For decades, television has been the best platform for driving brand awareness thanks to its scale and impact. This is especially true during premier TV events—where millions of viewers are tuned in to a broadcast event and share standout moments in real-time on mobile and across social. These television events, from award shows to sports games, combine the communal nature of experiential activations with the scale and convenience of linear TV. But does live TV drive viewers to actually buy the products and services advertised during the experience?
To find out, Viacom’s Marketing and Partner Insights (MPI) team conducted a study of consumers following the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The goal was to see if the omnichannel sponsorship efforts of advertisers influenced consumer spending.
With real-time shopper insights, the MPI team was able to analyze data from a nationwide panel of more than 9,000 people who had submitted a receipt from advertiser brands before the VMAs aired on Aug. 27, 2017. Then, using purchase and survey data collected after the event, analysts were able to see if the VMA sponsorship programs drove consumer recall and purchase intent.1
The results of the study reveal how live TV event advertisements and activations impact the consumer journey. Here, we’ll walk through three highlights of the post-campaign analysis.
Diversifying the audience: VMA viewers were younger and more diverse.
Among the consumers polled, those who watched the VMAs (whether or not they recalled specific brand campaigns) were more likely to be multicultural and millennial than those that did not watch the VMAs. In other words, the VMA broadcast put brands in front of a demographic of consumers that was slightly younger and more diverse than their typical consumers.
This result is in-line with the overall viewing habits of the VMAs. Watched by more than 6 million viewers last year, the VMAs is most popular among a young and diverse audience. Beyond the VMAs, this pattern underscores the importance of understanding the target demo of a live TV event, and taking advantage of that to reach a diverse and passionate audience that aligns with a brand’s target consumer.
Driving intent: VMAs viewers were more likely to buy the product.
Among the consumers that bought from the advertisers prior to the VMAs, those that watched the VMAs and recalled the brand campaigns were much more likely to buy the product or visit the chain than the consumers that didn’t watch the VMAs. This means the sponsorship reinforced and drove their intent to buy. In fact, VMA viewers cited the sponsorship as a primary reason for their post-show purchase and said they frequently purchase products because they are tied to an event.
Increasing Spend: VMA viewers were more likely to increase the amount spent on the product.
Based on the consumer data, the ads didn’t just cause the viewers to buy—it drove them to spend more than those who didn’t see the VMAs. After the show, consumers increased their spend by an average of 2X, which was 25% morethan consumers that didn’t see the show.
A note for marketers
It’s rare to be able to trace the direct correlation between ads and purchase data. But the VMAs analysis highlights that TV event viewers—whether or not they recall a specific brand campaign—do adapt their behavior based on brand presence. Overall, nearly 7 in 10 VMA viewers who recalled the brands said the sponsorship influenced their purchase decision.
The key for marketers is to choose an event that reaches an audience that fits within your target demographic, especially those who may be harder to reach on other channels, and to cater the creative to the event.
1. All data: Viacom Proprietary Research.