Why Social Could be a Better Bang for your Buck than TV

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TV advertising spend is set to shrink. This is hardly surprising. The latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report forecasts that TV ad expenditure will decline by 0.5% in 2017.

Digital formats, on the other hand, continue to grow, with the former Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK CEO Guy Phillipson commenting on the £1.2 billion increase in 2016, which he notes was almost exclusively driven by mobile: “The smartphone has become the hub of our daily lives, and the most popular device for accessing the internet … the rocketing spend reflects that behaviour.”

Phillipson also pointed to the “continued surge of paid content and native”, which is up 28%, according to the latest IAB/PwC ad spend figures.

So, it’s clear that brands are waking up to the fact that there are very attractive alternatives to traditional TV commercials. One of these is paid social and it’s especially interesting as it can help ensure ads are precisely targeted and therefore cost-efficient – something which has long been the holy grail for advertisers.

Paid social can claim many advantages beyond the sheer reach of the major platforms; reach which is, in part, thanks to the growth of mobile usage.

It offers first-party data, for instance, which means the ability to target real people rather than just cookies, versus a broader radio or TV audience.

And, while the main objective for TV – as well as radio and print campaigns – has generally been reach, paid social offers KPIs for activity across the full funnel. The multiple ad formats available today mean that brands can use social platforms to launch new products, raise awareness, drive sales, and more.

Mobile users of all ages and demographics interact with social channels multiple times per day, getting inspired to investigate a product, compare it, and then buy it – all whilst using the platform of their choice.

What’s more, social is highly effective for running sequential messaging campaigns: advertisers can start by delivering engaging branding content and then move on to direct response-focused ads to drive sales.

Meanwhile, awareness can be assessed through KPIs such as video views; mid-funnel or consideration stages can be analysed thanks to cost per engagement metrics, or brands can choose to focus solely on conversion metrics.

In addition to all of this, social offers unparalleled opportunities to gather instant customer feedback, and savvy companies are not afraid to partake in a discussion. Rather, they recognise that social channels are interactive communities where users flock for news, sports, inspiration and to chat with friends.

As social platforms continue to develop and innovate at a constant and rapid pace, the trend for brands to shift spend away from TV is likely to accelerate. Live video, for example, is a very effective format for showcasing special events and increasingly, social channels are purchasing exclusive rights to distribute this form of real-time TV content. Indeed, video is all over social media organically and therefore sits very naturally within the native look and feel of these platforms.

The bulk of social advertising is bought on the biddable marketplace. This allows advertisers to pay what they think is appropriate to reach specific customers, as opposed to the premium set price model traditional channels, like TV broadcasters, still use. Advertisers on social media only pay for the KPI that is important to them.

Finally, there is no doubt that TV viewing itself is shifting to digital sources. According to a new report from Accenture, laptops and desktops have overtaken TVs as the preferred devices for watching TV shows.

All this means that eyeballs will be drawn to digital channels in ever greater numbers and as a result, I think we can expect the bulk of advertising expenditure to follow.

The original article can be found on Digital Marketing Magazine.