3 insights to improve your tune-in rates with digital marketing

TV has changed. People now bounce back and forth between linear TV, streaming, on-demand and DVR to watch their favorite shows.

Take Game of Thrones.

Many fans always watched the show live to avoid spoilers and to stay in-the-know for discussions the next day around the water cooler. They may have also engaged with other fans on social media in real time by live-tweeting the show or posting a reaction to a pivotal scene (and they’re still talking about the final season online).

Other fans preferred to watch the show at their leisure on HBO Go, video-on-demand (VOD) or DVR. If they were out of town on Sunday and still wanted to watch it live, they could download HBO Go on their iPad to watch wherever they were.

This fragmented landscape makes it difficult to measure viewing behavior and actually reach the right people with advertising.

But it’s knowing how to reach them effectively and efficiently that will drive your tune-in rates.

Let's start with the definitions:

Tune-in rate versus lift

  • Tune-in rate refers to the group of messaged households that actually tune in to your program.

  • Tune-in lift refers to the tune-in rate for messaged households compared to non-messaged households as defined and performed by the data provider. In other words, how many people did your advertising convince to watch that wouldn’t have watched otherwise?

What affects tune-in?

In the pre-Netflix world, there were the four major networks, each with tremendous reach to build an audience around linear tune-in. That’s just not the case anymore.

Now that TV audiences are smaller and more fragmented, network marketers need to reach people in more places. It’s a necessary approach in today’s digital world, but it requires more platforms and channels to reach the same amount of people. And, it’s gotten more complicated to do that and truly understand unique reach and frequency as marketers plan their media across so many platforms.

Get even more insights in the report: 5 ways to drive tune-in with digital marketing 

Our research shows that you should take a good look at these variables to get the most engaged audience for your content.

1. Show type and length

Genre and show length impact a digital campaign’s ability to drive tune-in— so don’t get discouraged if your basketball game has a lower tune-in rate than your drama. Your opportunity is to increase tune-in lift by reaching the people most likely to enjoy your program. Use previous viewing behavior to determine which type of program someone will likely enjoy.

2. Mobile ads

Based on our tune-in campaign results, mobile ad delivery drives better tune-in. You’ll see the highest tune-in rates and above-average lift when mobile ads account for at least 93% of the campaign mix.

No matter how much of your campaign is delivered on mobile, make sure all content renders well on smartphones and tablets—and that you’re reaching people when they’re mostly likely to be using these devices.

3. The right ad mix

In the entertainment space, video is king. TV marketers tend to believe that the best way to get someone excited about their show is to see a promotion of the show in video form. But you’ll see a better tune-in rate and a higher average lift when video ads account for 55% to 65% of your campaign. Stepping away from video (when appropriate) can also help you keep some extra ad dollars in your working ad budget since video is typically one of the more expensive formats.

To optimize tune-in, you need to have an appropriate mix of video and display advertising. Although impactful, video isn’t always the right format based on the person, the device they’re using or the time of day. Your campaign should be able to always optimize for the best ad format based on the context where its being viewed.

Keeping it interesting for the individual

There’s no single silver bullet to getting digital marketing right, but you might have noticed a trend here. Getting the best tune-in rates depends on reaching people at the right time, with the right message—and being able to accurately measure when they do tune in.

You need to understand each individual person and their viewing behavior and preferences for the best results. With this complete picture of your viewers, you’ll be able to better predict what other content they’re likely to watch, deliver them highly relevant messaging and accurately measure when they tune in.

No algorithm is perfect, but you need to focus on capturing the attention of the individual, rather than general and broad segments, to make your tune-in marketing most effective.

To dive a little deeper, download 5 ways to drive tune-in with digital marketing.