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What: When planning a marketing strategy, brands and agencies are asking themselves whether to place their efforts in social media or television.
Why it matters: Clients have become multi-platform consumers, and brands need a multimedia strategy to reach their right audience.

Ever since social media has gained weight as an ad platform, agencies and marketing divisions have found themselves asking whether to put their money off-line or online. With this in mind, a more specific question is: are TV and social media rivals or allies?

Consumers can now view video or text communications on a number of different platforms including linear TV, open and pay, broadcast and cable, online and on mobile. “In this scenario, social media could be considered just another vehicle or channel for viewing content,” says Cynthia Evans, director of insights and thought leadership at GroupM Latin America.

Yousef Kattan Fernández, president and CEO of TruMC
Yousef Kattan Fernández, president and CEO of TruMC

Experts agree that both of these platforms complement each other. “I think each channel carries its own weight and that strategically, they should be leveraged together when possible,” says Yousef Kattan Fernández, president and CEO of TruMC.

That said, the decision to choose either one or both is difficult, and needs to be analyzed when developing an ad campaign. “It depends on the advertisers’ strategies, and the role that the media is playing” adds Evans. “It is possible to use any one medium alone or together with others. Research tends to show that using more than one medium produces a more effective campaign, because it will have a greater impact on sales responses than any one medium alone.”

For this reason, Evans recommends a multi-platform, integrated planning approach when considering media investment, neglecting the basics of designing a campaign: you must set the objective, strategy and tactics for the plan before executing and determine efficiency and effectiveness metrics for each medium. Consider the role that the vehicle or medium needs to play as well as the cost, the context, and creative opportunity that the campaign presents. Then make a decision with other stakeholders – i.e., the client and the creative team — and measure results.

What gets measured gets done.

Kattan recognizes that it is a difficult dilemma, but if he had to choose only one platform, he would go for strong social content, because according to his experience, “social [media] allows a marketer to use data, measure and optimize in real time, giving you automatic insights. These social listening tools exist to help us fully understand how campaigns are working and whether there are successes to report, or optimizations needed to create those successes.” Of course, television can also measure the campaign’s effect on viewers, but it takes longer to obtain results and they’re less accurate than what one gathers from social media.

What’s New?

Raúl Aguilar, CEO of Nurun
Raúl Aguilar, CEO of Nurun

“What’s trending now is multiscreen consumption,” says Raúl Aguilar, CEO of Nurun. “That is why we are working under a philosophy of team integration with different specialists at Publicis.”

According to Kattan, agencies are making efforts to develop stronger in-house social capabilities to help leverage the channel as part of an overarching campaign and strategy. “TV isn’t new. What is is using social media in support of TV efforts. Networks have been great at finding ways to incorporate social platforms as part of their TV plans, from Facebook and Twitter, to Periscope.”

Now, the things you see on TV are commented on in social media. Many broadcasters “create TV content with a call to action on social media,” adds Aguilar. This is the essence of integrated communication planning.

According to Evans, linear TV channels that support themselves with strong social media assets (profiles, pages, communities) bring an added value to the table simply by commanding a larger share of voice and mind of the consumer. “If advertising messages can be woven into that multi-platform fabric, it creates a situation of ‘the more the merrier.”

Media vendors have taken this into consideration, build on this opportunity with multi-platform packages for consumers. “We’ve seen that Latin America has been a little slower to adapt and leverage properly, but we are quickly noticing the benefits of incorporating full social strategies as part of their TV mix,” concludes Kattan.


Ximena is a Swiss-Mexican journalist based in Mexico City where she specialized in business, and travel topics. Graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has worked as an editor at the magazines Expansión , Aire and Accent, from Expansion Group. Currently she is working with different media in Spanish and English independently. She is a passionate traveler who does not miss the opportunity to see a new place in the world.

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