From ‘moment marketing’ to historical trends, TV content can be turned into data to equip brands to understand conversations taking place. John Byrne, head of product, 7th Minute, look at how brands and advertisers, regardless of their size, can use evolving tech to harness the power of TV and the conversations it fosters.
Even before the pandemic caused us to seek solace in the small screen, watching TV (whether on a television set, a computer or mobile phone) is often associated with winding down and relaxing, switching off from the pressures of real life. And although we understand the role of advertising is to influence our actions, it would be reasonable to assume that, while television programmes may entertain us, they don’t hugely affect how we behave.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
2020 was certainly unprecedented, but would you have predicted a worldwide craze for chess? (Be honest…) Yet that was exactly what happened as The Queen’s Gambit, aired on Netflix. Sales of chess sets and accessories rose by 215%, while Chess.com reported a ‘surge in brand new players’. The show didn’t just entertain viewers – it set off a whole new trend for the board game.
During this year’s European Football Championship, viewers’ thoughts were not limited to the game itself; online searches for ‘raincoat’ spiked when Gareth Southgate was onscreen wearing one. And this isn’t the first time the England manager has influenced peoples’ sartorial selections; ‘waistcoat’ was a consistent search theme throughout the 2018 World Cup thanks to his wardrobe choice, with a correlating 35% increase in sales of the item at Marks & Spencer.
Perhaps more niche, but along the same lines, the BBC’s Peaky Blinders spawned searches for baker boy caps as viewers sought to emulate the main characters in the TV show, while Game of Thrones drove a 60% increase in searches for ‘Siberian Husky’ (although one presumes the latter was curiosity about the breed rather than intent to purchase…)
New technology is changing the picture
When it comes to marketing, one of TV’s great virtues is its power to influence conversations and actions.
TV advertisers have always understood this, but what they haven’t known is the specific topic or product that piqued consumer interest. And even if they had been able to determine trending talking points, TV advertising is way beyond the means of many brands.
However, technology is ripping up the rulebook and the picture is – quite literally – changing. Today, TV content can be turned into data, which, unlike images, can be analysed to equip brands to understand conversations taking place and how these influence consumer behaviour. Brands and advertisers, regardless of their size, can use this evolving tech to harness the power of TV and the conversations it fosters.
Seizing the moment
One option is to undertake ‘moment marketing’, which generates an automatic advertising response on the most appropriate digital channel in real-time at a time when a topic is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
For example, until recently, neither football and waistcoats, nor football and raincoats have obvious associations so it is unlikely that the media plans of menswear retailers would include advertising during international tournaments.
But suppose, as people used their second screen to search for a raincoat during or after the match, a digital ad for this particular item of clothing appeared in their scroll? The brand has put itself in front of a huge and highly-engaged audience, at the exact moment that people are most likely to buy the raincoat, without having to put up the budget for a TV ad. Regardless of the football score, that seems like a winning sales tactic.
The past can inform the future
But it’s not just about taking advantage of specific events as they happen. Brands can use historical data to understand how TV content shapes trends in online interests and activity and plan their future automated advertising accordingly.
Viewers’ past actions might have been piqued by a specific mention of a brand or product on a TV programme, or it may have been a broader discussion on a topic that has resonated. Competitor activity, whether that is advertising or mentions on a TV show, can also be highly influential. Knowing what TV conversations are relevant to its offerings is highly valuable to an organisation in terms of when and where to show ads.
For example, historical data shows that searches for financial and insurance products increase when MoneySavingExpert founder, Martin Lewis is on TV. Armed with this knowledge, a company that provides these services can have relevant creatives at the ready and use automated monitoring to identify the occasions in future when these will generate the most traction.
Alternatively, a retailer that covers the DIY, home-improvement and garden market could advertise generically while one of the many home improvement style programmes is broadcast. But there are many subtleties within this genre of TV; the show might focus on architecture, building work, interior decor, garden design, or garden planting… Granular data showing what content drives which specific searches is the key to pushing out the second screen ad that is most relevant for that particular moment.
Very simply, analysis of broadcast data makes it straightforward to put a message in front of a potential customer at a time when they are already in the right mindset to buy.
The new role of TV advertising
Contextual insight of this nature allows brands to optimise the effectiveness of finite budgets, drive returns on investment – and truly understand the triggers for human activity.
Worth remembering the next time you relax in front of the television…
By John Byrne
Head of product