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Q4 TV Advertising: Your 2020 Holiday Season Guide

In an increasingly competitive commerce landscape where online spending has increased 44.4% year over year, all signs point to Q4 2020 being the biggest quarter for ecommerce yet. With 71% of US adults planning to do more than half of their holiday shopping digitally this year, marketers are focused on finding the optimal strategy to best position themselves for a huge Q4. Part of finding the optimal strategy is evaluating the diversification of their marketing mix in the face of a hyper-competitive digital landscape with rising year-over-year CPMs on Facebook and other platforms.

One thing we want to emphasize from the onset: it’s not too late. As November creeps around the corner, it may feel chaotic trying to identify last-minute opportunities and put a bow on your Q4 campaigns. These tips and campaign blueprint will serve as a helpful guide to how TV can enhance your marketing strategy for Q4, while also preparing you for the new year. No matter your TV experience or lack thereof, this guide will help you nail your TV advertising strategy. We’ll touch on:

  • TV marketplace dynamics
  • Qualities in a TV advertising partner that will help your brand make the most of Q4
  • Blueprint for how to develop a Q4 (and beyond) TV advertising strategy

Q4 TV Marketplace and Market Conditions

Increased Demand As TV advertising spend ramps up, inventory availability is increasingly tight with some networks in sellout conditions extending through November. This proves to be difficult for marketers to find audiences across the TV landscape before they are claimed by other brands.

While we typically see inventory availability open up as we approach the weeks of Christmas and New Years, we don’t anticipate that being the case this year. With the amount of demand so far this quarter, brands should anticipate continued heightened demand entering into 2021.

Line chart showing Q2-Q4 2019 TV impressions and avg. household CPM by week.

Election and News Total political ad spending for the 2019/2020 election cycle is projected to reach $6.89 billion, up from $4.22 billion in 2015/2016. While the impact on rates is predominantly felt at the local level, increased viewership across national TV landscape during the election cycle presents opportunity for brands.

Brands Testing TV When it comes time to purchase, consumers typically seek out brands they’re already familiar with. This is part of the reason why more DTC brands have begun testing TV advertising, and underscores the effectiveness of TV in driving mass reach and acquisition when brands are ready to scale. Not to mention the halo effect of TV advertising on digital channels. For example, an Accenture study found that TV lifts digital ROI by 22%.

Making the Most of TV Advertising During the Holiday Season

Reach new audiences The mass reach of TV advertising allows you to get your message in front of millions of new people. Simulmedia reaches over 120 million households through direct partnerships with 110+ national TV networks so you begin reaching a lot of people - fast.

Be certain of media delivery There isn’t room to leave the delivery of your TV advertising spots to chance during the critical holiday season. Simulmedia guarantees impression delivery, effectively de-risking your TV investment and allowing you to be certain of how many people you’ll reach in your target during the campaign.

Visuals showing avg. spot cost for October to December 2019 and a sample of forecasting analysis for November 2020.

Pinpoint where potential customers will be watching Given the competitive TV landscape, it’s important to be precise with your TV advertising. Simulmedia’s patented forecasting algorithm predicts where your audience will be watching in the future and allows you to buy at the network, day, and daypart level.

Apply learnings on what's working As your TV campaigns run, it’s critical to take those learnings to double-down on what’s working and cut what’s not in order to confidently scale your spend. Simulmedia allows you to bring your digital tactics to TV through real-time reporting and fast optimizations on the metrics that matter most to you: CPV, CPI, CAC, or any custom events you’re tracking.

Have flexibility to be opportunistic Be nimble to take advantage of cost effectiveness within certain networks, dayparts, and days of week during the quarter. You should avoid feeling locked into long-term commitments where you can’t take advantage of viewership trends and inventory supply fluctuations. Simulmedia is plugged into all national TV networks to quickly seize on opportunities.

Line charts showing budget allocation to awareness vs. performance, how CPV and CPM change during campaign, and weekly spend guide.

Developing a Q4 TV advertising gameplan

This gameplan should serve as a helpful guide for how to think about your TV advertising investment over the course of the quarter.

Late October to Early November

Drive Awareness + Build Retargeting List: Start campaign in October or early November to test and learn which creatives, dayparts, networks, programs, and creatives are generating the optimal CPV or CPI for your brand. Driving awareness early will also allow for you to re-target site visitors that TV drove across other channels.

Mid to Late November

Apply Learnings + Scale to Performance: Apply learnings from initial campaign flight fast by buying more of what works and cutting what doesn’t. Scaling up spend entering BFCM and beyond is important to find new pockets of your target audience across the TV landscape and for your brand to stay top of mind for prospective consumers.

Entering December

Stay Top of Mind: As the peak of consumer spending for the holiday season starts to decline, it may be best to modify how much you’re allocating to TV advertising. We’d advise to decrease spending from the higher levels in November, but to continue to apply and accumulate learnings from what’s working and find pockets of inventory with cost-effective target audience reach.

Want to learn more? Contact us or email us at advertise@simulmedia.com.