Making Sense of Streaming TV

Video on demand.   OTT.    TV everywhere.   Whatever you call it, there’s no denying that consumers can’t get enough video.    But…. they absolutely want complete control over when & where they watch it.     It’s no secret that the cable cord keeps getting cut.  But streaming services continue to see increases in demand and subscribers.   And with the average American consuming over 4 hours of video each day, I believe streaming Tv offers you, the local dealer,  a great opportunity to reach in-market consumers effectively & cost efficiently.

Currently,  US consumers spend almost as much time watching video as they do working. The average consumer spends 40 hours per week watching video content, with 15 hours of that through streaming services. And here’s a bonus fun fact  – Big Data has gotten involved with streaming TV,  giving you the ability to target mid-funnel, in-market consumers for a fraction of the cost of what traditional Tv or cable ads run.  Add in the fact that you can target your ads to reach the exact type of buyer you want, your waste factor, and over all ad spend can decrease exponentially.   And here’s the best part  – you can accomplish all of this for a much lower cost per lead and most importantly – a lower cost per sale.

For any campaign to be successful, you need to reach a large enough audience who is actually interested in your product.  And that might be the main reason why you should look at a streaming platform.   They have access to extremely large audiences.  But at the same time, they also have access to highly accurate and specific viewer data that can be used to target potential customers.  The end result for you is reaching the right people at the right time.  This generates a much higher conversion rate, at a much lower cost.

Before you call your local TV or cable rep and sign up, I’d like to give you a few tips that will help improve your success with a streaming Tv campaign:

Tip #1:  Know YOUR customer, and make sure it matches the Streaming TV Audience you’ll be targeting.  We’ve discussed the importance of understanding your target  audience before.  Since streaming TV allows you to target by both basic demographics as well as in-market audience targeting, you’ll need to know who that audience is before launching your campaign.   Think long & hard about what you’re really good at, and what customer base you can serve exceptionally well.  Target those consumers – and forget about everyone else.

Tip #2: Mix Up Your Ads.   Unlike cable or broadcast TV where ad formats we’re pretty limited, streaming has the ability to provide multiple formats.  Short.   Long.  Bumper.  Hard sell.  Lifestyle.  Vignettes.  Different audiences respond to different ad styles & formats.  And with streaming TV, it’s actually pretty easy to tell which format is performing the best.   Most providers have campaign dashboards allowing you to track & monitor your campaign.  This will help remove the emotion from your decisions.  If a particular ad isn’t working, you’ll know it. 

Tip #3:  Test Different Ads.   No matter what type of advertising you want to do, testing is one of the most important ways to know if you have a good ad. This rule applies to streaming TV as well.   While streaming offers you the ability to get really creative and have some fun,  finding the right ad for your ideal customer & market will come down to testing it on the streaming platforms.   If you’ve never tested ads before – it’s a pretty simple concept that boils down to testing at least two different ads.   And then watching to see which one outperforms the other. Once enough data is collected, the idea is to continue to serve ads to try to outperform the best one. This results in a never-ending cycle of well-performing ads.

Tip # 4:  You must include A Clear And Concise Call-To-Action.   While its true that a streaming campaign will help build your brand and keep your dealership top-of-mind,  the strength is its ability to reach lower funnel, in-market consumers.  For that reason alone – you need a clear & concise call to action.  Tell them what you want them to do next.  Get approved now.  Claim your rebate now.   Schedule your pickup now.  Make it easy for your target audience to know what to do next…

Tip #5:  Stick with Proven Ads.   Lets face it  –  video is a lot of fun.  We can really let our personality shine and the temptation is to constantly change the direction with our ads.  Don’t do it.  Once you’ve found a proven, winning ad,  stick with the same style & format. Keep testing other variations  – but don’t get too far off track.  You need to really focus your efforts and your budget on what works. 

And finally  –  tip # 6:  Set Budget Limits To Your Ads;  including frequency caps.

Delivering effective, traffic driving ads requires money.  And like any other media platform,  streaming TV can be a bottomless pit, and can burn through your budget.  There will be a learning curve between knowing how much is enough to be effective.  And how much is just over-spending.  Setting these limits will ensure that you never overserve or overspend.   Most providers out there have minimum ad spends.   And while they do want your budget  –  they also want it to work.  No one stays in business very long with one-off purchases.  Just like you want to make a sale, so do they.  But they also want a happy, repeat customer.  So just ask them what’s needed to be successful on their platform.    

Also, demand that your provider offers you what’s called a frequency cap.  This will make sure your ad does not get served to the same person, in the same program, time after time after time.    And while there’s a lot of debate on this – I’ve seen the best results with frequency caps of 12 – 15 ads per week, per viewer.  You want to be remembered  –  but you don’t want to been as a nuisance or annoying.  That can actually do a lot of harm to your dealership.

So – how do you get started?  First, you need to commit to video.  Unlike most of the social & digital platforms that are image & text based – this is video.   And video takes time, effort and a few dollars to do well. I’d advise you to do some research on what video creation will cost.  Meet with some local video producers and see what creating content will run you.  And while you’re in research phase –  set up a few meetings with your local cable or broadcast TV rep.   They will be happy to share what they can provide & the targeting options they have available thru their streaming TV platforms.   Also  –  there are a number of self-serve platforms out there.  YouTube and Hulu are all self-serve.  There’s other ones out there  –  but these are the easiest.

So lets wrap this up…  Video is huge.  Consumers can’t get enough.  Which means it isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.  And since we’re in the automotive space, there is NO better way to showcase our products or services than with video..  So my advice  – give consumers what they want, by hopping on the video bandwagon.