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Controlling uncertainty: Managing the impact of external factors on TV campaigns

External influences including political, social and even meteorological issues affect your daily choices (more than you may realise) and so can have a significant consequence on the response rates of TV campaigns. This is particularly true for the third sector when donating to a charity may be considered a ‘luxury’ by some, meaning that external events can have a very clear impact on response rates and overall ROI’s if not managed promptly.

Across the years we have identified many examples of national/ global events and news stories driving a short-term decline in responsiveness for international third sector clients in countries including Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The recent political upheaval in Italy has been underlying for a while but came to a head on the 9th August when Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League party, called for a snap election due to fractures in the current coalition government.

Google trends highlight the domestic uncertainty this created, reducing interest in overseas charity causes e.g. famine significantly in the short term. However, interest in these causes quickly picked up once the heavy news coverage on the crisis lessened a few days later.

Changing viewer patterns during the crisis also caused a fall in impacts across entertainment stations, with audiences switching over to news channels to keep abreast with the latest updates. Upturning the charities usual TV strategy and calling for rapid station level optimisations to ensure ROI remained on target.

interest over Carestia in Italy

The Netherlands
During the global news coverage on the Amazon fires in late August, we rapidly identified a decline in response rates for many of our charity clients, as potential donors gave to charities in support of/ working within the Amazon region instead.

Interestingly, this particularly affected a global animal charity working in the Netherlands, visible on Google trends. When Dutch audience interest peaked for ‘amazon fire’ it also spiked for animal charities with a larger universal presence e.g. WNF (the Dutch branch of WWF) and Greenpeace but declined for the less globally known charity.

Interest global charities in netherlands august 2019

In February 2018, the death of Prince Henrik of Denmark was the main news headline which caused a decline in web visit response rates for a Danish charity working internationally.

The shift in programming and viewership towards the national news worked to a disadvantage for the charity with an overseas cause, with 50% of the 10 poorest performing programmes being news/ Prince Henrik related.

The saddening national news meant that there was less focus on international priorities and thus a decrease in donations to the international charity the week following.

Danish international charity web visit 2018

All Response Media viewpoint
Although it’s impossible to control external factors when planning a TV campaign, it is possible to make significant optimisations to campaigns once impactful news breaks – if you act quickly – before your competitors secure the available sought-after airtime. Our proprietary ARMalytics tool gives planners this advantage; breaking down results by various dimensions to rapidly identify the source of a declining response rate, which can then be optimised.

As these examples demonstrate in the world of TV planning where uncertainty is certain, real-time optimisations are the most definite way to manage the impact of external influences.

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