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Advertisers Switch to Digital Channels for TV Tune-In

Increased mobile reach the top benefit of online tune-in ads

Ads for television shows aren’t just for the tube anymore. Nine in 10 stations now use digital tune-in advertising—that is, marketing and promotion of television programming to drive ratings—according to a June 2014 study by Mixpo and PromaxBDA. A report summarizing the results noted that this percentage held steady between 2013 and 2014, indicating that stations had seen success with such efforts.

As a result of this success, digital was the only channel US broadcasters and syndicators were putting more tune-in dollars toward this year (with the exception of print, which still saw the lowest share of tune-in budgets). First-place radio and second-place TV both saw decreases in spending—and the portion going toward online tune-in ads trailed cable by just 1 percentage point.

When done right, the top benefit of digital tune-in advertising was being able to reach viewers on their mobile phones and tablets, cited by 77% of US broadcasters and syndicators. This makes sense given that consumers are spending more time with their mobile devices than ever before—eMarketer estimates that US adults will spend 2 hours 51 minutes with their smartphone, tablet or feature phone daily this year.

Increasing reach and frequency of on-air promos as well as targeting viewers by demographic and geography also ranked as top benefits.

Q4 2013 research by Rhythm NewMedia found above-average completion rates for US mobile video entertainment tune-in ads on smartphones and tablets, at 87.7% and 82.4%, respectively.

Despite this success with mobile, Mixpo and PromaxBDA found that broadcasters and syndicators were most likely to use desktop platforms when running tune-in ads on both owned and paid media. Fully 83% of respondents said they ran desktop ads on their owned platforms, while 74% said the same for mobile. Though respondents favored paid media less, 65% ran desktop tune-in ads on such platforms, compared with 46% who did so on mobile.

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