Standardization is Coming to Addressable TV; In the Meantime, Partnerships Are Key
The TV programming and advertising landscape has never been more dynamic than it is today. Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to what they watch, not to mention when and how they watch it. Consequently, advertisers have more opportunities and decisions to make than ever when looking to connect with these viewers in a meaningful way.
In the context of this fragmentation, people tend to focus on the competitive implications for our industry. But from my vantage point, I continue to be astounded by the progress that's being made within the TV landscape based not on competition, but rather on cooperation. For advertisers, understanding the nature of this cooperation and using it as a lens through which to assess partners can prove valuable in unlocking and enhancing opportunities.
Unlocking Opportunity Through Collaboration
As a part of the Nextv Ad USA event, I recently had the pleasure of sitting on an enlightening panel focused on multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and the current state of advanced addressable advertising. Each panelist—whether representing an MVPD or the technology solutions being used to build the distribution landscape of the future—brought a wholly unique perspective to the table, but we all agreed on this: There's never been more complexity to navigate within the addressable TV landscape than there is today.
Fortunately, we also agreed on another point: There's also never been more collaboration happening in the space—all with the intent of moving the industry forward and unlocking new opportunities for advertisers. Countless players within the ecosystem are working toward the same goal: enabling seamless addressable, cross-screen buys across linear and streaming inventory, at both local and national levels. On the backend, this is anything but simple—but the right partnerships make all the difference.
When it comes to connecting the many dots required for an addressable TV campaign, particularly when it comes to reaching growing streaming audiences, all the work happening on the backend is done with the intent of making things feel seamless to advertisers. However, this appearance of simplicity shouldn't come at the expense of giving advertisers insights into how their campaigns are being executed and attributed.
Enhancing Opportunities Through Education
These days, there's a significant disparity among advertisers when it comes to understanding how addressable TV campaigns work and how they tie into the bigger media equation. The disparity is usually based on experience, particularly at the agency level: Advertisers have either run the addressable TV gauntlet, or they haven't. They've either found partners to help them access growing streaming audiences, or they haven't. Those who have been through the process—and who dug into the campaign at a granular level—tend to have a lot of insights into the addressable opportunity and how to get the most out of their efforts.
As an advertiser, no one should expect you to know exactly how the addressable TV sausage is made. However, you should look for partners who are willing and eager to educate you on the way in which dots are being connected to enable the linear and streaming targeting, scale and attribution that your campaign requires. By understanding the partnerships that enable your results, you gain valuable perspective into what's possible in the realm of addressable TV, and those insights will help to build more nuanced and creative campaigns going forward.
Anyone who tells you that addressable TV is easy today isn't telling the whole story. Those who are in the trenches of the converged TV landscape—the ones connecting the dots between streaming and linear—will tell you that addressable TV campaigns are a lot of work, but that the effort is well worth the payoff.
In time, we're going to see standardization come to the addressable TV space, just as it has to the many digital advertising opportunities that came before it. Connecting the dots across screens, regions and inventory types will become easier, as companies continue to partner smartly for enhanced efficiencies and outcomes.
For advertisers, now is the time to be asking a lot of questions and seeking out the partners who will eagerly answer them. Together, we'll move the industry forward—one campaign at a time.
Whether it's Free-Ad Supported TV (FAST) or ATSC 3.0, ad tech and software companies are continuing to build out the technical infrastructure required to keep the transformations in the ad-buying market moving forward so advertisers can easily reach consumers no matter how or where they're viewing content.
At the end of the day, the goal in having publishers extend their content offerings to the CTV medium is to prime themselves for the future—to continue to grow their audience and diversify their content in a way that will have impact, and resonate. The time to take the leap is now.
CTV is shaping TV's transformation and putting pressure on the need for measurement innovation in the age of converged TV. Measurement innovation must sit at the center of this transformation, and take on the role of redefining how we evaluate TV altogether, from the common metrics used across both linear and streaming, to how we create a more interoperable ecosystem that delivers value to us all, from viewers to advertisers and publishers.
While business and technical challenges have blocked linear take-off, innovation has now removed the roadblocks. This is the perfect time for ad sales, ad operations, and engineers to deploy the right technologies to enable this revenue game-changer.
Streaming Media's Tim Siglin and Harmonic's Rob Gambino discuss findings from a recent streaming industry survey on the timeline for new and expanded investments in addressable advertising and why it hasn't taken the industry by storm in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2021.