Comscore’s Latest TV Study Advises Breaking With Old Thinking

By Charlene Weisler

When the currently accepted landscape shifts and changes, we tend to stick to familiar narratives that have informed us in the past. But as consumers explore a range of new viewing behaviors such as binge watching and cord-cutting, and discover new programs on a range on platforms and devices, sometimes the established norms no longer hold. Comscore recently released a study that examined three of these established narratives to see if they are still true or whether advertisers needed to shift their thinking:

➢ Do stereotypes still help advertising?

➢ Is Activism Good For Business?

➢ Is TV Dead?

According to their whitepaper, Comscore “examined demographic, behavioral and survey data spanning digital, TV and over-the-top (OTT) platforms to understand if common headlines and narratives in media and advertising accurately reflect audience sentiment, preferences and behaviors.”

The findings were as follows:

1. Avoid stereotyping consumers because nowadays, “brands that rely on broad stereotypes are excluding key customer targets from their marketing and are potentially costing themselves business,” the report explained. Stereotypes like rich people buy automobiles and young consumers are power users of social media are missing a range of other desirable consumers for those products and services. The ability to target through segmentations and granular datasets removes the need for advertisers to assume the profile of their most valuable consumer sets and enables “new avenues for understanding and engaging consumers.”

2. Applying brand activism is a mixed bag and very nuanced. The report noted that “recent cause-based marketing campaigns from brands like Nike and Gillette generated a tremendous amount of both praise and criticism, yet Comscore data shows that most consumers are generally ambivalent to brands taking a stance on political and social issues.” Comscore found that just 15% of consumers said they strongly agree with the statement, “companies should take a stand on political/social issues.” Because brand activism is very nuanced, marketers should carefully and thoroughly consider the associated benefits and risks before proceeding.

3. TV isn’t dead, according to Comscore, rather it is “maturing.” TV viewership levels are stabilizing while linear TV continues to offer advertisers ample reach and large audiences. But the way these audiences now gather and consume content has changed significantly. “The number of OTT households is still growing, albeit at a decelerating rate, and new addressable TV capabilities offer opportunities for marketers to cohesively reach consumers across platforms,” the report noted.

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