Effective TV marketing in these unprecedented times requires a new kind of messaging, concludes a new report from US industry body VAB.

US consumers are reacting to “authentic, purpose-driven campaigns that address today’s issues with real solutions” researchers say. Examples they cite include contactless drivers, pick-up windows, and car relief payment programmes.

Its report TV Viewing in the Time of COVID-19 finds that 56% of consumers are “pleased to hear brands taking action like making donations of goods and services”, and 43% say they want messages that they find “reassuring from the brands I know and trust”.

Unsurprisingly, time spent watching TV is up, and this provides an environment for marketers to test campaigns and learn among new audiences, teens and young adults in particular.

Information is high on consumers’ agendas as people try to keep abreast of the rapidly changing situation. Consequently, TV news has seen significant growth in viewing figures:

• up 81% for adults aged 18 to 34

• up 66% for those aged 35 to 49

• up 43% for those aged 50 to 64.

Viewers also want respite from the grim reality of the virus crisis – weekly time spent watching ad-supported movies is:

• up 61% for young people aged 12 to 17

• up 32% for adults in the 18 to 34 age group.

The daytime TV audience has undergone a dramatic shift and is now made up largely of youngsters of school age, along with young, working adults. Late night and overnight TV are now prime opportunities for advertisers, says the report, because key buying groups are staying up later – teens aged 12 to 17 and adults aged 18 to 34, are all watching more late-night TV, up 22% and 12% respectively.

Second-screen engagement habits also present opportunities for marketers. Contact with friends and family is mainly happening through social media platforms, and many people are talking about their favourite premium video programmes – in one Twitter analysis, researchers found premium video content accounted for 66% of the top 10 Twitter trending topics at night, and ad-supported TV accounted for over half of all topics.

“While COVID-19 is a horrible reason for our population to stay at home, we’ve seen scores of marketers rightly rush to connect emotionally with ‘here to help’ messaging, to the scale-atop-of-scale surge of 24/7 viewership, to all forms of premium multiscreen TV content,” said Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of VAB.

“These marketers see both a mass of information-hungry viewers, as well as the spikes in viewing for comfort-of-favourites distraction. TV and TV-Social is where the populations are all converging in March and April.”  

Sourced from VAB