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Football Scores for Online Video Advertising

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It’s a complementary activity. The game is definitely always on -- that’s really that social aspect of having all the friends ... over and consuming it live. But, the second-screen and third-screen activities get a big proliferation, and that’s really where consumption across all video screens plays a complementary role to TV, and advertisers who can’t afford a TV spot can look at these complementary channels to insert themselves within the NFL conversation.

Why are these online video ad opportunities good for advertisers?

Tran: TV spots are insanely, ridiculously expensive, and as an advertiser a lot of times you don’t have the spending power to actually enter the NFL TV season, or even buy a spot on a local basis. That’s really key for marketing opportunities, to really look at online video as a synergy for TV buys. There may be an increase in TV spots, but the reality is, can a marketer actually afford those TV opportunities, or should they be looking at more efficient ways to insert themselves within an NFL conversation?

Do advertisers see value in advertising on multiple screens? Are smartphone and tablet viewers as important as TV viewers?

Tran: Yes, advertisers are definitely starting to understand that capturing an NFL fan cannot only be done with one screen. It has to be done with multiple screens. So, instead of buying the users, they’re looking to buy across screens to capture that larger audience.

Advertisers tend to look at tablet and desktop as a complementary screen to TV, and that’s if they have TV dollars in play. Advertisers who look at online as an independent screen tend to not have the big TV investment, or tend to be locked out of the NFL season.

Do you see a time coming when online video ads sell for the same rates as broadcast TV ads?

Tran: We hope so. Look at the current trends right now such as Google trying to insert itself in the NFL conversation and trying to fight for streaming rights. That’s really where they’re going to see the same users across all screens and start trying to equate the same value to each user across screens. I would say currently, in the marketplace, it’s not there yet. TV just provides that mass reach, where it’s a massive push and a mass reach play. Advertisers are still looking at cross-screen digital devices as a targeted play. We’re definitely not there yet, but if current market trends dictate, we will be there soon.

Your results showed engagement rates varied by device and even day of the week.

Tran: We looked at consumption across tablet, desktop and smartphone. Tablet actually had highest engagement rates on Monday. It makes sense, right? Monday night football, people are multitasking with their tablets.

Mondays show huge spikes in engagement, and that’s where multitasking is taking place. We see multitasking across tablets and TV, whereas with desktops it’s different. Multitasking takes place more on a utility basis. Sundays for desktop, we see highest engagement rates, and that makes sense. When viewers have the football game running on Sunday, they’re more errands-based, preparing for the week. They need the desktop and more functionality out of their second screen. And then, uniquely for smartphones, Thursday is another big NFL day. Users are commuting, are on-the-go, so we see higher consumption on smartphones during the NFL season for Thursdays.

Video consumption still led with desktop. I see it as a 70/30 split between desktop and mobile/ tablet in terms of ad opportunities.

You found that results vary by geography, as well?

Tran: What we noticed, and it’s an interesting trend, is that there’s stronger engagement in markets where there’s a strong football team. So, Denver has Peyton Manning and he’s having an awesome season. Users are actually consuming more and more content, and we see higher engagement within those specific markets. If you’re in a market like Denver and Peyton Manning’s doing great, there’s probably more opportunities for you to see content around sports, and more opportunities tend to lead to greater performance.

What lessons does this offer online video advertisers?

Tran: Advertisers can align themselves with a tent pole, because users are more engaged across screens, which increases opportunities for advertisers to invest their dollars more efficiently with online video if they are locked out of TV. There are definitely other options beyond TV to insert themselves within key tent poles, whether it’s the NFL, the Grammys, specific award seasons, or other sports tent poles.

This article appears in the January/February 2013 issue of Streaming Media magazine.

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