Cross-media campaigns blog - WideOrbit

March 6, 2024

Selling Cross-Media Campaigns: Combining Linear TV and Digital Ads to Maximize Revenue

The world of advertising has undergone a transformative evolution. As a percentage of overall TV viewing, streaming averaged a 36% monthly share in 2023. Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) ad revenue hit $19.9 billion, up 27.5% over 2022, while CTV ad spend increased by 20% to exceed $24 billion in 2023. In the face of exponential digital growth, broadcast TV stations find themselves at a pivotal juncture, where the ability to sell cross-media advertising campaigns that encompass both linear TV and digital ads is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s now a must-have.

But selling cross-media campaigns is about more than just tapping into the revenue opportunity of digital. Offering advertisers the ability to buy both linear TV and digital ads within the same campaign will allow TV broadcasters to maximize the value of both their linear and digital inventory.

The Convergence of Linear TV and Digital Advertising

The distinction between traditional linear television and digital advertising has blurred, as audiences increasingly consume content across various platforms – often without even realizing it. Historically confined to broadcasting on a set schedule, TV stations are embracing digital delivery channels to keep pace with changing viewer habits. The proliferation of streaming services, over-the-top (OTT) platforms, and connected TVs (CTV) means audiences have more choice than ever before. And since scheduled linear TV programming is now available through digital channels, it also means that audiences don’t often make the distinction between linear and digital TV.

The Need for Cross-Media Advertising

The importance of selling cross-media advertising campaigns that span both linear TV and digital cannot be overstated. Advertisers are looking for comprehensive strategies that will deliver the outcomes they want – and that means reaching audiences across the entire spectrum of media consumption. A cross-media approach allows for a more holistic and effective advertising strategy, maximizing the impact of campaigns by ensuring they reach diverse viewer demographics no matter how and where they’re watching.

The Strengths of Linear TV Advertising

Linear TV advertising boasts a long-established history of delivering mass reach. Linear TV is unbeatable for unduplicated reach in a premium, brand-safe, and fraud-free environment. Live events, news broadcasts, and prime time shows continue to hold a unique appeal for large audiences, allowing advertisers to connect with a broad and captive viewership.

The Dynamics of Digital Advertising

On the other hand, digital advertising offers unparalleled targeting capabilities and engagement metrics. Advertisers can tailor campaigns to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring that their messages reach the most relevant audiences. Additionally, digital platforms provide real-time feedback, allowing for immediate adjustments and optimizations based on performance data.

But – and it’s a big but – when TV stations simulcast their linear content via digital streaming, viewers see the same advertising regardless of whether they’re watching a digital stream or over-the-air or via cable. The exception is when an advertiser purchases a cross-media campaign in which a targeted or addressable ad replaces the over-the-air spot on the digital stream. So it isn’t about offering advertisers one or the other, it’s about offering cross-media campaigns that include both, so advertisers can reach their target audience regardless of how they choose to watch.

Challenges and Opportunities in Cross-Media Advertising

While the benefits of cross-media advertising are clear, it’s not without its challenges. Integrating linear TV and digital ads requires a nuanced understanding of audience behavior and preferences across different channels. Moreover, the ability to measure the impact of such campaigns necessitates the use of alternate audience ratings and measurement currencies that can capture the intricacies of both broadcast and streaming TV.

Alternate Audience Measurement Data

Unified Metrics for Cross-Media Campaigns: To effectively sell cross-media advertising campaigns, TV stations need measurement currencies that provide a unified view of audience engagement. This requires metrics, such as impressions, that can translate across linear TV and digital platforms, offering advertisers a comprehensive understanding of campaign performance.

Digital Metrics for Streaming TV: Streaming platforms operate on different metrics compared to traditional linear TV. Metrics such as impressions, completion rates, unique views, and engagement duration are critical in the digital realm. Adapting these digital metrics to cross-media campaigns allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of performance and a more nuanced evaluation of success.

Integration of Demographic Data: Incorporating demographic data is essential for cross-media campaigns. While traditional TV ratings provide age and gender demographics, digital platforms offer more granular data. Combining these datasets can provide more precise targeting based on a comprehensive picture of the diverse audiences cross-media campaigns can reach.

Real-Time Analytics: The dynamic nature of muti-channel, multi-platform video advertising demands real-time analytics. Advertisers expect immediate insights into campaign performance to make timely adjustments. Integrating real-time analytics into cross-media campaigns enhances the agility and effectiveness of advertising strategies.

The Future of TV Advertising

The ability of TV stations to sell cross-media advertising campaigns is critical to a forward-thinking and adaptable approach to ad sales. As technology continues to evolve, the media industry will witness further convergence, where the lines between traditional and digital channels will become increasingly porous.

In an era where audience attention is fragmented across platforms, TV stations must embrace the increasingly symbiotic relationship between linear TV and digital advertising. Selling cross-media advertising campaigns that leverage the strengths of both channels is not merely an option but a necessity. By adopting alternate audience ratings and measurement currencies that capture the nuances of both broadcast and streaming TV, media organizations can offer advertisers a powerful and comprehensive approach to reaching diverse audiences, maximizing the value of both linear and digital offerings while ensuring continued growth for broadcast TV stations, station groups, and networks.

Contact us to learn how WO Fusion makes it easy to manage, optimize, and execute cross-media proposals and sales, across markets, with multiple audience measurement currencies.

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