Are TV ads still relevant?

Anyone who came of age during the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s will be familiar with the words: “We’ll be right back after these messages,” a polite segue to commercials, the lifeblood of TV networks. But with the digital age of video marketing now fully upon us, many TV and cable networks want to cut back on the commercial chatter, removing some 30-second TV spots that have been many brands’ favorite medium of advertising for decades.

The reason? TV is becoming less relevant in a time of digital, on-demand viewing, when binge-watching entire TV seasons is becoming the new norm, and the fast-forward button is the favorite remote control feature of many viewers.

Indeed, many signs point towards the death of the standard 30-second TV ad. In 2009, Britain spent more money on online marketing than television, with internet advertising accounting for 23.5 percent of ad spend, compared to TV’s 21.9 percent.

Obviously, TV ad connoisseurs won’t like this turn of events. Over the decades, the 30-second TV spot has transformed from being just a medium for product promotion, to a sophisticated platform for sharp and witty humor, so much so that many ad men see them as works of art.

Don’t say goodbye to TV just yet

Completely nixing TV isn’t exactly a smart move. While Netflix’s 44.74 million streaming customers in the United States have hurt network and cable networks, a Variety report shows that “Total viewing of networks from Time Warner, Scripps Networks Interactive, AMC Networks and Discovery Communications rose in 2015.”

So clearly, there’s still demand. And when there’s demand, there’s opportunity for video content marketing.

Alternatives to 30-second TV spots

Several TV outlets are turning to something different to ease advertiser worries.

  1. Video vignettes. Instead of 30-second ads, networks are pushing for video vignettes, the content of which depends on the shows they play on. An example of this would be the Pepsi ad disguised as a segment on the show “Empire.”
  2. Non-conventional ads. Viceland (Vice Media and A + E Networks cable networks) has proposed for ad buyers to develop non-conventional ads that can be as long as a few seconds to a few minutes in length.
  3. 15-second ads. Nielsen argues 15-second ads are the new standard in TV spots, thanks partially to growing mobile usage and new platforms for watching online videos emerging. The 15-second ads aren’t limited to TV either, as platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram provide opportunities for these short ads.

Should 30-second TV spots be your video content strategy?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Whether this revered ad format is here to stay will probably be a subject of debate for many years to come. What we do know is that basing your strategy around it should depend on your needs and audience.

Where does your audience consistently consume media? What age group do they belong to? What kind of ads resonate with them the most? Find the answers to these questions with the help of SR&B advertising.

Call us at 410-893-3334.

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