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Get Ready - Advertisers Want Sophisticated TV Targeting for Omnichannel Media Buying

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As the capability for consumer targeting on digital becomes ever more sophisticated, the scope of addressable audience segments on TV looks increasingly anemic. In fairness to the TV industry, there are considerable technical, operational, and commercial challenges to overcome in order to transition from broadcast targeting to buying specific audiences.

Today’s digital TV operators have the opportunity to collect return path data has transformed the ability of TV operators to understand their viewer behavior like never before. This is the foundation for the development of hyper-targeting advertising. It enables operators to offer a very wide set of attributes that advertisers can use for targeting, expanding the options from two dozen broad demographic categories to literally hundreds of affinity groups.

That may sound great until you think about how you operationalize it in a TV trading ecosystem that has run on a much simpler, reach-driven commercial and operational basis. I remember the reaction from the media agencies when we launched AdSmart at Sky. There was an initial “wow, that’s awesome” moment from those present, followed about three seconds later with a look of mild shock as the transformational implications sunk in.

The good news is that the breadth of TV behavioral targeting can be introduced at whatever speed suits the local market or operational constraints of the TV operator. For example, the ThinkAdvertising solution produces a hierarchy, which means affinity attributes can be rolled up into fewer – but still powerful – targeting variables, such as Automotive, Technology, Sports, Finance, Travel, etc. to enable a simpler offering to start with. As operational maturity and confidence increases, these groups can be expanded in levels to offer ever more specific target audiences, e.g., Sports to Type of Sport to Club and even, Player.

Advantage of omnichannel campaigns

Now let’s think of the implications on advertising campaigns across different mediums.

Aside from accurate measurement of advertising effectiveness, one of the biggest aspirations for advertisers – and their agencies - is to be able to design and deploy advertising campaigns to the same audience, regardless of media channel.

Naturally, advertisers want to buy audiences efficiently. Currently, it is very difficult for an advertiser to plan and evaluate reach and frequency for any specified audience across a whole campaign that might, for example, involve TV, online, print, and outdoor. Given the huge spend on TV and digital, it is especially frustrating that these two environments are not better integrated to facilitate advertising to people, not devices.

The subject is, of course, one that is attracting a lot of attention from media owners and adtech vendors. Multi-publisher initiatives, such as OpenAP, are to be applauded and help lay a better foundation for de-duplication and simplified media buying.

However, while this greatly improves consumer identification, the question of consistent audience definitions across both digital and TV remains unanswered. One of the major advances of digital advertising has been the ability to bid and buy for audiences defined by their behavioral affinities, rather than just by demographics or geography.

Historically, data vendors, data management platforms, and analytics providers have used custom taxonomies to describe and segment their audiences, with little or no standardization across vendors. This results in sometimes drastically different descriptions even for similar data.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has attempted to fix this for internet advertising with the introduction of a common nomenclature for audience segment names to improve comparability of data across different providers. To facilitate omnichannel advertising, both the breadth and standardization of these audiences needs to be available on TV.

As I’ve discussed in an earlier article, behavioral-based affinities can now be created from first-party viewing data, which enable a far greater scale of targeted audience segments that can be used in addressable TV. It is important, though, that these audience definitions are aligned with those used in digital in order that omnichannel campaigns can truly work. These are important factors for TV operators to keep top of mind when building their addressable advertising offering.

When considering the shift into TV behavioral targeting, the most important thing to bear in mind is that the future waits for no one. That journey of a thousand miles may start with a simple step, but that step needs to be taken. The days of TV advertising attracting substantial advertising dollars by only offering broad demographic targeting are fast ending. The implementation of sophisticated TV targeting capability is something that can – and should - be done now and the release of scope and scale of targeting can be easily controlled to suit the operational readiness of the TV operator and the appetites of advertisers.

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

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