How Accessible is Programmatic TV Advertising to SMBs?


In 2019, mainstream TV and radio advertising is finally in the grasp of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).  SMBs have always been largely locked out of the powerful brand-building and revenue-driving power of TV and radio advertising due to their sky-high costs and huge commitments.

However, huge behavioural and technological shifts mean it’s time to think again. Did you know, for instance, that today more than 180 million hours of YouTube video are being watched on TVs every day in the nation’s homes?

YouTube’s new ‘TV screens device type’ feature also now allows advertisers to specifically target this YouTube audience watching on a TV.  A combination of the programmatic benefits of the low buying commitments to access the platform, the agile way in which advertising can be bought and the targeting options available, means the big screen is fully open to SMB brands.

On top of this, SKY’s Adsmart product has developed hugely, allowing advertisers to target specific audiences across a huge range of channels for a minimum spend of just a few thousand pounds.

TV advertising is now fully available to everyone

What’s more, 24.3 million people now listen to more than 10 hours a week of digital audio and digital audio advertising can now be bought programmatically.

The ability to target effectively, be agile with spend and the low investment commitment required that made programmatic display so appealing to SMBs is now becoming true for digital audio advertising as well, offering a welcome potential boost in return on ad spend (ROAS).

While SMBs have built their brands using the traditional performance channels of pay-per-click and display, all these development means it’s time to start thinking about enjoying the ROAS that big brands are enjoying across radio and TV.

Big brands will generally be getting a better return on their advertising investment than SMBs, largely due to their use of such above the line media. By using these channels, they are not just gaining one advantage over SMBs, but two.

The chart above is based on a study by the marketing effectiveness consultants Gain Theory, using data from Ebiquity’s Campaign Database.Big brands using TV, radio and print are not only getting the benefit of channels that deliver higher ROAS in the short-term but are receiving a longer tail of benefit that keeps on delivering a return long after the initial impact.

A digital level playing field for brands large and small

PPC and display (in the form of retargeting) are an obvious play for all businesses. They make sure that you get a share of the intent-driven audience available, mopping up those that don’t convert with a bit of retargeting and stop all that intent-driven audience going to your competitors.

But by relying solely on such channels, SMBs are missing out on the rich brand experience of above the line media to feed the consumer’s perception of your brand – a perception that will fuel future conscious or unconscious preference towards your brand, through direct response PPC copy or in the 0.7 seconds the average display ad is viewed for.

TV, radio, and print all have the ability to deliver longer interactions between brand and consumer, to deliver more information and a richer, more tangible experience than PPC and display. So, it makes sense that these channels are able to deliver a greater return on the advertising investment in the long-term.

It’s now time for SMBs to finally start to enjoy these same benefits that their larger cousins always have.  The promise of digital providing a level playing field for brands no matter what their size is finally coming true.


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