The Viewing Report

Improving the link between strategic and implementational planning by Rhian Feather

12 May 2020

The pace of change in media has never been faster; nor has it ever been more exciting, challenging and at times overwhelming for planners. This change has made media planning more complex, with the number of tools, systems and data sources available to help build multimedia ecosystems constantly increasing. It can be difficult to understand where all of these new tools fit into the process and what the relevance of their output is.

Consumer insight has always been key, and never before have audiences been able to be defined as precisely as they can be now, with huge datasets owned by advertisers and powerful ways to combine these with third-party data. These data-led audiences help identify sources of demand to determine advertising strategy and drive business growth. But business impacts are only fully achievable if we can apply these bespoke audience definitions to every step of campaign planning and implementation. This becomes a challenge of planning in one data source but buying in another.

One of the key tools that we use for strategic planning is IPA TouchPoints. This enables us to build bespoke audiences and understand their moods and media behaviours across the day. These insights can help to drive incremental reach, frequency or word-of-mouth, and as we move to a “cookie-less” world, TouchPoints becomes an even more valuable tool. There has been, however, a limit to the practical application of TouchPoints media consumption information for television, since it is designed for strategic rather than implementational planning. We can use it to determine which television channels we should consider, but not the programming or formats that will work most effectively.

Television plays an important role in many media plans as it is one of the highest returning channels across categories, according to Thinkbox’s Demand Generator. But we are always looking to make our television plans more effective. One of television’s strengths is in generating broad reach and BARB does an incredible job of delivering spot-by-spot measurement and insight across multiple audiences. That power increased when TGI was fused into BARB to deliver more category-specific audiences. We have been using this fusion for years and it has improved our television planning and activation.

Nothing excites me more than the opportunity to see a new data set in a traditional channel. So, the new fusion of TouchPoints into BARB, which launched in March, offers a number of interesting new ways to help us to improve the impact of our television planning:

  1. Trade more effectively
  2. We rarely want to reach a generic demographic audience; it’s usually a means to an end. BARB’s fusion with TouchPoints provides an additional data source to not only understand a previously unknown attitudinal audience, such as vegetarian gamers, and how they watch television, but also to look at which trading audience converts best for this audience. The fused data for March 2020 show that vegetarian gamers’ viewing of commercial channels is closer to that of ABC1 adults than 16-34s or housepersons with children. This opens the potential to be more creative and rigorous in our trading decisions, to best reach our clients’ audiences.

  3. Get a better understanding of how we can reach the elusive SVOD viewer
  4. There is no topic bigger in the AV world than unidentified viewing, which has increased by almost 9% since 2018, driven by viewers’ appetite for SVOD services. And it has only got bigger in 2020 following the launch of Apple TV+ and Disney+. These developments make it more difficult to reach these viewers on television, but it is important that we try, as we know how effective television advertising is. Using the integrated BARB and TouchPoints data, we can isolate the television viewing behaviours of heavy SVOD viewers, and generate a top programmes / channels list for reaching them with television advertising. The March 2020 fused data show that heavy SVOD viewers are light linear television viewers, but US reality, comedy and drama series still perform strongly on linear TV for them. We can therefore work with our broadcast partners to create schedules that maximise our chances of reaching them.

  5. Integrate mood into television plans
  6. TouchPoints allows us to understand people’s moods across the day and week. This is a metric that can be planned into cross-media strategies to align with specific creative opportunities or brand insight. Having the capability to understand which programme genres are associated with the moods of bespoke audiences can help us to align our advertisers’ messages with the most appropriate content.

  7. Create television plans that make other media channels work more effectively
  8. Within the Connections Planning team at OMD UK, we pride ourselves on understanding the interplay between channels and the role of each in driving reach. However, as the lines are blurred between on and offline and newer media channels are added, this becomes more difficult. The BARB and TouchPoints fusion enables our television plans to be integrated with newer media channels, as TouchPoints carries information on all media usage. Being able to understand when audiences are consuming newer channels, such as influencers and gaming, and then in turn understand when and through which device they are also consuming television, helps us to allocate budget and activity more effectively. So, for example, the fused dataset for March 2020 shows the importance of films and entertainment to followers of influential vloggers (44% of their commercial television viewing is to these genres, compared with 40% among all adults). This becomes a media planning principle that can be leveraged across all media channels, not just television.

  9. Plan television across devices
  10. BARB’s Project Dovetail for programmes is the best view of how content is consumed across devices. We can take this gold-standard view and look at a level beyond pure demographics, including more behavioural data and the differences in device viewing across the day and week.

  11. Improved audience understanding for broadcasters
  12. We are lucky at OMD UK to work with advertisers who are themselves broadcasters. This data integration is a great opportunity for these advertisers to hone in on more specific audiences for channel growth, not only to influence advertising decisions but also to adjust schedules and pilot new programmes.

The media industry is constantly evolving, and as a planner it is great that television is continuing to innovate. This latest BARB and TouchPoints data fusion is a fantastic adaptation and one that will really help with planning television in a complex landscape.

Rhian Feather, Connections Planning Executive Business Director, OMD UK