2 min read

Stay-at-Home Orders Give Rise to Digital Streaming

Changing viewer behavior creates opportunities to optimize programmatic strategies

By Joel Cox, Co-Founder, EVP Strategy & Innovation

Not since the ‘70s have so many families found themselves sitting in their living rooms, with so few distractions, watching so much TV together. As a result of kids being home from school, and from all the social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, screen time has jumped to perhaps the highest it’s ever been. Viewership is changed forever.

With unbearably depressing cable news and no sports, millions have been inspired to explore and discover new digital streaming options. Viewers’ eyes are open to new content, but, in an anxious economy, they are more hesitant to open their wallets to pay for the next subscription channel, and many more will continue cutting the cable cord altogether.

Everyone already knows what’s on Netflix. They want to see what’s new, and free, or at least less expensive, and ad-supported programming looks more appealing all of a sudden to both viewers and advertisers. For brands, agencies and media buyers, this is the perfect opportunity to double-down on connected television.

During the good times it makes sense to blow big budgets on the proverbial Super Bowl ad knowing that if you hit enough consumers over the head, they’re going to consume.  

But now, people will welcome less frequent, and more relevant advertising that’s targeted precisely to them according to their demographic characteristics, location, interests, intent, affinities, engagement patterns and other behavior. That’s what programmatic advertising strategies deliver: data-driven campaigns based around the individual viewers themselves, not merely on what show they might be watching.

Thoughtful and relevant, interesting and relatable… this is what marketing can become when matching a creative message with today’s streaming inventory. With our new attribution and reporting tools available for campaigns of all types and budgets, it’s not just the precision and relevance of the targeting, but also the ability to leverage technology to close the loop on ad exposure and consumer behavior. Accessing agnostic inventories of quality, long-form programming can be a new proving ground for more discrete products and services, and with far more local targeting, timed to the actual behavior patterns of the prospect. We’re not just shooting for: “Men, 18-34 who like cars.” Instead, we can optimize advertise directly to an individual: a woman, aged 32, who we know is in the market for a convertible, who talks about and searches the subject on social media, who we know walked into a Chevy dealership.

After spending weeks in our homes, TV has become more important and is our window on the world. The choices, the flexibility and the control now in the viewers’ hands are incredible, and subscription fatigue is hitting new highs. We all hope and pray for everyone’s well being, now and in the future. Professionally, we believe it’s an important, historic moment to take advantage of the situation – not for making a quick buck, but to do a better job of tying results to spend, and to forward the vision of what programmatic ad-supported television advertising can become: relevant to the viewer, to the point where they welcome meaningful messages that educate, inspire and entertain, rather than wishing, or paying, for them to go away.