Advertising via television is nothing new, companies have been marketing via TV since the mid-1950s, but there has been a clear change in the way that businesses have gone about this in recent times.

The rapid growth of digital, from standard web to social platforms and video-on-demand systems has contributed to a new era of advertising; with a seismic shift from the traditional scattergun approach to that of identifying a specific, targeted set of consumers.

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to avoid advertisements. Whether you are watching the latest vlog from your favourite YouTuber or enjoying the double-header of Coronation Street on a Monday night, adverts are everywhere. Advertising spending figures have gone through the roof, with an estimated total of £5.27 billion spent in 2015 on TV marketing alone… 7.4% higher than the previous year.

As expected with the emergence and coming of age of the web, there was an initial shift towards social and digital platforms. But, while these were once seen as viable or even preferable alternatives to television, there has been a significant move back in the direction of traditional linear channels. Rapid developments in web, social and digital contributed to a rush to monetise the industry which has enhanced and revolutionised advertising models.

These methods have been very successful, especially when it comes to appealing to a specific target audience but they are now filtering back to television. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that the trend back towards television has come as a direct result of tailor-made adverts but this may not be as influential as some believe.

A recent study conducted by Thinkbox found that television accounted for 93.8% of all video adverts watched in 2016 compared to 0.7% on YouTube – an incredible statistic. According to the research, the average person watches 20 minutes of adverts a day and 60% is via live television.

The chance to market goods relevant to specific shows has been important but it would be foolish to underestimate how television advertising has advanced to ‘catch up’ with those flourishing online methods. The inclusion of marketing material in television catch-up series’ has helped interactive platforms, such as All 4, previously known as 4oD, and ITV Player to incorporate these newer techniques whilst still adopting the traditional linear ad-break approach as well.

Advertising techniques are developing by the day and platform-specific advertising content is becoming less important. Why? The same adverts are often re-cut and repurposed for a number of media platforms; you can watch the same advert whilst listening to Spotify or prior to a YouTube clip as you would see in a standard break on traditional television.

And then we have programmatic advertising. This efficient method of removing humans from the process shows just how advanced the technology and marketing world is and it is time for companies to embrace this technique. As larger companies continue to buy into the technology, programmatic advertising will continue to grow. SVG Media have predicted that programmatic advertising could grow by close to 50 percent in 2017 compared to the 30-35% forecast for native advertising.

A mass move will need a degree of faith and latitude from both broadcasters and advertisers, as well as the associated management platforms in order to work, but simple access to inventory could see the television advertising world change forever.

Current methods of selling television ads, for example in bulk and in advance must be adapted if not completely re-engineered. In Europe, programmatic looks set to overtake real-time bidding: According to eMarketer, the former will account for 52% of the programmatic total in the United Kingdom by the end of 2018…

When it comes to live events, you’re always going to see plenty of advertising material. You only need to tune into Super Sunday to see the Ray Winstone bet365 advert pop up before a live football match. Technologies have advanced to the point where they are not only more efficient but also more effective than humans and traditional TV must take the next step to stay relevant. This may be the digital era but television is fighting back and a tweak or two could make all the difference.


Alex McMahon


About Alex McMahon
Alex is an experienced writer, working in the field of broadcast, media & technology.

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