Dear TV, let’s be friends

Facebook’s head of CPG Dan Sinfield argues that when it comes to TV and digital, let’s not limit our thinking to one winner and one loser, because it really isn’t a zero sum game.

Dear TV, we love you. I mean that both as a consumer and avid Australian Survivor fan, but also with my Facebook hat on as well.

Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

I realise we don’t say it enough, and sometimes it can look like we really don’t get on at all, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The simple facts show that when we team up together, much better things happen for advertisers. You know it, we know it, so why don’t we talk about it more?

A few weeks ago, one of the most famous advertising academics in the world – Les Binet – came to town, talking about advertising effectiveness, and as he noted the “smart marketers” are using TV and online video together.

According to Binet, in terms of effectiveness, TV-only media spend delivered a 2.6% market share gain per year. However, for media plans using both TV and online video, market share gains per year rose to 3.1% (+19%).

Binet also noted that most brands are probably under-investing in both mediums, and cited his research from the IPA archives to show the optimal marketing mix is 75% brand investment, 25% conversion.

But these messages didn’t seem to get out there as much as they should have and the limited commentary seemed to paint the picture that brand = traditional media and conversion = digital, when in fact both can perform either role. It just requires them to be used in different ways.

As Binet himself stated: “The really big problem is not the tension between digital and traditional media, it’s this tension between brand building and activation and people getting the wrong balance.”

I think the industry gets a little lost in the idea of there being a winner and a loser in the traditional versus digital debate – certainly that makes for better headlines than fact-based research about the optimal marketing mix.

The fact is TV isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the ‘digital’ world – they’re coming together. Realistically people checking their news feeds on their phones and watching TV in their lounge rooms don’t differentiate them, they are forms of media consumption.

We both know very often the two things are happening at the same time. That’s a really powerful thing we should be encouraging marketers to explore more thoroughly. It will boost the return on investment for the brands investing money on both of our platforms. Isn’t that a positive outcome for everyone?

Let’s face it, you guys are using our platforms to help market your shows, and in many cases doing a great job of it. Facebook advertised on TV this year – because we know it is a great platform for achieving mass reach, and amplifying the message beyond our own channels.

If we’re both using the right channels to perform the right task we’re being a bit disingenuous if it looks like we’re telling marketers not to spend money here or there. We should be arming them with the right information to make their own informed decisions based on their business objectives of each brands and campaign.

There’s a lot of work already underway globally around measuring ad performance across platforms, and we know there are moves at many levels locally to get something up and running. It won’t be easy, but it’s really the only way to give marketers a guide as to what they are really buying, and what their most effective media mix is.

Inevitably that’s still a way off, and in the meantime we’ll keep funding research, as you will, to get to the bottom of what is happening with the consumers our advertisers are trying to reach.

But, let’s not limit our thinking to one winner and one loser – it really isn’t a zero sum game. The real power of media comes out when the right balance is harnessed most effectively.

Dan Sinfield is Facebook’s head of CPG.


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