Entertainment marketers have relied on TV to deliver beautifully crafted stories to mass audiences for over 50 years. More recently, digital has joined TV as a place where marketers can reach the people who matter to them. As people increasingly discover content on both TV and digital, marketers who use Facebook to complement TV can extend audience reach and improve the reach efficiency of their campaigns.
Facebook commissioned Nielsen to explore how digital and TV campaigns can complement each other. The study looked at 15 TV, film and console gaming campaigns that ran in the US across TV and Facebook. Findings indicate that entertainment marketers who use Facebook to complement TV can extend audience reach, improve efficiency and target key audiences, such as younger people, who are hard to reach through traditional media channels.
We recently spoke with Jason LeBar, Head of Entertainment Measurement for the Facebook Marketing Science team, and Nichole Henderson, Director, Media Analytics at Nielsen, to learn more about the findings and what the results mean for marketers. Edited excerpts of our conversation follow.
Q: Can you share more about the design of the study and the campaigns that were looked at?
Nichole: Nielsen typically measures advertising effectiveness using the 3R framework of reach, resonance and reaction. But in this study, we focused specifically on campaign reach, looking at data from 15 entertainment campaigns that were measured with Nielsen’s Total Ad Rating Product. This tool measures the reach, frequency and GRPs (Gross Rating Points) of cross-platform campaigns. The study examined these campaigns and their corresponding media plans. The average number of TV exposures for each of these plans was 1.4 billion, and the average number of Facebook impressions was 69 million. But it’s important to note that the campaigns also varied in size, with the TV plans ranging from 99 million–3.5 billion exposures and the Facebook campaigns ranging from 22–134 million impressions.
Jason: The good news for marketers is the research showed that Facebook extends TV reach in a significant way across multiple entertainment verticals (TV, film and console gaming). We partnered with entertainment brands across industries to learn how TV and Facebook marketing can work together to improve their business outcomes.
Q: What are some of the benefits of cross-platform measurement and strategies?
Jason: We found that cross-platform strategies were successful in increasing the reach efficiency of the campaigns. Facebook was able to accurately target audiences and manage frequency, resulting in an average of 10X higher efficiency in building unique reach when compared to TV. Marketers can use these findings and tools like Total Ad Ratings measurement to optimize their cross-platform media strategies in a way that really capitalizes on each platform’s strengths.
Nichole: Using Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings can help show marketers how TV and digital campaigns can complement each other and improve total campaign reach performance. With Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings measurement, we were able to look at TV-only reach, Facebook-only reach and cross-platform reach to really understand the reach dynamics across the 2 platforms.
Q: Why was using Facebook to help extend reach important in this study?
Jason: The research showed pretty clearly that Facebook is an effective tool marketers can leverage to extend reach among target audiences. Facebook helped reach an average of 10 million incremental people—10 million people who would not have been reached had the studied campaigns used TV plans alone. That is a significant number of people, all of whom can impact the success of a film, TV show or console game. Building reach is critical throughout the marketing launch cycle for all forms of entertainment, and we saw that Facebook was effective in both building target reach and doing so efficiently.
Q: Efficiency is increasingly important for entertainment brands. What are the key drivers of higher reach efficiency on Facebook?
Jason: High on-target rates and the ability to manage frequency are what drive efficiency. In this study, the data showed that 82.5% of all Facebook impressions served went to the intended audience (2.5X higher than that of TV).
Nichole: To build reach among an intended audience, advertising impressions need to be delivered to that audience, which becomes more difficult the more narrowly you define your target. For example, the published Nielsen on-target rate norm across digital platforms for people ages 18–49 is 72%—but that drops to 58% for a more narrowly defined target of people ages 18–34.1
Jason: In this study, the average target frequency on Facebook was less than half of TV. There is more work to be done to optimize frequency across platforms, but this type of analysis highlights the opportunity for marketers to reach more of their target audiences on Facebook with increased frequency, or to increase the frequency of their messages to those audiences.
Q: Did you find the reach efficiency levels to be consistent across TV, film and console gaming campaigns?
Jason: We actually found some interesting differences across the 3 verticals. Overall, Facebook was able to build reach more efficiently than TV in each type of campaign we studied: 15X more in the film campaigns, 9X more in the console gaming campaigns and 5X more in the TV campaigns. We saw that film campaigns were larger than the average entertainment campaign, averaging 1.8 billion exposures (compared to the overall entertainment average of 1.4 billion for the 15 campaigns). We also saw that console gaming campaigns typically targeted younger males, which Facebook can do accurately, while the TV campaigns tended to have broader targets (typically people ages 18–49).
Q: So marketers using Facebook to complement TV can extend audience reach and improve efficiency. Were there any other findings you wanted to highlight?
Jason: Definitely. We found that Facebook really helped entertainment marketers connect with audience segments that would be hard to reach on TV alone, such as younger audiences (ages 18–34) who are spending less time watching live TV.2 As the entertainment marketplace continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly valuable for marketers to have efficient ways to access their target audiences.
Nichole: Building on Jason’s point, we found that many younger people were being reached on Facebook who would not have been reached through TV alone. More specifically, Facebook delivered an average of 13.4% in Facebook-only reach for target audiences ages 18–24 and 9.4% for audiences ages 25–34. The data also showed that more than 1 in 3 (35.9%) of those reached on Facebook were light TV viewers (who make up the bottom third of TV viewers based on total viewing time).
Jason: Reaching light TV viewers is especially valuable for marketers. Light TV viewers are hard to reach efficiently on TV alone, but they can also be essential to the success of entertainment campaigns.
Q: What are the key takeaways for marketers?
Jason: With people spending more and more time online and accessing content in more ways than ever before, brands will want to make sure they are marketing to real people and not cookies. Marketing to real people is what enables true marketing efficiencies—it gives marketers access to wider reach among target audiences. And the way to do this is through developing cross-platform strategies. Advertising on Facebook can help marketers ensure their messages go where their audiences are, reach target audiences more efficiently and drive incremental reach for hard-to-reach segments.
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Source: “Cross-Platform Entertainment Campaign Analysis” by Nielsen (study commissioned by Facebook), Mar 2015. This was a study of people ages 13+ that analyzed 15 entertainment (TV/film/console gaming) campaigns across TV and Facebook (desktop and mobile) in the US. The 15 campaigns had an average size of 1.4 billion exposures on TV and 69 million impressions on Facebook and were intended to reach a variety of demographic target groups, with people ages 18–49 being the most common demo target. “TV-only” refers to TV plans for the 15 campaigns in the study.
1 Nielsen Digital Ad RatingsTM Benchmarks and Findings, US, May 2014.
2 Nielsen’s Q4 2014 and Q3 2014 Total Audience reports show that time spent on live and time-shifted TV has decreased 16% year over year for people ages 18–24 and 10% for people ages 25–34.