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Connect Addressable TV to Your NFL Game Plan

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After more than a year living through the pandemic, people are ready for feelings of unity, excitement, and optimism about the future. After a complicated 2020 season of reschedules, cancellations, and COVID-19 outbreaks the NFL has returned for a full season and fans are anxious to watch and cheer on their favorite teams and the players in their fantasy leagues. How people will be tuning in to watch this season, however, is what makes this year's football season the most interesting for marketers.

NFL games including Thursday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football are part of the prime-time television schedule, meaning that they’re broadcast across the United States by one major national network each. During the 2019/2020 season, Sunday Night Football was the most viewed segment in the United States, garnering an average audience of about 20 million.

However, these games are also broadcast through several smart-TV apps, mobile apps, and online streaming platforms. Earlier this year, the NFL inked a 10-year deal with Amazon, adding Amazon Prime Video as an exclusive partner for Thursday Night Football. Starting in 2023, Amazon will pay the NFL $1 billion dollars per year, emphasizing the push to CTV for major sports and big players in streaming. As we head into this new chapter for professional sports, it’s more complicated than ever to ensure advertisers are properly targeting and reaching their audience. Consumers are increasingly relying on a variety of viewing platforms, both digital and through traditional television. Instead of looking at this as a daunting challenge, it’s time to consider cross-device use as an opportunity to reach a diverse, engaged audience across platforms and, after reaching the audiences, establish strong relationships with them. 

So how do marketers ensure they are capturing brand engagements and correctly attributing marketing strategies to purchases and conversions between different platforms? How can marketers take advantage of Addressable TV and multi-device use?

Understanding the Core Tenets of Household-Level Marketing

It’s no secret that viewing, marketing and data collection have undergone significant changes over the past several years. These near-constant changes—prompted by rapid evolution in data, technology, and machine-learning—make it difficult for advertisers and analytics teams to keep up, but they’ve also opened the door to a new world of possibilities.

The more consumers have come to rely on streaming across Addressable TV devices, the clearer it’s become that marketers need to change their strategies to stay current with their target audiences and how they consume media. Football season provides a perfect chance to reach audiences en masse, as viewership skyrockets in a discrete window of time.

Ad-tech is now the centerpiece to defining the value of identity at the individual level, but because so many devices are shared among multiple users on a household level, how can marketers pinpoint which users to target, and when?

Audience Segmentation

During football season, more people will be using their Connected TV devices than ever. With several games happening on the same day and time, football season is a time when individuals and households alike have more devices —an average of 13 or more connected devices shared by household members. 

Traditionally, marketing strategies have focused on reaching single users, but with a variety of consumers all using the same device to watch the games, marketers need to work with precision to make sure they're identifying and segmenting each individual for both current and future re-targeting. 

Identity resolution is the key to unlocking these opportunities, teasing out individual users across shared devices in a single household. First, advertisers can determine which individuals in each home would be likely to engage with their brand after viewing a commercial during, before and after the games. Identity resolution solutions help advertisers pinpoint how to qualify users at a household level, then narrow in on individuals. 

Targeting

Identity resolution gives advertisers the tools they need to carry out retargeting, frequency capping and sequential messaging on an individual level, even across shared devices. By starting with shared exposures at the larger household level, marketers can then compare the habits of unique users within that household. 

Perhaps one person in the household converts more often than the rest—if so, then they’re a perfect candidate for advertisers to focus their retargeting strategies on, catering to that individual instead of the household at large.

Measurement

Measurement and attribution are crucial to evolving an advertising strategy to become more focused and effective. The ability to connect a household level engagement to an individual's path to purchase is paramount to understanding how, where, and when to spend marketing dollars on platforms like CTV. Without holistic measurement, there’s no way to fully gauge the efficacy of a campaign or build upon its success.

Identity resolution can help markets analyze which message during the season was more effective than another, not just at a household level, but on an individual level, too. It’s vital to be able to identify and measure when an ad works and leads to conversion—once measured, strategies can be shifted, improved, or retargeted to continue reaching users most likely to visit a company website after viewing a commercial.

Breaking Down Retargeting

Identity resolution can improve retargeting strategies for all advertisers, many of whom are preparing for the football season as their time to succeed leading up to the Super Bowl. By leveraging identity resolution, marketers can target and retarget Connected TV devices with contextually related advertisements. 

In this case, marketers can create and place ads that refer to football season and fall, creating aspirational and inspirational campaigns that tap into the moments and emotions surrounding the games as the season progresses to the playoffs and eventually, the Super Bowl. From there, they can use identity resolution to retarget individuals quickly and effectively with lower funnel messaging. Identity resolution allows marketers the ability to create more effective omni-channel media strategies, giving more opportunities to retarget users and bring them through the entire journey to making a purchase. 

Cross-Device Frequency Capping

Identifying, targeting, retargeting, and measuring are just the start of carrying out a successful and well-rounded marketing campaign. It’s not enough to create the right ads—it’s vital to then break this down further, incorporating the right amount of messaging to the same individual or household on the right devices. 

Marketers need to ask how they’re re-messaging and retargeting users across devices, from TV to mobile, and how often. Cross-device identity resolution makes this possible by gathering insight on real-time engagement and conversion insights, helping marketers develop a plan to not just target users, but also to prevent over-saturation through frequency capping and suppression.

Having an identity strategy in place for measurement can also inform future frequency capping strategies. For example, if you know that certain individuals are more likely to convert on a mobile device in a certain channel, you can increase messaging there, while decreasing it on less valuable devices or channels. Just another way that identity can support strategic digital media from start to finish, and back again. 

Football season is a rare chance for advertisers to reach audiences all at once as they spend more time than usual watching live television across any number of devices. Marketers should take the time to review how they’re making the most of this moment, to find new engagement with viewers and to execute cross-device strategies to make the most of Addressable TV, from the household to the individual.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Tapad. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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