We have seen a significant shift from linear TV to online video in the last few years, and APAC is at the heart of this growth, reaching over 2 billion viewers since the start of 2022. For marketers in the region, it’s never been more important to embrace a digital-first approach.
People want to watch the clips and segments they’re most interested in, at a time that works best for them.
The point of no return for linear TV
Changes in media consumption have created a new world where users watch what they want, when they want to, shifting viewing habits from traditional linear TV to on-demand digital video. In just the past year, even the last bastions of linear-TV viewing — live events, news, sports, and cultural moments, such as the Oscars and Grammys — have seen big declines in viewership. The 2021 Oscars broadcast had half the audience it did in 2020.
It’s not that consumers are losing interest. While the Grammys only attracted around 9 million viewers during the live broadcast per Nielsen, Dua Lipa’s performance of “Levitating” during the ceremony has been viewed online more than 56 million times and counting. People want to watch the clips and segments they’re most interested in, at a time that works best for them.
Faced with this shift, CMOs have understandably accelerated their embrace of connected and digital-first TV advertising. Those who don’t risk irrelevance.
Common myths about linear TV
While most brands understand the need for a digital-first approach, many are taking their time getting there. And while their reasons for staying loyal to linear TV may seem plausible, a closer look reveals a different story. Much of our conventional wisdom needs a rethink.
Here are a few commonly held misperceptions about the linear TV channel.
- MMMs say linear TV works
In some cases, measurement solutions, such as marketing mix modeling (MMM), continue to suggest linear TV is more effective than alternatives. But, because they are necessarily backward-looking, they don’t account properly for real-time changes in consumer behaviors around media or dynamic changes to the media itself, such as format and pricing. Now is the time to modernize your MMM and include more granular and immediate insights.
- Only TV drives mass reach
The once widely accepted conventional wisdom that extensive reach is a benefit unique to linear TV has been repeatedly debunked. It’s now possible to drive mass reach without having traditional TV placements on your media plan. Most watch time for the customers that matter to your brand happens in a digital environment. For example, in Southeast Asia today, between 30% and 50% of people own a connected TV (CTV).1
- Studio content is better than creator-produced content
The abundance of viewing on digital platforms has put to rest the notion that “premium” content is the only way to attract eyeballs. Now, people describe good content as something personal and relevant that relates to their passions. For instance, in Australia, people are most likely to say their definition of TV now includes YouTube and streaming services like Netflix and Stan. In Indonesia, video users say that YouTube is the No. 1 video platform in delivering content with both mass appeal and personal relevance.2 The new premium is about control and choice, not production values.
- Linear TV is the only way to get a big-screen experience
The growing popularity of connected devices means that old distinctions between network TV, digital, and streaming are disappearing. Between 2019 and 2020, we saw YouTube watch time on TV screens nearly double. This in turn lets people re-create the shared big-screen TV experience and watch together. In Japan, over 50% of those who watch YouTube on TV screens watch it along with family, friends and others.3
- Low CPMs prove TV’s value
Historically, marketers have cited linear TV’s low cost per impression as evidence of its value relative to more expensive connected and streaming TV inventory. Though impressions may be cheaper, it doesn’t follow that they’re providing more bang for the buck. In fact, recent meta-analysis of 600 MMMs across APAC showed that YouTube generated 3.9X more incremental sales than TV did, and ROI was 1.2X greater than that of TV.
Small steps toward a digital-first mindset
Many marketers are already on a path to digital-first planning, since it provides the best of both worlds: the engaging presence of advertising shown on a large TV screen on one hand and digital’s huge audiences and optimization capabilities on the other. Here are some suggestions for how to accelerate your strategy.
- Embrace creative freedom in one campaign
Introducing more specific digital-targeting and campaign-flighting options to the TV environment brings the opportunity to tailor your message for different audiences. While consistency is important, you should also push beyond the idea of a single piece of creative.
When Mox, one of Hong Kong’s first virtual banks, launched a consumer credit card, it took a flighted approach with a series of short videos to help people understand how its new virtual banking solutions would satisfy their banking needs and advance their financial goals. It turned to YouTube’s storytelling capabilities, such as video ad sequencing, to launch the short videos. Overall, its YouTube ad campaign generated 5.29 million video views and Mox exceeded its daily acquisition target by more than 50%.
- Plan TV and digital together to maximize reach
If you use total reach as your primary metric, grow it further by combining linear TV and YouTube. Try using the Reach Planner and cross-media reach reporting which measures reach across multiple platforms. This will help you find the right mix of YouTube and linear TV that optimizes their combined reach.
You can use this strategy to extend your campaign reach or to achieve your current reach targets more efficiently. Nestle in Vietnam achieved 2.6X expanded CTV Campaign reach by combining YouTube’s connected TV capabilities with linear TV for the same core audience over four weeks.
- Go big somewhere small
If you or your CFO are reluctant to jump straight into the deep end, consider testing an aggressive digital strategy at a small scale. This could be a non-core product line or a small geographic region. Doing something big, such as a large digital-only campaign or a big shift to digital in your media mix, in a less consequential facet of your business will help you better isolate and identify the impact of a digital-first strategy.
Seismic shifts in the landscape require that we all move beyond incremental change. Marketers shouldn’t start out with last year’s plan. Instead, media mixes must be anchored in current consumer viewing habits. The makeup of TV viewing has been steadily changing for years, but recent upheavals and the traction of new services have created an entirely new landscape — and marketers should respond with urgency.What holistic measurement tells us about the evolution of video