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TV Ad Targeting: Lessons From the Digital World

May 8th, 2019   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Advancements made in TV ad targeting are proving to be a boon despite linear viewership erosion. A recent Advanced Advertising Summit highlighted how advanced advertising, precision audience targeting, and cross media measurement are adding to television’s assets and fueling its growth.

Advanced Advertising for TV Full Speed Ahead

According to Summit speaker Irwin Gotlieb, senior advisor to WPP, there are no technical obstacles standing in the way of TV ad targeting. The obstacles lie in business operations that continue to silo television and digital as well as in the measurement that has not kept up with the changing ecosystem. “A significant portion in the decline of TV viewing is poor measurement,” Gotlieb stated, as flawed measurement causes undercounting and less inventory.

But TV has an advantage. Its unparalleled reach, combined with newly available granular data, better targets the consumer through the purchase cycle and moves TV down the purchase funnel.

Learning From Digital’s Mistakes

As with any targeting technology, privacy looms large. In a recent article for AdExchanger, Alison Weissbrot wrote, “As digital marketers enter the TV buying world with sophisticated targeting capabilities, identifying the right balance for personalization in the living room is crucial.” At what point does a message become intrusive? While digital ads target individuals, the advantage for television is that ads target households. Relevant ads for the household protect privacy more so than those targeted to a specific individual.

Ad fatigue, ad irrelevancy, and brand safety are other problems faced by digital. TV ad targeting can avoid these issues with frequency capping and a fair ad rotation to avoid fatigue. Additionally, curated ad campaigns, bolstered by data analytics now available in advanced advertising platforms, ensure ad relevancy and brand safety. Jason DeMarco, vice president of Programmatic and Audience Solutions at A+E Networks, told MediaVillage, “We have identified the ability to increase the frequency of advertisers to have a more well-balanced delivery of ads and creative.” This helps the consumer on the user experience side and avoids saturation on the advertiser side.

Learning From Digital’s Successes

TV is also learning from digital by reaching out to smaller advertisers who might have previously been priced out of that marketplace. A recent example, reported MediaVillage, is A+E Network’s Precision1. According to Peter Olsen, executive vice president of Ad Sales and Content Partnerships, it “gives access to people who aren’t traditionally big spenders in TV.”

Some companies are also advancing the connection between digital and TV through initiatives such as CFlight. According to conference speaker Mike Mayer, executive vice president of Sales Solutions at NBCUniversal, CFlight “combines linear with digital impressions and sells deals with total impressions.” Consortiums like Vizio’s Project OAR, which stands for Open Addressable Ready, is another industry initiative.

Currently, addressable advertising for TV is two minutes local time per hour. But nothing will be ready on a national level until the measurement systems can handle it without any manual effort by the back office. However, the lessons drawn from digital will enable TV to more successfully and quickly move into this new advertising paradigm.

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