Reading between the headlines to plan smarter for your clients

Making Sense of the commercial media landscape

Wavemaker Manchester's Lauren Greenhough takes stock of the media consumption landscape after a whirlwind year and explains why you shouldn't let yourself or your clients be swayed by headlines and make assumptions.

Every year we look back on the last and say what a year that was…

And every year, without fail, I look forward to getting my hands on the IPA Making Sense report. I find it a great time to take stock of the media consumption landscape after a whirlwind year.

For media planners, it really is no mean feat when it comes to deciphering what we are reading and hearing versus what is really happening. It is very easy for us to get tangled in a web of all the headlines that we read daily of new news, conflicting information, trends, statistics, and assumptions, to the point we can’t see the wood through the trees. Enter TouchPoints, the trusty hero Bonnie Tyler calls out for, helping us read between the headlines. TouchPoints is that hero, guaranteed to come to our rescue and help us untangle (or make sense if you will) of the UK’s tangled media consumption web.

We so easily get obsessed with the new and shiny. Who hasn’t been guilty of the Metaverse trap last year? Wasn’t 2022 meant to be the year of the Metaverse? Ultimately, it’s our responsibility, as agencies and media planners, to get to the bottom of the vast amount of information we have at our fingertips and make sense of what we think we know, (or don’t!) to get to unrivalled work for our clients and their brands.

2022 saw headlines such as "Unprecedented inflation as TV ad prices overtake pre-pandemic levels"  and "Broadcast TV Is Dying Fast In The UK", and it could have been so easy to talk ourselves (and our clients) out of investing in TV simply because of inflation. However, we’ve been seeing inflation across TV increasing year on year for a while now and whilst CPMs continue to rise within TV buying, they’re increasing in almost every other channel. TV has seemingly become a victim of its own transparency.

Lauren Greenhough, Senior Stategy and Planning Manager, Wavemaker Manchester

We absolutely cannot get away from the fragmentation within video in terms of format, device and time spent but what we can do is start to paint a very good picture of our audiences’ video habits. Yes, the shifts we are seeing means overall impacts are down. But TouchPoints data tells us that TV is still the highest reaching video channel across all devices. Weekly reach of commercial Live TV simply cannot be matched across all age demographics and in most cases shouldn’t just be brushed aside. That’s not to say our video approach doesn’t need to adapt and change. We should be looking at how our brands turn up within video to supplement TV with other channels and have a nuanced mix based on the audience insights.

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Last year was no exception to the furthering of the fragmentation with Netflix entering into a commercial model. Cue more headlines about the death of Linear TV. It’s yet to be seen the impact this will have on the landscape but I’m holding out for the hero of TouchPoints to tell me what’s actually happening, to help me read beyond the headlines and understand the true impact it has on the landscape.

There’s absolutely no doubt we’ll have another year of new media headlines to grapple with, but with TouchPoints as the one source of consistent data, I for one will be using it to read between the headlines and plan smarter, more diverse, and effective media plans for my clients.

My one ask. Don’t let yourself or your clients be swayed by headlines and make assumptions. Investigate them and interrogate the data, and let TouchPoints be the hero to sweep you off your feet.

Lauren Greenhough, is a Senior Strategy and Planning Manager at Wavemaker in Manchester. Lauren works across a repertoire of categories from FMCG, Alcohol, Washing & Bathing and Travel, with an aim to deliver growth for her clients brands. She has a passion for audiences and understanding why they behave the way they do and is a big BIG fan of TouchPoints.

This article first appeared in Making Sense: The Commercial Media Landscape (Fifth edition). The full report and the IPA TouchPoints data is available for free for IPA TouchPoints subscribers, while an eight-page Executive Summary is free for everyone to download.


The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 01 May 2024