Shereta Williams, January 08, 2020

The year 2020 will be an exceptionally busy year for advertisers, as they work to take advantage of significant TV events like the U.S. presidential election and the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Because of this, local media buyers and planners need to map out budgets and campaigns in relation to these broadcast events.

One intelligent strategy is to deliver the news closer to home by telling resonant local stories that help viewers and consumers relate to national and international news. Buyers and sellers using data to produce creative, lucrative and relevant ads will succeed in the modern media landscape by reaching their intended audiences with on-brand messaging.

Paired with the recent move by major media companies to impression-based measurement, marketers and stations will soon be looking at a common set of measurement data and campaign reporting. When these variables — pertinent demo data, compelling creative and optimal inventory — are properly put in play, they create greater value for brands, inventory holders and, ultimately, local audiences.

Let’s look at the two major upcoming broadcast events and how local is best suited to make the most impact.

Hail To The Chief

From primaries to conventions to debates, one of 2020’s biggest news stories will be the presidential election. TV is the most desirable local medium for candidates: BIA Advisory Service estimates that campaigns will spend nearly $3.1 billion on local over-the-air TV advertising in the coming year.

This windfall presents an enormous opportunity for buyers and planners to improve their TV buys by testing messaging with relevant audiences in digital first. With digital, buyers and planners can target specific audience attributes and measure engagement in real time. This means they can ensure relevant messages reach the right people or constituents by testing ads in local markets.

While digital is a great tool for advertisers, local TV isn’t truly addressable, but it is beginning to make strides with impression-based measurement. With that said, when ATSC 3.0 comes to fruition, buyers and planners will need to rethink their strategies.

One of the best ways to reach likely voters is to take a customer-focused, omnichannel approach. Classic multichannel campaigns show consumers the same ad on multiple platforms (for example, as a TV commercial and an online banner). But omnichannel spots give new information about the candidate each time and, thus, offer a more holistic view. Depending on whether a political ad is issue-focused or candidate-focused, omnichannel spots tend to be more personal and less repetitive, revealing politicians’ stances on specific issues and snapshots of their lives away from the campaign trail.

And with the shift to impression-based measurement, planning and buying strategies can now be streamlined and delivered across platforms. Instead of having to allocate a separate budget and plan for each channel, a campaign can focus more strategically on crafting the right message and reaching a larger audience.

Connected TV commercials help, as well, because they lead to action. Voters who view ads on advanced devices, such as their smartphones or smart TVs, are likely to watch political content or research issues. They’re also confident that what they’re seeing is accurate, since these spots are vetted more thoroughly than social media ads. In fact, now that Twitter has banned political advertising, TV marketers have a golden opportunity to position themselves as the trusted source for information about local and national leaders.

Buyers and planners should also use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze ratings for speeches and debates. And if a candidate visits the area, marketers can increase spot buys to fit the event.

Advertisers who understand consumer preferences — and the TV shows they prefer to watch — will know they’re distributing impactful messages that entice voters. They should determine which shows are popular with the demographics they want to reach and put engaging ads in those timeslots.

For example, ABC’s show Black-ish follows an upper-middle-class black family that works to navigate both personal and social-political issues in their lives. While many people watch the show, its audiences tend to be more on the moderate or liberal side of the spectrum. Understanding these demographics can help media planners be more successful with their campaigns.

And as we’ve learned over and over just in this time leading up to the primaries, political campaigns must be very cautious about how they buy and use digital. Online ads are an easy, cheap temptation for politicians to blast out statements, especially in reaction to breaking news or a campaign development. But there’s a risk that all that digital “noise” and messaging ends up falling on deaf ears — or rather, voters are so inundated with ads and messaging that they are rendered meaningless.

There’s also a risk of interference from bot farms and corruption of data and growing electorate awareness — thanks to Facebook — that online political ads and content are not vetted and, therefore, cannot always be trusted.

Civic engagement will be an essential part of the TV landscape in 2020, but the presidential election shouldn’t be the only focus for local advertisers. Another competition that occurs every four years promises to be just as profitable.

Going For The Gold

The 2020 Olympics, taking place between the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, will be the perfect palate cleanser for viewers seeking a break from politics. The Olympics will be lucrative for marketers as well: NBCUniversal projects it will sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising over 17 days of competition.

The network is reportedly pricing its inventory to fit the scale of the event. NBC plans to target every single person watching the games and will even make guarantees against the core 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 age demographics.

By using impression-based measurement, stations can improve local attribution and help demonstrate the value local TV brings to the Olympics. Furthermore, by identifying the top advertising categories on TV for the Olympics, smaller advertisers can make a bigger impact.

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