Interactive ads on TV get better response from viewers than online advertising

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More than two years ago, when banner ads first appeared on HbbTV, it wasn’t clear how viewers would react to the new style of ads that also were interactive. Today, campaigns on HbbTV have significantly higher interaction rates than those on mobile devices or computers.

Interactive ads on TV get better response from viewers than online advertising

With the Internet spreading to more and more devices, HbbTV technology has played a major role in its expansion to TV. Many considered HbbTV to be a kind of teletext 2.0, but it began to offer far more. It has become an important element of the medium, a powerful tool for keeping viewers in front of the TV. In addition to video libraries, the main pillar of content on HbbTV, broadcasters have come up with more uses for it, and they have found ways of making linear broadcasting more attractive. “Viewers can choose the content they want to watch at absolutely no cost. They can vote, watch live stream videos, respond to polls, or learn more about the products they see on TV, and they can even buy products directly via phone,” says Lukáš Hnilička from Hybrid.

The costs of this technology, however, are not negligible for TV broadcasters, so it was necessary to come up with a model that would cover the new expenses. One option was to move to prepaid content. But people in the Czech Republic aren’t used to that, so it was necessary to search for a more conservative alternative, which became advertising. Since HbbTV is an Internet technology, it made sense to offer Internet ad formats, which only fit the concept of a TV screen with a remote control.

HbbTV was a success, and thus addressable advertising paired with HbbTV technology could begin to make use of the power of TV as a advertising medium. “It’s about reach, brand impact and security, large screen size, and therefore even very good ad exposure,” says Sebastian Busse, Director of Addressable TV International at Smartclip.

The banner and video formats in the current HbbTV portfolio, from the time they were introduced, have attained higher rates of interaction than traditional Internet ads. The average CTR for HbbTV campaigns is 2%, and campaigns that also utilize retargeting attain a final CTR of 10%. These results are well-received by advertisers, as Jan Kurel, online Ads specialist, confirms: “The higher interaction rates attained by HbbTV campaigns, compared to standard online activities, can be monetized very well, not only for lead generation, which has already been tested many times, but also for enhancing the customer experience, thus increasing the relationship net promoter score (rNPS) which increases customer retention.”

Viewer interaction with the red button is described by Petr Miláček, Client Service Director at the advertising agency PHD: “When viewers watch TV in their free time, in their own environment, the program of their choice, they watch it in a mode of increased attention. Additionally, TV content is created by professionals and is of higher quality than online content. The TV screen hasn’t been penetrated by as many banners as the Internet, so the ‘red button’ is clearly visible and can easily attract viewers’ attention. Furthermore, it is still relatively new, so curiosity also plays a role.”

The potential of addressable advertising

Multiple ad formats and targeting options have opened up a plethora of possibilities for the use of advertising on HbbTV. This is supported by the fact that in the case of programmatic buying, it is possible to manage campaigns the entire time they are running, so advertisers can quickly and effectively optimize them, leading to better results. “From the advertisers’ perspective, the HbbTV platform combined with programmatic buying is a very advantageous way to expand both their reach and their ways of interacting with otherwise passive TV viewers. In the very near future, HbbTV should expand to omnichannel marketing strategies,” adds Jan Kurel.

“It’s good to take advantage of the context of the environment—HbbTV communication customizes the content being broadcast and offers additional information. Viewers appreciate it when advertising is done this way because it is less annoying,” recommends Petr Miláček. He also sees big potential in the targeting options: “Thanks to its data, the use of HbbTV communication may consequently mean an increase in the reach of TV ad campaigns, addressing otherwise difficult target groups such as educated, active, or very young people.”

Regarding the comprehension and use of all the added value of addressable TV advertising, Sebastian Busse adds: “Many advertisers like the idea of interactive ad formats on the TV screen, but they are also learning that the TV was not created to be an interactive medium and TV viewers are not used to interacting with the TV. From the many campaigns we’ve executed in Germany, Spain, France, and Italy, we’ve seen that advertisers are learning more and more about the value of data for targeting purposes and advanced forms of TV ad delivery (regional, retargeting, storytelling, utilizing frequency capping, etc.).

How will viewers interact in the future?

The TV is still the most watched device in the home. If technologies such as HbbTV continue to be developed, they may also become the devices that viewers interact with the most. Lukáš Hnilička shares several reasons for this: “The future is in fully personalized content delivery. The viewer won’t initiate communication, but the TV, with the help of an Internet background, will only offer what interests the viewer: in the case of content, what they would like to see, including ad messages. In the near future, we can expect that the TV screen will be both a mass and a fully personalized medium.” This may even be true of the ads themselves, which will move from being several-minute breaks to offering relevant ad messages.