“If we can just get them in the door, they’ll be a customer for life,” said one local retailer.
“Once I can get in front of them for a bid, our closing rate is through the roof,” said one local contractor.
For local advertisers, the complexity of “getting noticed,” has become increasingly difficult, because consumers control the messaging filter. Today’s technology empowers prospective customers to tune you out, whenever, wherever. The question begs: “How can local business owners use this fundamental shift to improve their chances of connecting with prospective customers?” Let’s get started….
Preamble: Screenland 2019 – Basic Understanding of Today’s Media Consumption
While we won’t get into the varying degrees of demographic usage, for example, millennials vs. baby boomers, it’s important to establish a baseline of consumption metrics to inform a path moving forward. These statistics are derived from Nielsen’s Q1 2018 “Total Audience Report,” a staple report published from the iconic media research firm. Here are a few key considerations for local advertisers….
*60%+ of households have a device that can stream content to their TV.
-This is huge! Streaming video on your phone is a completely different experience than streaming to your (affordable) 60” Smart 4K TV that has direct access to your favorite viewing apps (Netflix, Hulu, etc). Streaming devices (ie, Roku, Apple TV), and “Smart TV’s” are all making this convenient and cheap to watch one’s favorite shows. Expect this number on its upward trajectory for years to come where eventually “Smart TV’s” will become as common as owning a smart phone.
*One out of 10 minutes of television use in streaming capable homes is streaming to the TV set.
-While the majority of television viewing is still “live,” which makes live local news and sports sought after programming for local media buys, this “10% number” still equates to dozes of streaming hours on the TV set per month.
*On average, U.S. adults are spending over 11 hours a day connected to linear and digital media and almost six hours a day with video alone.
-Our culture of “screen staring” is real. Walk into any public establishment and find most people in a downward glaze projected at some sort of screen. While one can make an educated guess as to what’s on the screen or how the person is interacting with said screen, such as writing a screenplay or shopping for new shoes, it makes sense video consumption dominates. “Video” has long been known as an easily digestible and highly engaging media – it doesn’t take that much work to “consume,” and it combines the all-powerful sight and sound to influence emotion.
So how can local advertisers use this understanding of our new media world to engage prospective and current customers? Here are three ways….
#1 – Video Needs to Be A Central Focus of “Connection”
If you’re reading this, I assume you are publishing some sort of content via your website or social channels. We’ve also learned clearly that video dominates this consumption. Not having an ongoing video content strategy expects the unexpected – if you know the market consumes video, but you don’t create video, why should you expect above average engagement? Give the people what they want, in a media they want it, and plan on budgeting for it ’19.
For a great example of how a local business can use video, pay attention to how Furniture Mall of Kansas creates five to six “Vlogs” per month to answer its customers most often asked question when in the middle of the buying journey. These can range from style, functionality, brand comparisons, to even pricing. The Vlogs extend to community outreach and employee engagement. From there, they transcribe the blog, which is great for SEO, and post to their YouTube Channel and Social Media.
#2 – Study Your OTT/Streaming Options
With this shift in consumption comes a shiny-new object to chase; OTT (Over-the-Top) advertising opportunities. No doubt you’ve heard of it and been pitched by it by ALL of your media vendors (not just the TV reps), it’s important you are educated on what questions you need to be asking, other than cost.
How many ads will be served on Connected TV’s vs. FEP (Full Episode Players, ie, iPad/mobile).
Sellers will “package” their streaming options using a combination of the two, which drives down price for more FEP impressions. Depending on goals/strategy, this may vary. One brand may want all ads served on a connected TV, another OK with a 50/50 split.
What targeting options are available?
Can they target by location (or is that even important to your strategy)? What about psychographics/lifestyles? What are the options beyond age/gender? Also, what data are they using (first party or third party) to make these determinations?
What reporting is available?
I’ve seen a wide variance in reporting delivery. At a minimum, you need to understand how many impressions were served by app, device, day, and completion percentage. Reach/Frequency numbers are even better and should soon become the norm.
What controls are you putting in to make sure the ads run in brand safe content?
#3 – Power of Analytics: Use web “Lead Magnets” and Organic/Direct Traffic Queries to Evaluate Performance
It’s common knowledge that the most likely first step of an interested prospect is to go online. They may research the category, competitors, or even your site directly. It’s important to understand this nuance because it can allow for types of analysis: Direct and Peripheral
Direct Analysis: Call to Landing Page Action
Your video needs to have a compelling call to “website” action, that leads to some “exchange” of value. Go to X website and get the “Free Guide to Choosing a Smart TV.” Not only can you track direct visits, but also conversions/signups. This is a great way of influencing “lower funnel/ready to buy” prospects.
But what if the prospect just started their search (high funnel)?
Peripheral: Track “Brand” Searches
If you use call tracking software or even better, Google Search Console, track your brand search queries over time. Than compare organic and direct visits in Google Analytics to view trends. Consistent video advertising should increase name recognition, and therefore direct and organic visits to your website. Direct visits to your website and organic “Brand” searches, help your Google ranking. Overlay this data with campaign dates to evaluate results.
For local advertisers, 2019 is the year of video. Understanding that video the center of your customer’s media experience is critical to connecting with new customers. Now get on with your inner-Spielberg!