed on any device. An example of ad-supported providers would be Hulu or Roku, while non-ad supported providers include Netflix or Amazon Prime. According to eMarketer, 58% of households are projected to have access to OTT by 2022. While households tend to stack these technologies on top of linear, sources cited as much as a third of the US television marketplace as only having access to these services. These consumers are called “cord cutters” or “cord nevers” and tend to skew disproportionately younger (18-34).
A subset of OTT is connected TV, which is any television that can be connected to the internet through an Ethernet or wireless connection. Most OTT content is delivered via connected televisions.
Although we will continue to explore OTT, it hasn’t been a significant part of Klick’s recommended pharma media plans up to this point for the following reasons:
- Limited consumer usage and penetration translates to limited inventory that tends to have premium CPMs, which make it cost-prohibitive in its ability to pay out ROI. While traditional (linear) TV continues to deliver positive ROI results through strategic negotiations, it will remain a priority in media plans.
- With a standard :60 unit in order to accommodate fair balance requirements, it can be a struggle to buy significant inventory.
- CPM pricing models based on starts for skippable inventory also need to be considered if there are CPM premiums associated.
Addressable TV enables advertisers to use data to better target zones or households versus the traditional television-buying currency of age and gender demographics. This strategy holds a lot of promise for pharma as it will enable to advertisers to have a significant impact in local markets where they may not have the budgets necessary to advertise nationally, or could benefit from local heavy-up presence.
There was a lot of discussion at the Summit about how the advertising industry can move forward to face the challenges of these opportunities, including how to strategically plan, build scale and measure results across different platforms. On top of those challenges, pharma advertising includes its own set of obstacles in being able to take advantage of these opportunities:
- In order to comply with the privacy requirements, some concessions had to be made to how granular we could get with targeting in the test that was executed. While most advertisers can target down to household level, we were limited to advertising within zones, or intentional data noise added into targeting platforms. This may reduce targeting accuracy, but based on the test we did, we were still significantly more targeted in our addressable markets than we were with national linear television. We will need to keep these privacy requirements in mind when planning future opportunities.
- Scalability was (and may continue to be) limited based on the number of households that have the technological capability, and cobbling together different vendor footprints. We’re pursuing opportunities with additional vendors and hope to continue to grow this aspect.
It’s an exciting time to be in the industry, but video has some challenges to overcome as it reaches maturity. Attending the summit was a great opportunity to share our learning, and connect with other advertisers for how to leverage opportunities moving forward. In the interim, we’ll continue to explore, test and learn, and be on the forefront of pharma’s role in the television and video advertising landscape.