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Where is the quality thinking where it is actually needed?

Where is the quality thinking where it is actually needed?
Opinion: Strategy Leaders

Traditional media channels offer high-quality environments and better chances of attention, but digital channels are often accepted or ignored despite concerns around ad quality and effectiveness.

Last week, I had a discussion about how the share of daytime on linear TV is an indicator of bad quality.

Wait, what?

The daypart share was too high in their eyes, and the prime time share too low, which would indicate that the plan as it was, was of low quality.

I could not believe my ears. TV is one of the most trustworthy channels that delivers relevant reach at scale fast, on a big screen, in trusted environments. And that is proven to be one of the most effective channels to build brands and drive sales.

Granted, you could discuss whether some of the TV formats are high quality or not. But that is subjective and shall not be confused with the low quality of a media plan and its environment and formats. This discussion is about personal taste and what you deem to be worthy of your time to be entertained or brought up to speed. But the same relates to prime time TV formats.

At this point, I need to appreciate that some brands, of course, have legal restrictions or set their own restrictions based on the nature of their product, which obviously needs to be respected.

But linear TV is not a channel that does not deliver high attention rates, does not play ads below the line, is not played towards bots and does not waste a high share of valuable media investment on channels that pretend to measure everything but are riddled with fraud.

Meanwhile in digital adland…

What I found most shocking is that these people who started this discussion are most likely adding social media like Facebook or Instagram or programmatic display onto the client’s media plan without a single critical thought.

There is no discussion around whether a Facebook video view being defined as three seconds while scrolling is high quality; whether if your ad can run against harmful content funding hate speech and leading people into depression or even suicide is bad quality. No, that is just being accepted or ignored. Not sure which one is worse.

A large chunk of programmatic display is run below standards but charged for, including Google themselves. See the article by Nick Manning recently. And never mind that these standards are nothing compared to the standards you necessarily have with TV, radio, or OOH.

Just think about attention and how a consumer uses a media channel

Attention thinking and attention metrics have become a hot topic. Mad//Fest in London at the beginning of July had a whole stage dedicated to it. However, it seems that the thinking about what makes a media channel effective, which formats are the most crucial ones to give your ads and ultimately your message the best chances to be noticed, has not reached a lot of planners. There is still the old myth being told that TV is declining so heavily that it is becoming irrelevant (It hasn’t. It is still one of the channels with the highest chunk of time spent among video channels).

Traditional channels still get stigmatized by a ‘digital first’ mantra. But the good old broadcast channels like TV, like radio, like OOH still are the key drivers in building brands and delivering effective campaigns. Why? Because they offer high-quality environments, are trusted among consumers, and offer good chances of bringing your message across.

And never mind that they have gone digital as well. It is becoming a blur between traditional offline channels and the digital world anyway.

It does not take more than common sense to think about a channel’s setup, its consumption, and how it delivers its content to figure out if a channel would actually offer a quality environment and hence offer a good chance of attention.

All I am asking for is when we enter a discussion about high quality to leave your perception of what kind of entertainment you personally prefer at the virtual meeting room door and think about each channel with a fresh mind whether it reaches a large amount of potential category buyers, offers consistent good quality content to its users, and offers ad space that allows delivering what they promise.

Nina Franck is an independent paid media strategy consultant

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Nick Drew, CEO, Fuse Insights, on 02 Aug 2023
“>Traditional channels still get stigmatized by a ‘digital first’ mantra I'd suggest they also get stigmatized by being seen as relatively expensive - and arguably they're perhaps linked. Traditional channels=really expensive, both in the media buy and in the production; digital=basically just as good, but cheaper, goes the thinking. And that perception of higher prices brings with it more baggage - greater scrutiny (yeah but what do you get for that money?), more concern about explaining it to the client (how do we explain we've only got a 3-week flight on TV for all that budget?), and a greater willingness to buy into the alternative (FB viewability standards, Google's ad serving etc). Which I guess is the value of attention, to demonstrate that while traditional channels may have a premium (although not as clear cut as marketers might believe), it's fully justified in the value they provide.”

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