At the beginning of every year, millions of people take part in the time-honored tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. They range from the common “lose weight” and “save money” to the more-unusual “I’m going to read 10 books this year” (at press time, I’m still working on that 2015 resolution). Setting goals for one’s personal betterment is always a positive; whether you follow up or not is another question.
As the calendar changes, the promise of a better you is full of opportunity. You can resolve to get a new job, buy a new home, or change up your wardrobe. Once you meet these goals, you can feel good about the achievement.
The advertising world is also concerned with goals. Agencies are always trying to eclipse the previous year’s billings; clients are trying to boost product sales. There are goals constantly needing to be met, and if you aren’t trying to beat last year’s performance, you may not be in business for long.
With the constant changes occurring in the industry, goals can become more and more elusive. Consumers are moving away from linear television and into streaming devices. If the changes in platform aren’t enough, media-buying methods are also in flux. While programmatic buying is not a new concept in the advertising world, it is relatively new to TV.
Programmatic buying offers advertisers and their agencies a new dynamic for hitting their goals. It brings with it an effective way to buy remnant media at a fraction of the price of traditional DR. Measurement is still the same, but lower costs can help advertisers to meet their bottom-line targets more easily. Of course, the reach of programmatic doesn’t always equal the broad appeal one gets from a national cable campaign, but it’s hard to argue when the efficiencies are so robust.
January is one of the months in which advertisers should have little trouble in meeting their monthly goals. Even though DR’s biggest day of the year is in the December broadcast month, January is an inventory bonanza. One of the main competitors during the month is the weight-loss category, but with most of the inventory reserved for the daytime hours, other dayparts offer opportunities. The outlook may not be so bright in February, when inventory traditionally tightens during sweeps.
An election year, 2016 will be difficult. Inventory at the local level may be tight, especially during the early months of the year, when the parties start to sort out their candidates state-by-state. The tightening of inventory and higher CPMs should make programmatic a much more appealing and viable option for advertisers.
With Democratic and Republican primary debates set for January and February, expect to see a huge increase in local advertising in the swing states, with some spillover into national broadcast and cable. The higher the candidate’s profile, the more likely it is that national dollars will enter the marketplace, making DR’s opportunities scant.
The first two months of the year also offer high-profile programs that could help even DR advertisers meet their goals. The 50th Super Bowl hits CBS on Feb. 7, 2016, promising to deliver more than 100 million households, and CBS will charge $4.5 million for a :30 spot. The game will be streamed simultaneously for the very first time. However, if all goes well with the experiment, cord-cutting will increase.
The Super Bowl isn’t the only game in town, though. Bowl games on New Year’s Day and the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 11 brought in huge audiences, as will the NFL playoffs. The NBA All-Star Game and Daytona 500 will also offer advertisers an opportunity to spread their dollars around.
The new year also is the beginning of awards season, with the People’s Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Grammy Awards taking the stage during the next two months. Closing the season at the end of February are the Academy Awards—a final opportunity for advertisers to reach millions of dedicated live viewers.
The goal for all campaigns is a positive return on investment, and the goal of every agency is to make its clients happy. As the media landscape changes, everyone in DR should keep their goals in front of them. As long as those goals are met, we will all have a happy new year.