Why US Web Companies Struggle to Launch International TV Campaigns

logoFor web companies, the US is a great marketing landscape to launch your site into broad reach media; the “remnant” media marketplace is an established way to get more bang for your buck if you work with a savvy media agency that knows how to best optimize your plans. Media buying can happen more fluidly, making decisions week-to-week, and pricing can be adjusted and negotiated based on what is right for your business. Obviously there is the risk that in a remnant market, you may not get access to the inventory you want versus fixed inventory but it’s simply the price to pay for getting a great deal, and most performance based marketers are willing to stomach that.

Outside of the US, there are no two countries that have similar media landscape. Even networks that have the same media holding company ownership operate their networks as separate entities across countries, and cable, or “pay tv”, isn’t as extensive as it is in the US.  While you cannot generalize the entire global landscape, here are some key differences from the US across the globe:

  • No Remnant Marketplace: buying “DRTV” is usually the first point of entry for web companies testing TV in the US. While you can access last minute inventory in some markets like France and Germany, there isn’t a mature negotiating marketplace, and the inventory is far less reliable (and, desirable). The first question many US companies ask is “Do you have access to remnant drtv media?” and in almost every other market outside the US, the answer is no. This can be quite jarring.
  • Advance Buying Schedules: without having a remnant marketplace, advance media buying is common practice in most countries; ranging from one month to as far as three months in advance as a best practice, in markets like the UK, for example, brands will have to pay a penalty for buying past the advance buying schedules.
  • Lack of Flexibility Hinders Optimization: the number one rule of thumb for performance marketers is that you will need to optimize your media plan, and there will never be a perfect formula, optimization is a constant due to changes in competitive landscape, seasonality, viewership, creative concepts, etc. Advance media buying schedules without auction oriented media buying marketplace means that while optimization can happen at a granular level (dayparts, day-of-week, position-in-break, programs) that you won’t be able to make more real time higher level investment changes.
  • Creative: this is a pretty broad bullet point – we will talk more about developing global creative assets in detail in future posts. But, web companies have a real challenge to determine if they will have a truly global creative asset they can localize for each market, or develop market specific ads. Obviously production costs end up being a real consideration. Additionally, unit lengths — and, corresponding costs per second — vary across each country. The US is used to :60s, :30s, :15s, and maybe :10s. Across Europe brands will find that :20s might be more efficient from a cost-per-second basis than :30s, which puts pressure on the creative team to tell the story and drive action with :10 seconds less than they’re used to.
  • Finding the Right Media Agency Partners: many brands might choose to go the route of hiring a large multinational that has a presence across all the markets they are expanding into. But, there is also value in looking into the independent performance agencies in each market that have more of a focus in that country. So, what is the right approach? There is certainly convenience in a multinational agency, but is there more country specific expertise with a local independent, even if it might be more work for you? No matter what you decide, identifying partners who have had previous offline-to-web consumer internet experience is a MUST.

There have been several case studies of US brands that have successfully launched offline campaigns in other markets but its a surprisingly rare group of companies. At Moco Global we will continue to focus on the best practices in this space and help web companies navigate the global marketing sandbox. Follow us on Twitter at @followmoco for more news, insights, and trends in global consumer internet marketing.

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