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Man watching TV show on his living room couch: emotional storytelling

Why Emotional Storytelling Will Allow TV to Thrive

September 19th, 2017   ||    by Melanie Brown   ||    No Comments

Television—as it turns out—is looking to be as much a part of the future as it was a part of the past. While the ubiquity of mobile devices have made streaming services and over-the-top (OTT) viewing the norm, the emergence of digital viewing has not nearly put an end to linear TV.

“Despite fragmentation, linear TV is still more reliable in delivering reach than any other medium, and its strength lies in effective, emotional storytelling,” according to a recent Forrester study.

The Best Among Many

Fragmentation has been a growing problem for television advertisers since the advent of cable networks. With the number of available options increasing faster than the size of audiences, the sheer breadth of choice of what to watch is staggering. Program ratings don’t generally go as high as they used to—because audiences tend to be smaller and more niche.

It was this fragmentation that spurred the development of data-driven advertising and audience targeting, which is making television even more effective than it was. What the Forrester study found is that while linear TV audiences may be smaller overall, they respond better to advertising than those who are exposed to ads via digital channels.

This conclusion was notably supported by Marcos de Quinto, the chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola, at the end of 2016. “The effectiveness of TV is still very, very critical for our business,” de Quinto said at the Beverage Digest conference. “It still offers the best ROI [return on investment] across media channels.”

Feeling the Connection

Digital channels are known to have a massive audience, especially where younger millennials and generation Zers are concerned, but the connection between audiences and digital platforms is not as strong as the connection between those audiences and television. While digital advertising may deliver huge reach, the linear television audience is far more engaged. This is especially true of local TV, where viewers also tend to place the most trust in what they’re watching.

TV viewers are most likely to already be emotionally invested in the content they’re viewing—which is great news for advertisers. Emotions play a large part in purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to certain products. Effective advertising hinges on emotional storytelling, and it can be difficult for advertisers to cut through all the noise of a digital news feed or timeline to really make that emotional connection online.

Forrester’s study also found that the kind of hypertargeting that has become the standard in much of digital advertising has a ceiling when it comes to effectiveness. Television’s broad reach is more effective overall, particularly for products that have a wide appeal to multiple audiences.

So television isn’t going anywhere. In fact, for many advertisers, the key to ROI may involve a focus on a TV-heavy strategy.

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