Every year, as the summer ends and September approaches, my inbox lights up. More folks are hungry to know how — and where — to get the biggest bang for their TV buck. To be clear, this is what our clients and partners do all year round with our TV outcomes data, but there is always a peak of inbound interest in the fall. We all know what I’m really talking about: Football. The NFL and NCAA football.
To reach and engage mass audiences, you have to go where the most, and most engaged, people are. And the most engaged people are watching the NFL. That’s engaged reach.
And believe it or not, the 10,000-pound gorilla of the TV advertising ecosystem is about to become even more important for brands, networks, and agencies.
As Convergent TV marketers, we know the NFL has long been the undisputed champion of the live sports ecosystem that has kept our industry running smoothly during more than a decade of time-shifting, cord-cutting, and migration to social media.
Only now, a pair of Hollywood strikes threaten to derail the premium scripted programming that advertisers have used alongside their live sports investments. As a result, the NFL’s slate of live, premium content has become that much more integral to an effective media plan.
To make matters worse, many advertisers are also contending with the fact that economic headwinds have forced them to work with reduced budgets. The upshot? Marketers have never needed to be more efficient in how they spend their limited budgets on TV’s most expensive inventory.
In this TV environment, you simply can’t afford to make a big investment at the beginning of the season and wait until after the Super Bowl to find out whether it worked. In order to make smart decisions that optimize results, you need actionable outcome data that enables you to assess your performance instantaneously and adjust your strategy in time for next week’s kickoff.
In a challenging TV environment, audience isn’t enough
With CFOs demanding tighter, more accountable budgets, some marketers might find that they’re not even able to get on the TV field this season without real-time outcome data to prove to stakeholders that an NFL investment is worth the money.
For instance, I recently spoke with a brand leader who wanted to invest in the NFL this season. While their intuition was that the NFL had a mass-engaged audience, they didn’t have the data to tie this mass audience to online or offline behaviors that brought consumers closer to purchase. As a result, their request for budget was denied, and the brand will be spending this NFL season on the sidelines.
However, if this brand leader did have access to actionable outcome data, they’d have been able to tell his stakeholders exactly how effective each NFL ad was at driving consumers to valuable online behaviors after it ran. In fact, by this measure of advertising engagement, the NFL was responsible for five of the 10 most effective television programs of 2022. It’s not quite the Atlanta Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI or Cody Parkey’s “double doink” missed field goal, but that’s a pretty big missed opportunity.
Of course, even if you are able to invest in the NFL without TV outcomes data to prove your case, your performance is going to be limited once the season starts. That’s because this level of investment-grade data is instrumental for marketers to achieve the efficacy they need during a season of shrinking investment options. Everything has to work harder.
Unless you know which ads actually inspired consumers to search your brand, visit a store, or make a purchase, you’re not going to have the information you need to optimize your media placements and creative messaging week-to-week.
Outcomes create opportunities
By contrast, marketers can unlock valuable new opportunities when they do have real-time, investment-grade outcomes data at their disposal.
When you know exactly what is and isn’t working in your media plan, you can call audibles that enable you to get the absolute most out of every dollar you spend on the NFL. By measuring the effectiveness of your advertising by daypart, network, creative message, ad pod, and program, you can pinpoint the precise optimizations to your media plan that will drive your brand to the endzone the following week.
Already, EDO’s partners are using our TV outcomes data to put themselves in the best position for success this season. For instance, did you know that the ads that aired during Thursday Night Football on Amazon’s Prime Video service were 116% more effective than the primetime average last season? As we head into the most streamable NFL season yet, our clients are using our Convergent TV data to understand the best ways to tackle Thursday Night Football and YouTube TV’s new Sunday NFL Ticket package.
Other marketers are using outcomes data to score big with a highly engaged Spanish-language audience. According to EDO’s data, the viewers who tuned into Telemundo’s first ever Super Bowl broadcast were 208% more likely to engage with advertised brands than the average Spanish-language primetime broadcast.
Like a great trick play or a hotshot rookie coming off the bench, TV outcomes data is the secret weapon that gives top marketers the extra edge they need — all season long.
Like football, marketing is getting more competitive. Are you ready?
As a sports fan, I’m always astonished by the rate at which athletes become smarter, faster, and stronger. When you look at the way modern nutrition and training science, coupled with advanced data analytics, have allowed today’s players to surpass the ones I grew up watching, it really is impressive how vastly you can improve performance when you have the right resources at hand.
The same pattern is playing out today in the marketing world. As our measurement and buying tools continue to improve, brands, agencies, and networks are becoming faster, smarter, and more effective at planning and buying media. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you need the latest decision science to make the smartest possible decision in every situation.
When you have high-quality, real-time outcome data inside your organization, you’ll be well positioned to win big this NFL season — regardless of the competition.