Television audiences have gone through the roof because of the coronavirus lockdown, but will advertisers use the spike in engagement to drive brand-building campaigns, given the economic uncertainty? That is the billion dollar question, and according to Mike Shaw, Director of Advertising Sales at Roku, the answer should be ‘yes’. He has a long list of reasons why brand activity now, rather than later, will pay handsome dividends.

Speaking on a Videonet webcast this week looking at how we safeguard and grow OTT and connected TV advertising revenues in the wake of Covid-19, Shaw pointed to the enforced upheaval in how consumers shop and where they can find goods and suggested it presents a unique opportunity to cement new habits. “Consumer behaviour and patterns are already disrupted – they have to do some things differently, so rather than trying to change behaviour, you can try to take advantage of changes that are happening naturally.”

He used the example of direct-to-consumer retailers [who can deliver goods that non-essential shops cannot, because they are closed]. “DTC brands are good at defining changing consumer behaviour and exploiting it at scale very quickly,” he told a live audience. “There is a short-term opportunity to build market share at a rate that normally they could not achieve.”

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Looking more widely, he said the significant contraction in advertising budget in some goods/services sectors is an opportunity for those who keep spending. With competitors out of the way, a brand can increase their relative share of voice without spending more, meaning they get much more impact than they could have before.

But it gets better. “They can pay lower advertising rates than they would have done before.” And smaller brands could push themselves to the front of the television queue. “Potentially they could get more access to airtime, because previously they would not have been part of the upfronts. Now there is supply out there and that is allowing them to get in.”

Lara Izlan, Director, Advertising Data & Analytics at ITV, agreed that this is a good moment to gain share of voice and market share. “The audience figures make linear TV, in particular, a very attractive proposition and that is attracting new advertisers who may not have thought about using linear TV before – they are now trialling it.”

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